Warriors' captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is in doubt for the round-one clash against Newcastle, which would be a significant blow for the NRL club.

The 26-year-old limped out of the trial with the Tigers last Sunday with an ankle complaint, and had scans on Monday.

He hasn't taken any part in training so far this week, and at this stage it's unknown whether he will be able to run freely next week.

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Tuivasa-Sheck is the ultimate professional – and will be given every opportunity to prove his fitness – but the Herald understands he is unlikely to take the field against the Knights next Saturday.

He is the most important player at the club, by a country mile, and no risks will be taken, even if it means a delayed start to his campaign in 2020.

If Tuivasa-Sheck doesn't start, it will be a strange sight for Warriors fans. He hasn't missed a season opener in the last four years, and since returning from his ACL injury (suffered in April 2016) he has only been absent for four Warriors' games across three campaigns.

He was ruled out the clash with the Bulldogs in Dunedin in round three of the 2017 season, with Tui Lolohea deputising at fullback and Ryan Hoffman leading the team.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck hasn't missed a season-opener in four years of service with the Warriors. Photo / Photosport
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck hasn't missed a season-opener in four years of service with the Warriors. Photo / Photosport

He missed the wins over Parramatta (Sydney) and Manly (Christchurch) in 2018, with Peta Hiku wearing the No 1 jersey and Blake Green named as skipper on the field.

And last year he suited up for 23 of 24 matches, only unavailable for the trip to Melbourne, where a team of Warriors greenhorns were minutes away from a shock upset of the Storm, before losing 13-12.

Hiku is a capable replacement. Although most of his NRL career has been in the centres or on the wing, he has played 17 games at the back, as well as a handful of tests for the Kiwis, including the famous two-game sweep of the Kangaroos in 2014.

Tuivasa-Sheck is at the apex of several injury worries for Warriors coach Stephen Kearney.


Prop Agnatius Paasi (ankle) and back rower Josh Curran (knee) also have some doubts around them, with Paasi's potential absence the biggest concern, given the loss of fellow prop Bunty Afoa to a season-ending knee injury last month.

The Warriors lack depth among the middle forwards, and the 28-year-old Paasi is a key plank of their strategy this year.

Kodi Nikorima is also under an injury cloud – he missed Tuesday's training after an ankle sprain suffered against the Tigers, the same injury that he struggled with towards the end of last season, though the outlook for the 25-year-old Kiwi international is more positive.

At the time of writing, the Warriors have approximately one third of their 30-man NRL squad on the injury list, with other experienced players like Gerard Beale (knee) and Jazz Tevaga (ankle) not expected to be back in contention to take the field until early April.

In terms of casualties, it's the worst situation to start the season in recent memory, though it is of some consolation that the majority are not long-term injuries.