'Such a shame': Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's Covid bombshell rocks NRL

·5-min read
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is seen here during an NRL game for the Warriors.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has made the 'tough' call to leave his Warriors teammates and return home to New Zealand. Pic: Getty

Rugby league fans have reacted with shock and disappointment after news on Monday that Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had played his last game in the NRL.

A former NRL premiership and Dally M Medal winner, Tuivasa-Sheck's NRL career is seemingly over after he decided to return home to New Zealand and end his Warriors season early.

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Already bound for rugby union next year, the 28-year-old has made the call to rush back home on Thursday before the trans-Tasman bubble is closed for at least eight weeks.

One of the game's most electrifying fullbacks, Tuivasa-Sheck won a premiership with the Sydney Roosters in 2013 and scored 58 tries in 195 NRL games.

But, unless he makes a comeback down the track, his decision means the 2018 Dally M Medal winner's NRL career was ended with a concussion against Penrith in round 18, ruling him out of last Saturday's loss to South Sydney.

Tuivasa-Sheck had initially planned on playing out the season, but has now been granted a release to avoid quarantine and prevent a hold up to his switch to rugby union.

The shock move left league fans stunned on Monday, with many paying tribute to the champion player on social media.

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"It was a real tough decision to leave this group and this club," Tuivasa-Sheck said about his call to return home to New Zealand.

"I was trying to get my family back over to Australia for the next eight weeks, but then I wasn't sure when we would be able to return home.

"It's all emotions at the moment.

"It was tough telling the boys and trying to hold back tears."

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Tuivasa-Sheck's plight sums up that of the Warriors, who had hoped to return to Auckland next month for a home game before Australia's latest coronavirus outbreak.

Players and staff have not been home since a two-month stint between last October and January, when the Warriors conducted a pre-season with Australia and New Zealand-based groups.

A premiership winner with the Roosters in 2013, Tuivasa-Sheck scored 58 tries in 195 NRL games.

"He has led us through the toughest times in the club's history and this is the one way we can repay him," Warriors CEO Cameron George.

"There are no problems between us and Roger.

"And it's about us finding any solution in this really challenging time."

Seen here, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in action for the Warriors in the NRL.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has almost certainly playis his last game in the NRL before making a switch to rugby. Pic: Getty

The suspension of the travel bubble also raises questions over how the Warriors will return home at the end of the NRL campaign.

Tuivasa-Sheck's exit represents another blow to the club after six straight losses, meaning their season will almost certainly end within the next eight weeks.

The Warriors now intend on staying in Australia beyond the end of the season as they await a spot in the queue to return home.

But if the break in the bubble is extended beyond eight weeks, George said they could be forced to wait until December before leaving Australia.

"We'll start to explore (how to get back), but we're respectful that we are no more important than anyone else striving to get back to New Zealand as well," George said.

"We don't expect special treatment.

"But if there is a way we can get the group in considering the larger scale of our group we will work with the government and Sport New Zealand."

with AAP

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