Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is irreplaceable at the Warriors. The news that he's leaving the club to play rugby may have been officially confirmed last Saturday but, days later, I'm still not fully accepting.
I'm gutted for the Warriors, grumpy at their management, gloomy about the club's future, league has lost big time. In fact, for league fans, there is nothing positive about this story at all. It's great for Roger and brilliant for rugby but quite possibly the biggest stuff-up the club's made since letting Ivan Cleary go. And let's be honest, they've never replaced him either.
Roger IS the Warriors. More than just the best player, he's the face of the franchise. He's box office, the reason people pay to watch.
And let me make this next bit perfectly clear. I have nothing but praise for what he's given the club and wish him every bit of success whatever he chooses to do. My beef is with Warriors management. RTS was promised the earth to leave his ragingly successful career at the Roosters and captain this club. Five years later he leaves disillusioned with most of those promises unkept.
The other point to make loud and clear is that rugby did not go after Roger. As easy as it is for most conspiracy theorists to blame big bad rugby for stealing yet another brilliant leaguie, this time NZR are guilt free.
And the club, desperate to control the narrative, try and tell us that "it's all about 2021 now we're moving on"? Moving on how exactly? Moving on without the one player that truly made the team worth watching. The Warriors have totally dropped the ball on this. Rugby didn't chase Roger, Roger chose rugby.