Toa Samoa’s Chanel Harris-Tavita uses homecoming to escape from reality of decision to quit

Toa Samoa’s Chanel Harris-Tavita is still unsure about what it is that he’ll be doing next year, and is using his time in Samoa as an escape from the reality of his decision to leave rugby league.

This week’s Toa Samoa homecoming parades in Apia offered the opportunity for 23-year-old Harris-Tavita ​to visit Samoa for the first time after making deciding to quit following a failed NRL campaign with the Warriors.

Harris-Tavita says he is deliberately avoiding thinking about what 2023 will bring by only thinking two weeks ahead at a time.

“I think I’ve just been planning a couple weeks at a time and then as soon as it gets to the back end of the two weeks, I’m thinking about those next two weeks,” says Harris-Tevita.

“I get a bit nervous when I’m thinking about it so I try not to think about it too much.”

Part of his two-week mind-set routine is to visit the island of Savai'I this week with his team and meet family that he’s never met before. 

“I can’t wait to connect with them and hopefully go see my village.

“My villages are Afega, Sapapali’I and Fugalei,” he says.

Harris-Tavita announced his decision to quite league in May before his Rugby League World Cup campaign with Toa Samoa. But he admits he will miss being in a team environment.

“That’s what I’m going to miss the most, is being around the boys. That six or seven weeks I spent with the Toa team was probably the most fun I’ve had in a while,” he says.

“I don’t know what’s different, I think it’s just representing your family and it’s just different to club level.”

Harris-Tevita says he loved his time as a footy player and wants to honour all those that have supported him over the years.

“I just want to thank every fan that I’ve had over my short career, I appreciate all of your support,” he says

“I also want to thank my family back home. I wouldn’t be the person I am today and the player I am today without them so thank you to the fans, my family and I’m excited to see what’s next for me.”

Chanel Harris-Tavita speaks to PMN reporter Levi Matautia-Morgan in Apia. Photo/PMN News/Levi Matautia-Morgan/Ella Loheni Stancil