Rugby league: New Zealand Warriors coach Todd Payten praises homesick Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

New Zealand Warriors coach Todd Payten has paid tribute to the efforts of his club captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as the superstar fullback grapples with playing an NRL season away from his family.

The Warriors won their latest NRL fixture 26-20 against the Wests Tigers with Tuivasa-Sheck putting in yet another standout performance.

His coach then revealed in a post-match press conference just how hard it has been for the 2018 Dally M Medal winner this season.

“He’s probably doing it the toughest out of all of us to be fair. He’s the only Kiwi over here without his family and he’s got two babies under three so I know he’s not content.

“He’s a little bit muddled with his feelings, he’s always on the phone, and it’s tough for him. He’s got to lead a club, he’s got to lead a footy team and some days I can just see the burden he carries on his shoulders.

“I’m just proud that he’s doing what he’s doing.”

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While members of the Warriors squad whose families are on Australian passports have been able to enter Australia, anyone with a New Zealand passport has been unable to do so due to Covid-19 restrictions.

First string players David Fusitu’a, Ken Maumalo, Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa all opted to return home this past week after their families were refused entry.

However, Payten said Tuivasa-Sheck has never considered a similar move, despite his struggles, though he has suggested he look at taking steps to reunite with his family on Australian soil.

“I made the decision to bring my family over and I told him it’s been a weight off my shoulders and I think you should do the same,” Payten said.

“I know his family’s got family at home which is really good help. But I know how I feel and there are days when you need them around. He’s said it openly that his family makes him happy.”

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