SAM Tomkins will join New Zealand Warriors on a three-year deal after his widely-expected move was finally confirmed.
Details of the Man of Steel’s switch to the NRL were revealed today (Monday) at a packed press conference in which the signing of Matty Bowen for 2014 was also confirmed.
North Queensland Cowboys full-back Bowen, 31, has signed a one-year deal with an option for a second year. The club will not pay a transfer fee for Bowen.
The announcements came as little surprise.
Tomkins said: “I still have business to take care of with Wigan but I’m over the moon knowing I’ll be with the Vodafone Warriors for the next three years.
“I was thrilled to meet up with (owner) Eric Watson and the club has been terrific throughout. They flew mum out to New Zealand so they could show her around and she was absolutely blown away by what Auckland had to offer. I was in New Zealand with England for the Four Nations in 2010 and loved what I saw then.
“For me this is about taking another step up in my career by testing myself in the NRL. It has always been a goal of mine and now it’s going to happen.
“I’m really grateful to Wigan for helping to make this possible by giving me an early release. I love the club and the people here and always will, but this is the next big step for me.”
Warriors’ interest in Tomkins emerged in April this year.
Similarly, their capture of Bowen had previously been reported, though there had been no official confirmation.
Wigan will receive a club record transfer fee for Tomkins.
But fans could see him back in a Wigan shirt in the future, with the 24-year-old agreeing a ‘return ticket’ arrangement - similar to Lee Mossop - which gives the Cherry and Whites first refusal on his services should he choose to return to Super League.
Bowen has been a firm crowd-pleaser in the NRL for more than a decade and his arrival will help smooth the transition of Tomkins’ departure.
A former Kangaroos international, he is certainly Wigan’s biggest name recruit for 2014. The Warriors have also secured the services of Leigh’s Sam Hopkins and Wests’ Ed Pettybourne.
Bowen is thrilled to be joining the Warriors, after playing his entire professional career to date with the Cowboys.
“When I learned of Wigan’s interest in me it was an easy decision to make,” said the State of Origin star.
“I feel I still have a lot to offer as a player and competing in England is a new and exciting challenge for me.”
Tomkins, Mossop and Pat Richards - who is leaving to join NRL outfit Wests - will play their last match at the DW Stadium on Friday when Wigan face Leeds, with a place in the Grand Final up for grabs.