The Warriors star is moving away from the NRL at 23

Warriors playmaker Chanel Harris-Tavita never expected to make that decision, but at the age of 23 he chose to take a break from the NRL.

“I want to take a break from rugby league,” he told AAP. “It simply came to our notice then.

“I haven’t been enjoying it as much as I used to last year, although I dreamed of being an NRL player as a child.”

He will leave the Warriors at the end of the 2022 NRL season and says his decision is not related to mental health.

Harris-Tavita, the most talented New Zealand playmaker to have come through the Warriors since Shawn Johnson’s entry into the NRL level in 2011, has it all.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - April 08: The Warriors' Channel Harris-Tavita was injured during a round five NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the North Queensland Cowboys at the Moreton Daily Stadium on April 08, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Glenn Hunt / Getty Images)

(Photo by Glenn Hunt / Getty Images)

An excellent move, a rock-solid defensive game and an equal share of strength and accuracy in a left boot. But with only 44 games in his NRL career, Playmaker has decided to stick to that.

“I feel guilty when I think about the decision I’m making,” he said. “There are lots of kids out there who would love to be in my position. Looking back from the game it may seem like I’m approving of it.

“It simply came to our notice then. Every time I told a family member or friend, I felt a weight off my shoulder.

“I was afraid to say it out loud, to my family, friends and colleagues. Most of the people I mentioned were shocked, but they were all very helpful, for which I am grateful.

“I am extremely grateful for my experience and the people I have worked with. It’s time to dump her and move on. “

Harris-Tavita wants to use 2023 to travel and continue her new hobby of writing. He is still keen to represent Samoa or New Zealand in the Rugby League World Cup later this year.

Playmaker says the pressure to pull out of the deal this year was the catalyst for her to make the final decision.

The Warriors offered Harris-Tavita a new contract in the pre-season, he turned them down and said he wanted to stop, eager to prove his worth two years after the injury.

But the delay was partly because he knew he was living a false life. “I was trying to delay the decision,” he said.

“Deep down, I knew I didn’t want to sign another contract and I was trying to hide that feeling from everyone, including me.

“A few weeks ago my manager was coming to Brisbane to discuss my contract and I said to myself: ‘Am I going to raise some ball and make this decision now or am I going to keep everyone else happy?’

“I used to lie to virtually everyone about what I wanted to do.”

After being part of the Warriors team that has forced Terrigal, Tamworth, Gold Coast and now Brisbane to stay for the past three years, Harris-Tavita hopes to end this chapter of her NRL journey back to Auckland.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he added. “Hopefully we can play some good football and get good votes.

“Knowing there’s an end in sight, I’m sure I’ll appreciate every moment a little more.”


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