Sydney Roosters’ new fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck admits Anthony Minichiello continues to loom large over the role.
Tuivasa-Sheck, largely untested at the back, has been anointed as Minichiello’s successor, shifting from the wing following the NRL premiership-winning skipper’s retirement last season.
The 21-year-old was solid in his first hit out there in 2015 in Saturday’s 36-6 trial win over Manly, but knows that bigger tests lie ahead.
“It was good to have that game against Manly because I didn’t really have to go through `this is filling Mini’s spot’ and there wasn’t any pressure on me,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.
“It felt good just to be out there and to be playing again.
“I think it will hit me round one, that I’m actually going to be playing fullback for the Sydney Roosters in my first proper hitout for 2015.
“Everyone knows what great things Mini did for this club, they are such big shoes to fill.
“But he has been helping me with the fullback role and I’m looking forward to getting out there … nerves and everything.”
The Kiwi international, who was solid without being spectacular in the Roosters final trial against Manly, has one of the most evasive sidesteps in the game.
But he is hoping it is his defence that shines most this season.
“In the off season defence was the biggest thing I needed to work on, for my tackling and my organisation because that is what I have to do for the boys,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.
“That is where I need to grow, to be more demanding and actually tell them where to go and to push them around.
“That is the biggest thing for me.
“Usually, because I am one of the youngest players I didn’t have that much sense.
“But Robbo (coach Trent Robinson) is really backing me to have that confidence in myself
“Even the boys are backing me to push them around so in myself I really need to be positive.”
The Roosters open their 2015 NRL premiership campaign against North Queensland in Townsville on March 7.