Former NRL boss Dave Smith once declared he would rely on a war chest to “attract and retain marquee players”, and while it was never used, Tuivasa-Sheck is one headline act who would perfectly fit that bill.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo, however, told the Herald on Thursday night while he hoped Tuivasa-Sheck remained in rugby league, there would be no financial incentives from head office to convince him to stay put.
“Firstly we don’t have a slush fund and secondly it’s not a policy that exists,” Abdo said.
“The salary cap is there for a reason, and it’s there to make sure no club gets an unfair advantage.
“I completely agree with you that we want the best athletes playing rugby league, and Roger is a terrific athlete.
“But ultimately any player will make his own decision on what he wants to do, sometimes it’s financially motivated, and other times it isn’t.
“We’d love Roger to play rugby league forever, but at this stage there are no plans for the NRL to create a slush fund … it’s not on our agenda.
“The ARL Commission is always looking at ways they can improve the game and it’s appeal to fans, and if there’s any way we can attract and retain athletes we’ll look at it, but it always has to be fair, and there won’t be exceptions for some athletes and not others.
“Sadly we have to accept we will lose players from time to time.″
Tuivasa-Sheck was unsure last year if he would be able to spend a potential second NRL season living away from his young family because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Warriors gave Tuivasa-Sheck permission to negotiate with rugby clubs in recent months, with News Limited reporting on Thursday night he will finish up at the end of 2021 NRL season before making the leap, most likely to the Auckland Blues.
The 27-year-old proved an inspiration to rival fans last season as he continued to aim up for the Warriors who re-located to the Central Coast.
They will finish up in Tamworth next week before returning to the Central Coast where Tuivasa-Sheck is expected to be joined by his family.
Warriors chief executive Cameron George and Tuivasa-Sheck’s manager Bruce Sharrock could not be reached for comment on Thursday night. New Zealand coach Nathan Brown will now only get the one season working with his best and most popular player.
“It’s definitely a lot easier this time around because it’s planned,” Tuivasa-Sheck told the Warriors’ website this month about life on the road.
“That’s probably the best part, there’s a bit more plan to it.
“My family will be here in February when we make our second move into our next place.″
Tuivasa-Sheck won the Dally M in 2018, which featured an inspirastional haka performance from proud Kiwis Issac Luke and Jazz Tevaga.
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Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.