AAP Rugby

Warriors close down emotion: Tuivasa-Sheck

By AAP Newswire

Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck won't play the emotion card in the minutes leading up to the Warriors' NRL return against St George Illawarra.

Such sentiment, he says, is yesterday's news.

Six weeks in strict Auckland lockdown and four weeks of insular preparation in Australia will end for the competition nomads when they run onto Central Coast Stadium on Saturday.

Tuivasa-Sheck, one of the NRL's premier players, reckons the sacrifice of leaving families at home won't be mentioned in the dressing sheds.

It will be a more pragmatic message.

"We'll tap into all the hard work that we've put in so far. Emotions, we've all left that behind and we're here to do a job now," he said.

"I'm proud of how everyone's turned up, there hasn't been any complaining at all from the players and staff. They've done what they've needed to do to get this competition back on."

There's little room for either team to ease their way back into form.

After finishing 2019 in the bottom four, both clubs lodged 0-2 records before the COVID-19 shutdown in March.

Since then, the demands placed on the Warriors has earned them praise and empathy in Australia, along with a keen following in New Zealand.

A team often maligned by Kiwi sport fans because of their modest history of results, they can expect a substantial television audience back home.

Tuivasa-Sheck doesn't believe his players will feel pressured by their status as the nation's first sporting figures to return to action.

Dragons coach Paul McGregor didn't buy into the Warriors' stance, believing they'll find it hard to ignore sentimentality.

"We've spoken about it, you'll see a spike of emotion for sure," McGregor said.

"Everyone is sacrificing some way. The Warriors a bit more than others because they've moved away from home but once you cross the white stripe you expect to win and you're going out there to do that."

McGregor's team are sure to target a Warriors pack stripped of muscle in the middle by multiple injuries, forcing them to field the unlikely starting prop pairing of Lachlan Burr and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.

Tuivasa-Sheck was less concerned about the prospect of a forward arm wrestle after witnessing the Eels-Broncos clash on Thursday, the first game played under the six-again rule.

"There's more flow to the game, it's a lot quicker. You can see that the boys in the (spine), they were coming alive.

"It's suitable for the hookers and speed around the ruck so the more you stay disciplined and go through the middle of teams, the more rewarding it's going to be."