In just his fifth outing as a Vodafone Warrior, fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck comes face-to-face with his old Sydney Roosters club for the first time on Sunday.
Lining up against him will be plenty of familiar former team-mates – the likes of Daniel Tupou, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Sam Moa, Jake Friend and Aidan Guerra – but the surroundings will be comparatively unfamiliar.
Due to Allianz Stadium being double-booked, the Roosters have been forced to switch the match to the Central Coast Stadium in Gosford (2.00pm kick-off local time; 4.00pm NZT). It’s a venue Tuivasa-Sheck has played at once before when he was in the Roosters side which beat Gold Coast 20-10 there in 2013.
Whatever the venue this weekend, the occasion is highly significant for Tuivasa-Sheck, who signed with the Vodafone Warriors after 84 appearances for the Roosters from 2012-2015; there’s always special interest when players first encounter their former clubs.
He arrived at Mount Smart Stadium after an astonishing 2015 campaign when he was named the Dally M fullback of the year as well as being chosen at fullback in the Golden Boot team of the year.
In 27 appearances for the Roosters the now 22-year-old Tuivasa-Sheck made more than 6500 metres – the first player to top the 6000-metre barrier – averaging a scarcely believable 217 metres a game.
His 2016 performances have been in a similar vein. In his first four appearances for the Vodafone Warriors he has had consecutive match hauls of 200 metres from 14 runs against Wests Tigers, 205 from 25 against Brisbane, 247 from 25 against Melbourne and 203 from 21 against Newcastle. That’s a total of 855 metres, averaging out at 214 metres and 21 runs a game.