In the wake of announcing a fairytale 2024 return to the club, TWL has some RTS nectar for you – counting down some of his greatest hot-stepping, try-saving, metre-eating highlights in a Warriors jumper.
10. Dazzling dummy-half try in Townsville (2018)
Returning from a three-week layoff during his Dally M-winning campaign, Tuivasa-Sheck was untouchable in a 22-12 road win over the Cowboys in Round 15 of the 2018 season. He laid on tries for Ken Maumalo and Solomone Kata either side of an unforgettable 70-metre solo effort during a first-half blitz.
WHAT TWL SAID: ‘Two slick try-assists, a dazzling 70-metre solo try, a team-high 143 metres and a few clutch plays on defence – one hell of a captain’s knock from Roger.’
9. Ton up in match-winning Kogarah display (2021)
RTS’s rugby union move was imminent when the Warriors went to Kogarah Oval in Round 6 of the 2021 season, but his unquestionable commitment and competitive streak was on full display as he inspired a gallant 20-14 upset – arguably the team’s best of a swiftly declining campaign.
WHAT TWL SAID: ‘The skipper marked his 100th game for the club with yet another inspirational, industrious, match-winning performance. Had 26 runs for 249 metres (80 post-contact), two line-breaks and seven tackle-breaks, along with the decisive try in the second half. Featured far more prominently on attack than we’ve become accustomed to seeing and caused the Saints constant headaches around the ruck and on the edge.’
8. Last-gasp brilliance foiled by controversial call (2019)
Roger was on a magnificent tear as the Warriors strived to stay in the finals hunt during their 2019 recession. Their chances received a hammer blow in a controversial 24-22 away defeat to Parramatta, with an atrociously lopsided refereeing display highlighted to a call that burgled RTS of one of the all-time great match-winning plays – but it couldn’t distract from yet another blistering individual performance.
WHAT TWL SAID: ‘The best player on the field yet again. Ran for a game-high 268 metres, produced a nice try-assist in the first half, and came up with a scintillating line-break in the championship minutes – which should have been rewarded with the match-winning assist (and one of the best of all time), but for an abhorrent forward-pass call. Super classy post-game.’
7. Electric against the Eels (2020)
Taking on the heavyweight Eels again during the fractured 2020 season, the Warriors were again thwarted by horrific officiating – but Tuivasa-Sheck was spectacular in a gutsy 24-18 defeat.
— NRL (@NRL) September 6, 2020
WHAT TWL SAID: ‘Absolutely astonishing once again. A total of 278 running metres was boosted by an electrifying line-break that set up Chanel’s second, while also had a key hand in Perham’s try. High-quality in every other facet and troubled the Eels with every touch. the last three weeks have matched anything he did during 2018-19.’
6. Roger roasts Roosters in golden point (2016)
Tuivasa-Sheck joined the Warriors amid much fanfare in 2016 – but the clash everyone had circled in the calendars was his Round 4 encounter with his former club, the Roosters, in Round 5. The fullback phenom proved the difference in a seesawing epic in Gosford, scoring the match-winner in golden point as the Warriors thwarted the minor premiers of the past three seasons 30-26.
5. NRL record in extra-time classic (2019)
The Warriors and Broncos drew a Suncorp Stadium barnburner 18-all draw (the premiership’s first in three seasons) during the second half of 2019, but it was Tuivasa-Sheck who left the most indelible imprint by smashing the NRL’s record for run metres as well as coming desperately close to winning the game for his side.
WHAT TWL SAID: ‘An immense 367 running metres (a new NRL record) including two breaks – one in the dying minutes of regulation, the other in golden point – that came within inches of producing match-winning tries. Also made eight tackle-busts and had a key hand in Fusitu’a’s try.’
4. The King of Tamworth (2020)
No player sacrificed more than Tuivasa-Sheck to keep the Warriors’ COVID-ravaged 2020 season afloat and he was deservedly crowned Dally M Captain of the Year. Peerless leadership on and off the field aside, his fullback performances remained top-shelf – and the ultimate reward came in the form of a stirring 36-6 drubbing of the finals-bound Knights as the Warriors saluted the town of Tamworth, their pre-restart training camp hosts earlier in the year.
WHAT TWL SAID: ‘Absolutely vintage RTS for the second week in a row. Game-high tallies of 266 metres (105 post-contact) and nine tackle-breaks, two solo tries for his first double in more than three years, a very nice hand in another try, faultless at the back and a deft kick to force an important line dropout. Has come under fire for not being as influential as the past couple of years, but would realistically be on his way to a fourth straight Warriors Player of the Year gong (and third straight TWL Player of the Year award) if it wasn’t for Tohu Harris. And when you consider his personal sacrifices this year…he’s bearing down on Stacey and Simon in the Warriors G.O.A.T. stakes.’
3. Try-saving phenomenon (2018)
A feature of RTS’s sizzling all-round form to become the first Warrior to win the Dally M Medal in 2018 (and arguably less importantly, his second straight Warriors Player of the Year award and the inaugural TWL Player of the Year gong) was a string of staggering try-saving efforts in seemingly impossible situations. After miraculous efforts earlier in the season against the Rabbitohs, Raiders and Sharks, this one in a memorable late-season defeat of the high-flying Dragons in Wollongong was arguably his best.
WHAT TWL SAID: ‘An absolute master-class on both sides of the ball in the first half. Made a searing line-break and saved a try with an improbable defensive play, while he was safe at the back all day and finished with a game-high 222 metres. Still a big Dally M chance.’
2. Rapana rescue on the bell ices all-time display (2021)
Tuivasa-Sheck attracted the only 9.5 rating in the 120-odd-game history of TWL’s player ratings for a staggering performance in the Warriors’ recording-breaking comeback from 21 points down in Canberra to win 34-31 in Round 3 of 2021. An amazing performance was capped by one of the great last-ditch game-saving plays to prevent Jordan Rapana from stealing the game on the last play.
WHAT TWL SAID: ‘Any notion that we wouldn’t get the best out of our skipper ahead of his shift to union was dispelled in Canberra. Quite possibly his finest-ever display, running for 252 metres (101 post-contact), scoring a brilliant, crucial try among two line-breaks, making 10 tackle-breaks, popping six offloads and then producing an all-time hero defensive play to save the game on the bell. Constantly on the shoulder of the Warriors’ playmakers to punch into the Raiders’ defensive line. Unforgettable.’
1.Try of the year (2019)
Despite his team winning just nine games and finishing 13th, RTS backed up his 2018 Dally M success with a top-five finish in 2019 – three votes ahead of any other player whose club failed to reach the finals. He put an exclamation mark on a wonderful campaign with a match-winning turn in a final-round upset of the grand final-bound Raiders in Canberra, including an eye-popping four-pointer that would attract NRL Try of the Year honours.
WHAT TWL SAID: ‘A so-so first half, but the skipper’s scintillating performance after the break should have attracted the three points and kept the Dally M Medal race interesting. Ran for a game-high 252 metres, great cover defence, busy in attack and handled three times before scoring the try of the season. Brilliant end to a difficult year under difficult circumstances. Certain to make history as the first player to win three straight Warriors Player of the Year gongs.’