Warriors debutant Tuaupiki ready to step up for club and culture

It will be a contrast of two careers this weekend when the Warriors take on the North Queensland Cowboys.

Captain Tohu Harris will run out for his 200th game, while young fullback Taine Tuaupiki will make his debut.

The 23-year-old has earned his first start in the NRL due the concussion of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

“The journey been long and I wouldn't say I was destined for it because I honestly wasn't but yeah very grateful, Tuaupiki told 1 News.

Making an impression in the Queensland Cup last year, there’s no surprise numerous NRL clubs were chasing his signature.

In the end a decision to sign a train-and-trial deal with the Warriors goes far deeper than what he can do on the field.

“I was in Aussie to chase the dream I always wanted to be able to speak te reo and be real strong in my culture so when this opportunity did pop up for me to move back even though those other opportunities the smarter ones to take I knew in my heart to come home," Tuaupiki said.

Taine Tuaupiki.

A big part in Tuaupiki signing with the New Zealand club was a conversation with coach Andrew Webster.

The 23-year-old full of praise and gratitude when speaking about Webster.

“The Warriors deal wasn't the best one on the table but just purely from Webby, a lot of the boys I spoke to have been in this system they said just be careful because a lot of coaches say things but don't back it up. But I found that hard to believe someone like Webby when they can speak with that much conviction it was like, 'surely he won’t go back on his word', which he hasn’t, he showed nothing but love," Tuaupiki said.

Webster told media today ormer Warrior Michael Witt alerted him to Tuaupiki, as he’d worked with him play at the Burleigh Bears.

“He’s not the biggest guy in the world but he makes people miss, he's very outgoing, he's not shy but he certainly knows he's got a lot to learn so he’s not brash or arrogant or anything like that."

The Warriors play the North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday in Townsville.


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