Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has revealed his disappointment at hearing Todd Payten had turned down the NRL club’s head coaching role.
Payten confirmed earlier this week he had knocked back an offer to replace Stephen Kearney permanently, announcing instead he intended to pursue the vacant North Queensland job to remain in Australia with his father-in-law battling cancer.
Tuivasa-Sheck said the news had been a blow but also something he could understand.
“We were pretty gutted because of the way he’s been tracking along,” the New Zealand Test representative said.
“The way he’s been going so far, the way he stepped in and everything he’s done for us at the moment, it’s been awesome but again we respect the decision he’s made.”
Tuivasa-Sheck also played down concerns he was struggling without his family beside him as the Warriors’ Australian exile continues.
The 27-year-old has two children under the age of three and after the departures of four teammates last month, is now the only Kiwi in the squad without his family in camp.
“I’ve been getting a lot of messages lately. A lot of people checking in but as I keep saying to everyone I’m pretty lucky,” he said.
“I’ve got a strong woman back home and she’s got good support around her. She’s raising the babies really well and I’m just happy to be here doing my job to help her and the kids back home.”
There are concerns the Warriors may have to be based in Australia for the entire 2021 campaign as well as this year, with the COVID pandemic showing little signs of coming to an end.
Tuivasa-Sheck said that was a concern for another day, however, as is a report claiming the club was looking to appoint Phil Gould as a consultant.
“I haven’t met him,” the ex-Sydney Rooster said.
“I know he has a big impact in the rugby league community and especially in Australia so it’s interesting to see the type of work he could do for us.”