Tony Durkin: Warriors on mission to bring home own
AS DISAPPOINTING as it must be to Roosters fans that the brilliant Roger Tuivasa-Scheck has signed with the Warriors from next season, the underlying message might be that the perennially-struggling Warriors are starting to buy back the farm.
Forget Ryan Hoffman, Jacob Lillyman, Brent Tate, Kevin Campion and maybe even the outstanding Steve Price - Tuivasa-Scheck could prove to be the best 'import' the Warriors have made in their 20-year history.
At 21 and with 63 NRL games and seven Tests already on his CV, the budding fullback has only scraped the surface of a brilliant career.
During their hot and cold history, in which they have played in two grand finals but finished out of the finals 13 times, the Warriors have scouted numerous big names to return across the ditch.
The most notable have been Matthew Ridge, Kevin Iro, Quentin Pongia and Ruben Wiki - all champion Kiwis and household rugby league names.
But in most cases they returned home when their careers were all but over.
Sure, they delivered some oomph to the Warriors but their presence was short-lived and their legacy minimal.
Tuivasa-Scheck is one that escaped their junior scouting net. Samoan born, he attended college in Auckland and represented NZ Schoolboys in league and union.
But before he had left school he was snared by the Roosters, as was his younger brother Johnny.
Now, it seems, the Warriors have made a decision to bring home their own and the sensational Roosters fullback is their first big catch.
Earlier in the season they failed to lure current Kiwi Test players Kieran Foran and Jason Taumalolo, but the first of the latest buyback plan was transacted this week.
While it may have carved a huge slice from their salary cap - a reported $800,000 a season - the signature of RTS is a massive coup.
But it begs the question of where the Warriors NYC champions have gone.
Since the NYC was introduced in 2008 the Warriors have won three premierships and finished no lower than sixth in the other five years.
Pundits are entitled to ask what has happened to aspiring fullbacks Omar Slaimankhel, Glen Fisiiahi, George Maka and Brad Abbey who starred at NYC level. And what is now the future of incumbent Tuimoala Lolohea, an inspiring 20-year-old?
Maybe buying beats developing.
Yes, yes, yes
IF HIS starting debut last weekend is the yardstick, 19-year-old Jack Bird is destined to be a more valued Shark than his namesake, King Grub Greg Bird.
No, no, no
STEVE Mortimer could not have been serious when he claimed James Graham was a model captain 'because he visited a sick fan in hospital'.