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As Tohu Harris prepares to chalk up his 200th NRL appearance on Saturday night against the Cowboys, former Warriors captains have lauded his selfless approach to leadership and overwhelming class as a player. 

After being saddled with captaincy responsibility at the end of 2021, following Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's departure from the club, the 31-year-old was tasked with leading the Warriors through the most difficult season in their history last year, which culminated in a 15th-placed finish and an eventual roster overhaul. 

Former skipper Monty Betham, who captained the Warriors in 40 games through the 2000s, said what was required of Harris through 2022 means he is in some ways incomparable as a club captain. 

"No captain would know, because they've never experienced what Tohu and the team had to there," Betham said. 

"I wasn't there, but he would have been wonderful, because that's just his nature and the way he talks when he is around his boys."

Having captained the club through the first part of their pandemic era, Tuivasa-Sheck is well placed to understand what Harris had to juggle within the group and said his former club and Test teammate was a natural fit for the role. 

He’s a natural leader and someone the boys follow into battle. He doesn’t ask anything of his men that he’s not willing to do himself – the sure sign of a true leader.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

"Tohu was a teammate you could always rely on. 

"He was the first guy dragging himself off the floor to make another tackle, and he would often drag a few with him."

Club favourite Kevin Campion, who alongside Stacey Jones led the Warriors to their first ever finals appearance in 2001, likened Harris' leadership style to that of Broncos and Maroons great Allan Langer. 

"Tohu's greatest quality is he leads by example," Campion says. 

"He doesn't say too much, a very quiet character.

"Everyone knows 'Alfie' as a joker, but he was a great leader who led by example on the field. When he did say something you listened."

Since joining the Warriors in 2018 – and even well before that during a successful five seasons with the Storm – Harris has been the epitome of consistency, and in 96 games since the start of 2017 has made more than one error in a match just four times.

Had his recovery from a ruptured ACL suffered in 2021 not kept him out of the first nine rounds of last season, it's likely he would been the favourite to win the Warriors' Player of the Year gong for the third season in a row, after averaging 69 minutes per game and playing a key role on both sides of the ball. 

Tough Tohu's terrific captain's knock

In two games so far this year the 31-year-old has played every minute and collected seven Dally M points to sit second on the leader board.

Betham said that ability on the field contributes to Harris being the leader he is. 

"An important thing about being captain is making sure nobody can question what you put out on the training paddock and in games, because if you often don't play well then what you say doesn't have the same impact," Betham said.

Cowboys v Warriors: Round 3

"With Tohu, nobody questions him, because he is such a proven performer on and off the field, so you believe him and trust him 100 percent.

"He's a little bit like [Panthers captain] Isaah Yeo in terms of how important he is for the team. He's not just a complete workhorse, but has some deft touches and can be a point of difference, and he's usually doing that under extreme fatigue as well."

Upon reappointing Harris as captain at the start of this year, new Warriors coach Andrew Webster admitted there were parts of the role his leader didn't enjoy, but that he was the obvious choice.

Captain Tohu scores the first try back at Mt Smart Stadium

Foundation club skipper Dean Bell said he believes Harris has ventured out of his comfort zone continuously for the greater good of the group. 

"I don't think it [captaincy] is initially something he felt comfortable with, and maybe in some ways still doesn't even today," Bell said. 

"But with his experience he knew he needed to step up and embrace that.

"It would be wrong for the Warriors to have anyone else leading them."

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