SHAUN Wane admits he would welcome Sam Tomkins back to Wigan with open arms if he wanted to leave the NRL.
But the coach said he didn’t know if there was any substance to reports the England No.1 wants to return home at the end of this season.
At the end of the day, England is home and ideally I’d love to play for the (Wigan) club again when my contract here expiresSam Tomkins, July 2014
Speculation is intensifying the 26-year-old ex-Wigan superstar wants to cut short his three-year deal with the New Zealand Warriors because of homesickness.
Wane spoke to him last week, but says the call was about his injury - and says chairman Ian Lenagan and rugby manager Kris Radlinski will be dealing with any potential transfer activity.
Asked would he want him back at Wigan, Wane said: “He’s a great player, he’s one of our lads - we’re always interested in great players, and he’s one of the world’s best. A real competitor.
“But I don’t know what the situation is. Ian and Rads will be dealing with that.
“I rang him last week when he was injured, that was it.”
The speculation over Tomkins has been given more weight by the fact Sydney Roosters have admitted they are aware the NZ Warriors are interested in signing their full-back, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, for next season.
If the England Test No.1 does leave the NZ Warriors at the end of this season, there would be no shortage of interest in the former Man of Steel. Other rich Super League clubs - as well as rugby union outfits - will surely be keen to recruit him.
As part of the world-record £500,000 deal which took him to the NRL at the end of the double-winning 2013 campaign, Wigan were given first refusal to sign him should he decide to return to England.
Tomkins’ love for his hometown club is well-known. His brothers Logan and Joel are both on the Warriors’ books - the latter cutting short his time in rugby union to return last year.
Wigan will also need a full-back at the end of the season, with Matty Bowen expected to leave - though Ryan Hampshire has been pencilled in as a potential replacement.
Any efforts to sign Tomkins could be helped by a new marquee player allowance - which will be voted for by Super League clubs in June.
Tomkins or the NZ Warriors have not commented on the speculation.
In a candid interview last year, Tomkins admitted being so far from home was difficult and that he may finish his career back with Wigan.
“It’s a great adventure coming halfway across the world and I am enjoying it,” Tomkins said last July. “But having said that, there are also days when you find yourself really missing home.
“The Warriors are great and have really welcomed us. But at the end of the day, England is home and ideally I’d love to play for the (Wigan) club again when my contract here expires (at the end of 2016).”
Tomkins burst onto the scene as a teenager in 2008, scoring five tries on a debut against Whitehaven and going on to become a firm crowd-pleaser.
Among his domestic honours are two Challenge Cup final victories (2011 and 2013) and two Super League Grand Final wins (2010 and 2013).