A select group of players from the Parramatta Eels, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Canberra Raiders and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs farewelled Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Leeson Ah Mau with a spine tingling haka before the pair depart for New Zealand.
Tuivasa-Sheck was granted an early release to head back to New Zealand in order to begin his quest in playing for the All Blacks.
Ah Mau, meanwhile, was allowed to leave by the Warriors to return home to his family before the New Zealand government closes the travel bubble with Australia for a minimum period of eight weeks.
Upon departure, the pair were fronted with a crowd of players from a number of different clubs who wanted to pay their respects to one of the game's greatest.
Honoured to be a part of the farewell Haka for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Leeson Ah Mau this morning.
Our Kiwi Stars joined in as they said goodbye from the Gold Coast. pic.twitter.com/gz4YRcdm5O
— Canberra Raiders (@RaidersCanberra) July 29, 2021
New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George reached out to a number of the clubs in their shared bubble, asking whether they wanted to be apart of the send-off.
“We sent a message to the other clubs staying here in the hotel about how our boys wanted to do a haka for him, and we wanted to extend the invitation to the other clubs to participate in it,” he said.
“Every club wanted to be present in their entirety, and not just to do the haka, but to be there.
“We had a meeting in our team room this morning behind closed doors where I said a few words on behalf of the club. It was emotional for everyone.
“We then held Roger and Leeson because the boys had a plan to race outside and form a guard of honour to where the haka would take place.
“Roger and Leeson had no idea until they were outside.
“We got out there and every club followed up on what they said they would do.
— South Sydney Rabbitohs 🐰 (@SSFCRABBITOHS) July 29, 2021
“It was a great experience for a lot of the Australians to see what the Warriors culture is about. It was also so good to see our ex-players like (Eels duo) Hayze Perham and Isaiah Papali’i and even (Eels assistant coach) David Kidwell get involved.
“It was a sign of respect for Roger and Leeson ... it was a credit to all the clubs participating in what was a real emotional moment for our club. We’re losing two really good people.”
Over his time in the NRL Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has quite the CV.
- 2013 Dally M Best Winger
- 2015/2018 Dally M Best Fullback
- 2017 NZRL Kiwis player of the year
- 2018 Dally M Medal
- 2019 Rugby League World Golden Boot Award
- 2020 Dally M Best Captain
It's only fitting that a player of his calibre receives such a farewell.