Mitchell Pearce's Kiwi mate: "I feel for the bro''
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is concerned for his friend and former Sydney Roosters teammate Mitchell Pearce, in the wake of his lewd behavior on Australia Day.
But he says he has more important things on his mind ahead of his debut season with the Warriors.
The 22-year-old fullback - one of the games genuine cleanskins - feels sympathy for Pearce, whose career is in jeopardy after the Roosters co-captain was captured on video making drunken and inappropriate advances against a woman and a dog.
However, despite his friend's woes, Tuivasa-Sheck is more concerned with settling into his new team after being named today to make his first appearance in Warriors colours at next weekend's Downer NRL Auckland Nines.
"I feel for the bro. Mitchell Pearce is a good friend of mine and I feel for him," Tuivasa-Sheck said.
"I haven't really spoken to anyone or said anything about it or put my head to it.
"I hope the club and he go well and sort it all out, but I have my own stuff to do here and I have my own problems and challenges that I'm trying to face."
Despite the shocking and unsavory nature of Pearce's actions, Tuivasa-Sheck's concern for his friend's well-being echoes the sentiment of the majority of the troubled 26-year-old's peers.
Former Newcastle Knights captain and league Immortal Andrew Johns - himself no stranger to off-field scandals during a brilliant yet turbulent career - believes Pearce needs time away from the game to get his life back on track.
"It was unfortunate but you can't defend it," Johns told Radio Sport.
"He's been hammered over here, he's been hammered everywhere in the press, but he deserves to be hammered for what he's done.
"But we should give him some space, he needs to go and sort some stuff out. There's more important things than rugby league for Mitchell at this stage.
"It's times like this that there are bigger things than sport. He needs to sort his life out and he'll get all the support he needs."
Johns believes the first step in Pearce attempting to redeem himself requires him to accept responsibility for his behavior and to embrace the support of those closest to him.
"Firstly, you've got to take ownership of your own life after you've had a few dramas. You can't blame anyone else, you've just got to take responsibility," he said.
"You've just got to surround yourself with your family and your close friends and get some help and get away. That's the big thing for me, he has to get away and sort some stuff out.
"He'll be fine, Mitchell, hopefully."