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Former dual-code international Timana Tahu knows all about transitioning back to the NRL after a stint in rugby union and expects Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's return to be a success, albeit with some major challenges attached. 

After heading back to the NRL following a two-year spell in rugby union back in 2010, Tahu picked up right where he left off and was selected for New South Wales after just nine games back with the Eels.

While he believes Tuivasa-Sheck’s professionalism will mean the change of codes presents few problems for him, Tahu says juggling a positional switch from fullback to the centres in 2024 will be a far more difficult prospect. 

“The centre position is really hard defensively now and attack on the edges is pretty big these days, with a lot of tries scored in the corners,” Tahu told

"You only have to look at the data when it comes to wingers scoring tries; last season it was enormous and so many finished on over 20 tries.

"That tells you there are a lot of tries scored on the edges, so the defensive decisions centres have to make are really hard.

Rugby league centres are isolated a lot, especially on shift plays, and at the moment their job, because a lot of teams run plays on them, it's difficult to make split decision there.

Timana Tahu

“If you haven’t played there before then it can be a challenge and that will be something Andrew Webster will be drilling into him, making sure that defensively he is making the right decisions.

“It will take him a few games to warm into it and teams will probably target that edge as well.

Remembering Roger: The best of RTS

“Depending on how he goes in the Pre-Season Challenge, if he makes a few misreads teams will start looking at that and they’ll know he’s coming back from rugby union and that he is a fullback or winger usually.”

Across 195 NRL appearances and 20 Tests for New Zealand Tuivasa-Sheck has never started a game at centre, but is almost certain to line up there for the Warriors with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad the locked-in No.1 after a strong 2023 campaign at the back. 

Despite his time away from the game and the fact that he will turn 31 in the middle of next season, Tahu sees no reason why RTS won’t be able to rediscover the type of form that saw claim a spate of positional awards at both club and international level in the past.   

“I feel like he is going to come back a better player and, for me, the Warriors have made a really good decision in bringing Roger back to rugby league,” Tahu said.

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“I see [the move to centre] as what Roger needs coming back in. Coming back from rugby, you don’t want to be cruising, he will want a challenge and this is really good for him actually.

“He will invite those challenges and see that as a goal, for him to prove people wrong, which I feel like he will be able to do.

“I think he can thrive and be one of the best centres in the game. The attacking side won’t be a problem. His fitness levels when it comes to attack, he’s going to kill it."

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