The Warriors’ season has plunged into crisis with superstar fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck ruled out for the rest of the 2016 NRL campaign a knee injury.
The Warriors announced on Monday the New Zealand Test No.1 had suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and faces reconstruction surgery next month that will keep him out for six months.
It confirmed their worst fears since glamour recruit Tuivasa-Sheck went down when the knee twisted in a tackle during Saturday’s night’s win over Canterbury in Wellington.
The 22-year-old arrived at the Auckland-based club amid high hopes he could boost the perennial underachievers after a record-breaking 2015 season with Sydney Roosters.
“Roger is absolutely shattered and so is everyone around the club,” said Warriors coach Andrew McFadden.
“We had huge expectations about what he would bring to us this season and he was so excited about the role he had to play.
“He had settled in well, developing his combinations and timing but now this.
“It’s the cruel side of football. We’ve certainly had more than our share of bad luck.”
Tuivasa-Scheck last year broke Roosters great Anthony Minichiello’s long-standing NRL all-time running metres record, averaging 215 metres per game.
While the Warriors have been patchy in opening the season with three wins and four losses, Tuivasa-Scheck boasted a strong workrate, running for a league-high average of 197 metres going into round seven and was just starting to find his feet at his new club.
McFadden will likely move rising star Tuimoala Lolohea to fullback as cover with Jeff Robson set to earn a recall in the halves.
Tuivasa-Sheck’s loss will also be felt by Stephen Kearney’s New Zealand team who take on Australia in a Test in Newcastle early next month.
Lolohea, Penrith’s Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Manly’s Peta Hiku shape as the contenders to wear the Kiwi No.l jumper.