Tomkins saga nears an end

Sam Tomkins
Sam Tomkins
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LAST month, the American government admitted that top secret site Area 51 exists.

This month, another of the world’s worst kept secrets may be confirmed ... Sam Tomkins’ move to New Zealand Warriors.

The protracted move has simmered since the Wigan Observer revealed the NRL club’s interest back in May.

Throughout the summer, Tomkins has had to become a master at politely dodging questions about his future. He couldn’t even fully enjoy Challenge Cup success at Wembley without being asked about his intentions.

But with the deal seemingly completed, there is a growing feeling that – at last – it may be officially confirmed before Wigan’s play-off semi-final next weekend.

That would give fans the chance to show their appreciation to the Test No.1 before he departs.

The Warriors have plenty of previous when it comes to delaying announcements, and it’s possible they wanted to secure his successor before confirming the exit of 
England’s most marketable star.

With North Queensland Cowboys No.1 Matty Bowen agreeing to a swan-song campaign in Super League, they now appear poised to reveal their plans for 2014. Bowen, a firm crowd-pleaser for more than a decade in the NRL, is thought to have signed a one-year deal. Wigan have a clutch of youngsters emerging through the ranks, and Bowen’s presence for a season will help prepare the likes of Ryan Hampshire, Joe Burgess and Lewis Tierney for the regular demands of Super League.

Tomkins is thought to have signed a ‘return ticket’ deal, similar to Lee Mossop’s arrangement with Parramatta, which will make provisions for him rejoining Wigan once he has completed his NRL commitments. Interestingly, New Zealand officials have already started speaking openly about Tomkins’ capture.

Last week, assistant coach Andrew McFarren said in a radio interview: “We won’t get Tomkins ‘til after Christmas, which isn’t ideal but every team has to deal with that.”

And incumbent full-back Kevin Locke told Rugby League Week magazine: “Matty (Elliott, coach) has spoken to me about Tomkins and gives me regular updates.

“I have the mindset that I am the fullback this season and I want to do the job so that next year I give Matty a hard decision to make.”

Elliott gave little away of his intentions, but added: “Regardless of who comes in or goes out of our organisation, as long as I am here it is my strong will that Kevin will remain a part of our spine and a part of our team.”