New Warriors signing Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck is far from the average footballer.

The 21-year-old former Sydney Roosters Under 20s star admits he once preferred spending time with his mum while his older brother was outside honing the skills that would one day make him an NRL premiership winner.

While Roger – Warriors captain and Kiwis test fullback - was perfecting his sidestep off each foot and dreaming of playing for his country, Johnny was practicing dance and stage routines for school productions.

"Roger's always been the footy player in the family," explained Johnny.


"He was always going to dad's games and would always want to practice his footwork and working on his fitness, while I was in the kitchen with mum and taking up dance and drama at school.

"I was a late bloomer. I started at Under 14s, whereas if he could have, he would have started playing when he was two.

"We've always been doing our own thing but footy has brought us together as well."

The younger Tuivasa-Sheck has joined the Warriors on a second-tier one-year deal that will see him begin next season playing in the Intrust Super Premiership.

A first-grade call-up is not out of the question for the versatile outside back but the club would need to apply to the NRL and have his contract status reviewed.

He's already hit the ground running in his other job however - within the Warriors fan engagement department.

The off-field role allows him to utilise his off-beat sense of humour and improve his acting and film editing skills that he first developed in his own social media videos which have earned him a legion of followers.

"The Warriors definitely helped me out by acknowledging both career paths that I want to choose," he said.

"Footy is still number one but you hear all the greats say 'make sure you have plan B' so I've been working really hard on that.


"They're not saying 'you're just going to be a media guy' - they recognise I still love footy and still want to play and said 'if you prove yourself to Mooks (coach Stephen Kearney) you might be able to get that position but you've got to work for it like everyone else'.

"I'm excited about next year and we'll see what happens."

It's not the first time he's worked behind the scenes in football - while coming through the ranks at the Roosters he completed a graphic design course before doing an unpaid internship with the club's marketing department.

That led to him accepting a fulltime job with the New South Wales Rugby League which he juggled throughout his final year in the Under 20s – a season that finished with him scoring the match-winning try in the 2016 NYC grand final win over Penrith.

He wasn't always so outgoing off the field and admits he once struggled to hold a decent conversation before the Roosters helped to improve his media skills and broaden his career prospects.

"The Roosters media department told me the best way to learn is just to get in front of a camera and practice and that's how I got started," he said.

"I stole my sister's camera and started talking in front of it and fell in love with the process of making films.

"Once I got over myself and what everyone thought of me it was sweet."

After five years of living in Sydney, Johnny made up his mind to return to Auckland when he realised he was a stranger to some of his extended family.

That's all changed now that he is back sharing a house with his older brother.

"A real turning point for me was coming over to play the Warriors last year and some of my little cousins didn't even know who I was or know my name.

"That hit home pretty hard. I've been away from home a bit too long.

"I've still got Roger there barking at me but it's all good having his guidance."