Brendan Bradford 20 hrs ago
has always had all the talent in the world.
His dad and both of his grandfathers played representative rugby league and he was scouted by the Warriors while still at high school.
But after two seasons and 26 games in the NRL, the 21-year-old playmaker knows there’s still plenty he needs to work on.
was brought up on rugby league, he admits his natural talent may have overshadowed some of the more basic elements of the game.
That’s where new Warriors coach Nathan Brown
The veteran mentor has worked closely with Harris-Tavita
this off-season as the budding half looks to become an even more well-rounded player.
“He’s just trying to show me the fundamentals of the game,” Harris-Tavita
told Sporting News
“There might have been a few things I didn’t learn coming up that he’s taught me. I’m just looking forward to playing under his guidance this year.
“Australia and New Zealand have different development systems, and I think Australia’s is a lot further ahead in that sense.”
Rather than trying to change his style or approach, Harris-Tavita
says Brown is adding new layers to his playmaking repertoire.
“Browny’s just trying to teach us the fundamentals and principals of the game, then we can go out and play what we see,” he said.
“He doesn’t want us to stick to structure when there’s another opportunity, but these are the principals he’s teaching us just so we have something to revert to.”
has played 13 games in each of the last two seasons, shuffling between five-eighth, halfback and the bench before cementing a spot in the number seven jersey at the back end of 2020
It’s been a long journey just to get here, and he remembers having second thoughts about his career choices when first training with the Warriors’ NRL squad as a scrawny teenager.
“My first season training with the first-grade squad was Manu Vatuvei’s last year with the team,” he said.
“We used to split into backs and forwards, but our backs were probably bigger than the forwards. We had Manu, Solomone Kata, (David) Fusitua
, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad – all these big backs.
“So, I was barely 80kg, tackling my bro Manu who was 140kg running full speed and I’m sitting there going ‘bloody hell, do I really want to do this? Do I really love the game that much?’
“But it was good practise for me. I got through it and now I think back to that preseason and think this one isn’t so bad.”
Fast-forward four years and Harris-Tavita
is an established member of the squad and will start alongside Kodi Nikorima
in the halves when the Warriors begin their 2021 campaign against the Titans on Saturday.
He’s filled out a lot since trying to take down Vatuvei at training and with a combination of new rules introduced to speed up the game, a stronger understanding of the basics of his position and a license to play what he sees, Harris-Tavita
is looking forward to taking advantage of some tiring defences.
“One of Kodi
’s strengths is his running game and with the game moving the direction it’s going and being a lot faster, it’ll open up a lot for him and myself,” he said.
“You have to play a bit more eyes up footy instead of structure and look to capitalise on opportunities when they present themselves.
“It’s an exciting time.”