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Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad knows plenty of people want to see Roger Tuivasa-Sheck playing fullback for the Warriors, and if he wasn’t the person wearing the club’s No.1 jersey right now he’d probably be singing from the same song sheet. 

On the back of his stellar return from injury last week, ‘CNK’ said he’s aware of the growing calls for Tuivasa-Sheck to take his job and can understand why, but that hasn't impacted his own confidence one bit.

“I wouldn’t say it affected me. I was really excited to have Roger back, really excited to see him playing fullback again,” Nicoll-Klokstad said ahead of Saturday’s clash against the Sea Eagles in Auckland.

“It’s warranted, it’s warranted everyone wanting Roger to play fullback.

What he’s done in the game, what he’s done at our club – the first Dally M winner from our club – it’s only normal for that noise to happen.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

“I love having Roger back, he’s still my favourite player, I still look at him and I’m a bit in awe of what he’s done for the game and who he is as a player and a person.

“But I am really confident in my abilities and what I bring to this squad, the value I bring to this team.”

Much of that confidence comes down to the backing of his coach Andrew Webster, who from the moment Tuivasa-Sheck was signed on a three-year deal last year has been steadfast in his message that Nicoll-Klokstad is the first-choice fullback.

A certified mind blower

That included breaking the news of Tuivasa-Sheck’s signing to him over FaceTime so he could gauge his incumbent No.1’s reaction, a gesture Nicoll-Klokstad said meant a lot to him.

The return of the Kiwi Test fullback in Round 5 coincided with the Warriors producing their best attacking performance of the season in a 34-4 win over the Rabbitohs, with Nicoll-Klokstad laying on two try assists in addition to carrying the ball for 263 metres.

It marked the end of a frustrating period for the 28-year-old, in which he battled a number of setbacks linked to a pre-season hamstring injury. 

“It was an up and down recovery, sort of re-injuring things, and it was such a massive process and it got to a point where I was thinking 'am I even going to get back?" Nicoll-Klokstad said. 

“[I’d think] ‘am I getting old?’. I had all these sorts of weird thoughts coming in.

"I'm so happy to be back, so happy to have got a really good hit out with the boys and to be rubbing shoulders with them again."

Meanwhile Webster said he was relishing the prospect of benchmarking his side against an in-form Manly team this week. 

All Tries – Sea Eagles v Panthers

The Sea Eagles head into Round 6 sitting in the competition's top five for metres gained, line breaks and tries scored.

"It's awesome, isn't it? You beat Latrell [Mitchell] and Cody [Walker]... roll around the next week and you have got [Daly] Cherry-Evans and Turbo [Tom Trbojevic] and [Luke] Brooks," Webster said. 

"The Sea Eagles forwards are running the ball that hard... Luke Brooks looks unbelievably confident, and Turbo is a pretty good player, so you've got to be careful with him. 

"Teams know the Warriors are going to turn up each week, so therefore they are bringing their best and hardest games each week, which is giving us great practice."

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The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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