Adjustments continue on a daily basis as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck takes baby steps towards his preseason debut for the Blues next week.
The former Warriors captain fronted media for the first time as a Blues recruit on Thursday and the prevailing sentiment was his realism as he prepares to begin his cross-code transition.
Despite, in his previous life, being consistently ranked one of the best players in the NRL, Tuivasa-Sheck is well aware his move to union has forced him to start again; to earn the jersey and respect of his teammates.
Not until he takes the field at second five-eighth for the Blues against the Hurricanes, in their first preseason hit out next Saturday, will he start to feel like a rugby player.
"I keep telling myself it's not until I lace up and run out it's going to feel official," Tuivasa-Sheck said. "I feel like just a rookie and I'm learning with everyone around me."
Tuivasa-Sheck has been dealt a difficult hand in attempting to make an immediate impact this year. In a perfect world he would have a full NPC season with Auckland under his belt but in times of Covid shutdowns, he instead approaches his maiden Super Rugby campaign having not played since the Warriors' loss to the Panthers on July 18.
"It would have been a dream to get a few games. Credit to the Warriors for allowing me to come back home. I was hoping to play a few games and be ready for Super preseason. That didn't happen but you have to keep moving along.
"It's been tough because this is what I love to do and there haven't been any games. On the upside I've been having a lot of time with my family, my two kids, so that's been a positive and I get more time to learn from the players here."
While union and league share similarities so, too, do they resemble distant relatives. Everything from the catch pass to positional play; the breakdown, height into contact require significant shifts. Tuivasa-Sheck is doing his utmost to fast-track his development but he knows only in match time will he gain a true sense of where he must improve.
In that sense alone the 28-year-old needed a major mental shift. From the peak of his powers and role as a senior leader in league to reasoning he will need time to grasp union's complexities, particularly around the breakdown, Tuivasa-Sheck's initial expectations contrast the hype surrounding his imminent debut.
"That's the challenge I have with myself. I'm lucky to have some good people around me. Of course I'd love to come in and start ticking the boxes right from the start but I've got to understand it's been a while since I've played rugby and there's a lot of challenges. I've got to be happy with the process and continue to build as we go.
"There's a lot of good stuff I can do at training but when it comes to games it's a whole new page."
Diving straight into the midfield adds another layer of complexity. Tuivasa-Sheck is accustomed to roaming the backfield in league – yet has been earmarked for second-five where time and space are precious commodities, defence is a consuming element and direct communication a must.
He freely admits his time in union at Otahuhu College feels like a lifetime ago.
"It's totally different coming into this level. Playing at school it's hard to bring back those skills. The other tough part is trying to break my league habits in this environment.
"The biggest difference and that's still a bit discombobulating are the changing pictures. That was one thing we didn't have in high school. If someone was standing in front of you, you'd attack that guy. Now when you look down and back up it's a whole new picture.
"As a midfielder I'm trying to add a bit more weight and maybe move to 98-99kg where all I do in league is cover kms and play around 94-95kg.
"It's a tough gig to come in and understand my role. One week I feel OK, I'm starting to get it, then the next I'm out of position.
"Once I got told I would be playing midfield I reached out to Tana [Umaga] and tried to pick his brains. I don't think there's anyone better there, especially defensively having someone like that to always ask questions."
Blues coach Leon MacDonald speaks glowingly of Tuivasa-Sheck's professionalism – giving one example of him arriving to a meeting with clips ready to show the coach – but both parties are impatient to ditch training wheels.
"You need to get out there and have a game and go live. That's when you really know what you need to work on. That's the exciting opportunity that's coming up in the next week or so for Roger," MacDonald said. "There's only so many times you can run around against your mates. He's built some good relationships and combinations. He understands his role really well and loves the physicality of the midfield.
"There's no big red flags around his game. The contact area – your body height has to be lower in union and the entry to the breakdown but they're things he's working at every day. He's got to the point where he's no different to any of our other players who get it wrong from time to time."
After scaling the greatest heights in league Tuivasa-Sheck could be forgiven for projecting ahead to aspirations of cracking the All Blacks. For now, though, his feet remain firmly on the ground. At this point he simply wants to get underway, and not look out of place.
"I just want to be in the right position at the right time so I can add value to the players around me and not be a barrier."