SHAUN Wane has moved to hose down speculation Sam Tomkins will leave Wigan for the NRL later this year – and reckons the Man of Steel will be at the club next season.
Media reports in Australia claim Tomkins’ agent has already made contact with clubs Down Under to gauge interest in him.
And while Wane is not surprised that the Man of Steel has a string of admirers on the other side of the world, he is confident the 23-year-old will be a Wigan player until at least the end of 2014 – when his contract allows him to speak to NRL and rugby union outfits.
Tomkins spoke to Wane after learning of the reports to assure him he is not angling for a move away.
“As far as I’m concerned he’s here this year and next year,” said Wane.
“He’s contracted to us and I know he’s very, very happy. So unless I hear anything (different) from (chairman) Ian Lenagan or Sam...
“I had a chat to Sam. He came to me and said there’s some rubbish stories in Australia, so he was very open with it, and I am, as far as I’m concerned it’s rubbish.”
When Wigan announced Tomkins’ five-year deal in late 2011, it stipulated he was ‘locked in’ until the end of 2014, preventing him from speaking to other clubs until then.
Tomkins (above) said yesterday: “I’m a Wigan player, it’s a club I love and I’m concentrating on playing for Wigan.
“I’ve always been open about long-term maybe looking at avenues of rugby union or NRL. But it’s Round One – it’s not what I’m thinking about.”
Tomkins, signed to top London agents James Grant, is sure to be in hot demand when that time comes – Sydney Roosters recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan reckons every NRL would be.
“He’s an NRL player every day of the week,” O’Sullivan said.
Meanwhile, Wane yesterday spoke of his admiration of Warrington’s Paul Wood but played down the chances of him moving to the Warriors.
The Evening Post reported yesterday that Wigan were interested in signing the prop, though no deal is imminent.
Wane insisted recruiting is “not a major priority” and said he’s “not actively looking hard”.