At some stage during Saturday’s top-of-the-table showdown with Brisbane, star Sydney Roosters fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will become the greatest metre-eater in NRL history.
In his maiden year at fullback, Tuivasa-Sheck has run for an incredible 4449m in 21 games at an average of just under 212m a game.
The Kiwi international’s seamless transition from wing to the Roosters’ No.1 jersey was facilitated by the mentoring of the man he succeeded in the custodian role at Bondi: Tricolours legend Anthony Minichiello.
And it will be Minichiello’s 2004 record of 4590m that Tuivasa-Sheck eclipses when he carries the Steeden for his 142nd metre against the Broncos at Allianz Stadium in round 24.
Minichiello said he never doubted his 2013 premiership-winning teammate Tuivasa-Sheck would be a success in the toughest position in rugby league.
“He was always going to be a revelation there because he has got the mental application to achieve greatness,” Minichiello told AAP.
“You could see in the kid when he first came to the club that he was just so willing to learn and he has such a great work ethic. He has been outstanding for us all year.
“You have to be so fit to do what he does: 20-odd hit-ups a game, averaging over 200m a game, to ball play and then to get on the kick-chase for some of those last tackle plays as well, he has definitely been one of the Roosters best this season for sure.
“Some people just have that drive, that heartbeat to be the absolute best and Roger certainly has that.”
Tuivasa-Sheck will break Minichiello’s record in three games less than the 25 games the former NSW and Kangaroos representative played in 2004.
The 22-year-old known as RTS is also in line to be the first player to run for over 5000m in a single season, since such records have been kept since 1999*.
Roosters teammate Michael Jennings said it was Tuivasa-Sheck’s work on the training paddock that sets him apart.
“He is just a freak, but it is his work ethic that has allowed him to realise his potential,” Jennings said.
“His work ethic is even greater than his ability, he deserves everything that comes his way.”
* Statistics courtesy of Fox Sports Stats