The same streets Jazz Tevaga walked in his youth were broadcast to the world on Friday. It's something the Warriors utility won't soon forget.
As he worked toward his side's opening round NRL clash against the Bulldogs, 49 people were murdered in mosques in his home town of Christchurch. While the news rocked the country and the world, for the 23-year-old Tevaga the horror that was unfolding hit close to home.
"I was pretty emotional hearing the news yesterday," Tevaga said. "I've got a lot of family down there, so my heart was very heavy yesterday; and today waking up to the news. I just really didn't want to believe that something like that could happen in New Zealand."
Upon hearing the news, Tevaga jumped straight on to the phone to check on his family. They were alright, but were apart as his nieces and nephews were unable to leave their schools due to the lockdown. It led to a somber evening for Tevaga and his teammates the night before their first match of the season. Coming together around dinner time, winger David Fusitu'a led the squad in a prayer to acknowledge the moment.
The uncomfortable feeling followed the team into game day, and with the news of the Highlanders' Super Rugby match against the Crusaders in Dunedin being called off, Tevaga wondered if their match at Mt Smart Stadium would follow suit.
Instead, the Warriors gave away free tickets to the match, held a moment of silence to honour the victims of the massacre, and put on a clinical display of rugby league to thrash the Bulldogs 40-6.
The Warriors were a dominant force from the first whistle to the last. Their forward pack out muscled that of the Bulldogs, while the back line made the most of their opportunities into striking distance of the try line. Tevaga himself had an impressive performance, leading the side's tackle count with 41.
"We came together and we had a lot to play for," Tevaga said. "We just wanted to get the win and try to install some positivity back into New Zealand.
"We're all feeling heavy, so it's good to put some smiles on some faces."
It wasn't just the home side who wanted to give New Zealand something to take their minds off the murders. Bulldogs' Kiwi half Kieran Foran said the 24 hours leading into the match had been full on, with a number of Kiwi players in the Canterbury-Bankstown squad.
"It's had an effect on, I think, every person in the world," he said.