RTS praises brother’s defiant retirement call
WARRIORS star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has praised his younger brother Johnny for his bravery in walking away from the NRL dream.
The Dally M winner said the 22-year-old film-maker's emotional Youtube video, in which he announces he's giving up the game after years of crippling pressure from his father, would resonate with so many polynesian kids.
In the clip - published two weeks ago and viewed almost 100,000 times - Johnny reveals he's been carrying the weight of expectation that he'd be "the greatest rugby player anyone has ever seen".
The former Roosters under-20s star says he was never in love with the game but kept playing because of this ambition cast on him by his father Johnny Tuivasa.
"If I was made to be the greatest rugby player anyone has ever seen then why do I feel like an astronaut when I'm out on that field?" he asks.
"This is my future stop acting like you know it. And before you ask, 'Johnny, weren't you supposed to be the greatest rugby player anyone has ever seen?' What if I never wanted to be?"
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said he understood Johnny's struggle.
"There was a lot of pressure on Johnny because he grew up with the build. He had the speed and power, and he's a lot more muscular and broader than I am. So, that's why Dad thought he'd do a lot better than how I'm doing, because he's got all the attributes," he said.
"But unfortunately Johnny wasn't as keen as I was on footy. He picked up graphic design and you could just see as the years rolled on that his passion for footy was going down and his passion for media was starting to grow."
Johnny told his father about the video before he published it, and although he was "hurt at first" he understood the positives that can come from it.
Indeed, Roger says Johnny's been blown away by the feedback, with the message getting across not just to young footballers but anyone whose parents have set a path for them they may not want to follow.
"I think what he did with that video was really special because you see that [pressure] a lot with Polynesian fathers and sons," he continued.
"I know there's been a great response from so many people, even if it's not specifically for rugby league, their parents have other pressures that they want them to do because that's what they did.
"So hopefully he can allow people to go back to their parents, because that's the hardest thing going back to your parents, and saying 'Mum, dad, I actually don't want to do what you hoped for me to become. I want to go down this road [instead]'.
"He's helped a lot of boys who've gone through those pressures of, 'You've got to play rugby, this is your way out', and it's not for everyone.
"For what we do every day it's tough. You get put into dark days and you go to the length of your fitness, and you've got to try and break that wall to go again. So those things are hard to do, and to turn up every day just to get flogged you've got to love it."