An emotional Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has promised his Sydney Roosters teammates he’ll give his all this year and not be distracted by his pending move to the Warriors.
After weeks of speculation, the fullback on Wednesday announced he had signed a three-year deal with the Auckland-based NRL club from next season.
“It was a bit shocking; I was trying to hold back tears,” close mate Daniel Tupou told AAP.
“We were both emotional. It was pretty tough news for me. We’re practically like brothers, like family.
“But it’s part of the game. At the end of the day, it’s what he’s got to do for his family.
“Good on him, and hopefully all goes well this year so we can send him off on a high note.”
Tupou, although two years older, said he looked up to Tuivasa-Sheck and labelled him an inspiration.
Both were handed their NRL debuts by the Roosters before going on to earn representative honours.
Fan favourite Michael Jennings said the Kiwi international stressed to the team he was fully committed to the club for this entire season.
“He came in and wanted to let us know he’s going to give everything he can throughout the whole year and that’s the main focus, really,” Jennings said.
“The Warriors is next year, and all he can really focus now on is our game this Friday (against Brisbane).
“He was emotional, because he basically just told us that he learnt everything at the Roosters and from all his mates and all of us. It’s sad that he had to leave.
“But he’s pretty upbeat that everyone respected his decision and wanted to just move on and just really focus on this year.”
Jennings said, much like himself, Tuivasa-Sheck “came from nothing” and wanted to do what was best for his family.
“I guess that’s what it came down to; the money’s not there to keep a quality player like that.
“There’s a lot of quality players around. Eventually, someone has to go.”
Tupou said he wasn’t sure who might replace the six-foot star, but ruled himself out of a shift of position.
“We’ve still got some young players coming up, they’ll develop more and more and hopefully take on Roger’s role,” he said.
“I’d probably struggle (if I replaced him at No.1), so I’ll just stick to the wing.”