sport

Tomkins set for Warriors debut

England full-back Sam Tomkins will make his NRL debut this weekend for the New Zealand Warriors.

Tomkins will be in good company, with up to eight other players who finished the 2013 Super League season making their first starts for their new Australian clubs.

Tomkins, a 700,000 buy from Wigan, will don the number one jersey for the New Zealand Warriors against Parramatta Eels at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday.

His former Wigan team-mate Lee Mossop, who has joined Parramatta, must wait for his debut after being sidelined by shoulder surgery.

Half-back Michael Witt, who was among an exodus of players from London Broncos at the end of last season, will make his debut for St George Illawarra in a new half-back partnership with England international Gareth Widdop, who made the move from Melbourne in the close season.

Former Warrington front-row forward Mike Cooper has been named on a five-man bench for the Dragons, who play Wests Tigers at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

The Tigers welcome back winger Pat Richards, who has returned to the club from his eight-year spell at Wigan, while ex-Bradford and St Helens coach Mick Potter will give debuts to former Bulls centre Keith Lulia and back-row forward Cory Paterson, who left Hull KR in 2013.

Former Hull KR captain Michael Dobson will make his debut for Newcastle Knights against Penrith on Saturday, going up against Jamie Soward, who has joined the Panthers after completing a short-term stint with London in 2013.

Former Salford and Hull stand-off Daniel Holdsworth will make first appearance for Cronulla against Gold Coast Titans on Monday.

The NRL season kicks off on Thursday, with defending champions Sydney Roosters opening up against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.

Souths are without England forward Tom Burgess, who has a foot injury, but include his three brothers, Sam, George and Luke, while former Catalan prop Remi Casty must wait to make his debut for the Roosters after missing out on selection.