Relieved to have finally scored his first tries in the NRL, potential Kiwis international Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is not as anxious about enduring other waiting games.
The 19-year-old Sydney Roosters outside back happily avoided the traditional end-of-season "nudie" run for non try-scorers with a hat-trick against Parramatta on April 4.
Tuivasa-Sheck was unable to cross the line during six games in his debut season last year but sidestepped the embarrassment of the 'Mad Monday" ritual by claiming he was still a member of the Roosters under-20s squad.
However, the Apia-born, Auckland raised teenager knew that excuse wouldn't work in 2013 so the 50-0 thumping of the Eels was "was a big buzz."
"The boys were always reminding me of the nudie run so I was feeling a bit of pressure."
Tuivasa-Sheck made his first grade debut against the Gold Coast last July and although he went close to breaking his duck before the end of the season desperate defence tackle or a video ref conspired against him.
The 44-20 penultimate round victory over the Wests Tigers was particularly galling.
"All the outside backs scored apart from me," he said.
So when the moment finally arrived at the Sydney Football Stadium on Easter Monday, Tuivasa-Sheck barely knew how to react.
"I didn't have a celebration planned. No, no, when I first scored I was pretty shocked.
"I didn't know what to do. I smiled and that was about it."
Tuivasa-Sheck's treble underscored his status as a future international although his prospects in this, a World Cup year, are still to be clarified.
He played for the Junior Kiwis in the curtain raiser to last October's trans-Tasman test in Townsville - representing the senior side is a goal, though Samoa is also keen to utilise him at the World Cup in the UK, Ireland and France.
Wing is not usually a problematic area for Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney with Jason Nightingale and Sam Perrett likely to play next Friday's Anzac Test in Canberra - fitness permitting.
Manu Vatuvei also returned to NRL action for the first time since round one yesterday against South Sydney though two contenders appear out of contention.
Gerard Beale, who played on the wing in Townsville, was having scans on a knee injury today after injuring the joint playing for St George Illawarra against Newcastle yesterday.
One-test Melbourne Storm wing Matt Duffie's aerial prowess is well-known though defensive deficiencies contributed to him being omitted from tonight's round-ending encounter with the Wests Tigers.
Tuivasa-Sheck was coy when asked if he faced a conundrum this year - if he plays for Samoa against Tonga in Sydney on April 20 he would be ineligible to assist the Kiwis defend their Cup crown.
He would not confirm whether Kearney or newly-appointed Samoa coach Steve Price had sounded him out.
"At the moment I'm just playing the Roosters.
"I'm just happy enough to have my name thrown around in that international mix," he said.
"I'm not sure how it will work out."
"I've just got to keep my form up and hopefully when that time comes I'll put my hand up for it," he said, declining to state a preference.
Tuivasa-Sheck's Kiwis prospects could be enhanced by his combination with Shaun Kenny-Dowall, who is in contention to resume his test career in the centres following Krisnan Inu's suspension and Steve Matai's switch of allegiance to Samoa.
Kenny-Dowall has assisted Tuivasa-Sheck's transition to Roosters right edge - a move made when Perrett made a mid-season transfer to the Bulldogs.
"Shaun's got so much experience. He's always tips me off on when to come in and when to hold (on defence)," Tuivasa-Sheck said.
Meanwhile, Tuivasa-Sheck is also relaxed at the prospect of biding his time before replacing Roosters legend and current captain Anthony Minichiello in the No 1 jersey.
The 32-year-old has signalled his intention to play on in 2014 - ideally at the Roosters although a rival NRL club or Super League are fall back options for the 256-game veteran.
"I haven't really had a thought about that (replacing Minichiello)," he said.
"I'll handle it when that time comes."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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