Tohu Harris has almost become the forgotten man at the Warriors — but he has made good use of his enforced time off the field.Can someone with a subscription summarise this article on Tohu Harris's return
The 30-year-old has been out of action since mid-July after suffering an ACL injury in the round 18 defeat to the Panthers.
He has endured a long, slow rehabilitation process since but isn't the type to dwell on misfortune.
All through pre-season, he completed his own sessions early in the morning so he could be at team training to observe and advise.
As a non-playing captain, Harris has looked to implement a new leadership structure, to spread the load among the senior players.
"I've tried to help them take ownership of the team, so it's not just one leader making all the calls, so they can take a lead in certain areas of the club," he said.
Harris has also led a project, along with club chief executive Cameron George, to reconnect the Redcliffe-based team to their New Zealand roots and help the newer players in the squad understand what the jersey represents, given the majority of the team have yet to play in Auckland.
"Cameron and I thought we needed to create a connection back to New Zealand, what the culture is and the Māori culture, so each player knows what they're playing for and where this team comes from," said Harris.
"We spent a lot of time on that, creating that connection. There is a lot of work left to do and we've got other cultures within the club, so that's something we can build on."
Harris is one of only nine in the first-grade squad who have experienced a home game at Mt Smart, after their long isolation across the Tasman.
The club has been conscious of maintaining a "home culture" at their various Australian bases but that has stepped up this season.
George and coach Nathan Brown also met with Dave Rennie, after hearing about his work in that area with the Chiefs and Wallabies.
"He took us through his journey and what he did there," said George. "It has been really instrumental in the outcome we have, gave us some really good ideas as to why you do it and how you do it."
Before his injury, Harris was the most valuable forward at the club, often seeming to do the work of two players, with his tireless efforts in and out of possession.
The extended period out has been challenging — "it takes its toll" — but he can see a finish line.
"The target is round nine [May 8] but the nine-month mark is around round 10 or round 11," said Harris.
"So there is still a bit of time, still a few boxes to tick but hopefully I can get out there sooner rather than later."
Harris has been encouraged by the season so far, as the team has banked some positive results without being at their best.
"We haven't played a complete game [or] to the potential that we know we can," said Harris.
"We have scraped through a couple of games and won some ugly matches, which is a good sign, especially to start the season because we don't want to get to the end of the season and those close games that could have gone either way [come back to] bite us. Once we start to build momentum [and] gel together and have our performances continue to improve, I can only see good signs from here."
The Warriors have lost their previous four encounters against the Roosters, with their last win coming in March 2018. But Harris hopes the team embrace the opportunity at the Sydney Cricket Ground today at 4pm.
"These are the games you look forward to as players, to compete against the top sides because that is where we want to be," said Harris.
"We want to be a top side and everyone looking forward to these types of games."