Wane: Tomkins will 'kill it'
Wigan coach Shaun Wane expects Sam Tomkins to be a big hit in the NRL when he joins New Zealand Warriors next season.
Tomkins confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets in rugby league when he announced his move to Auckland on a three-year deal at a press conference at the DW Stadium.
The Warriors are paying a world record transfer
fee - thought to be in the region of £700,000 - for the 24-year-old England full-back and will make him the highest-paid English player in the game with a salary close to £400,000.
Tomkins, who had three years left on his Wigan contract, is expected to take the place of Kiwi international Kevin Locke at the Warriors and Wane has no doubt that he will make a success of the move.
"It's a different style but Sam's a competitor," Wane said. "He wants to win and he'll kill it.
"New Zealand Warriors have got a great player and a real good guy off the field. He's very honest and forthright with his views. He'll drive the culture over there and they will benefit from having Sam Tomkins in their team."
Wane admitted he initially tried to dissuade Tomkins from following the likes of Sam Burgess, James Graham and his Wigan team-mate Lee Mossop to the NRL but quickly relented when the player made clear his intentions.
"I'm a realist," Wane added. "I don't look at Sam as a rugby player, I look at him as a person and I want him to have a good life.
"He wants to try that competition and it will make him financially more secure. The positive thing for me is that he wants to come back."
As part of the deal with the Warriors, Wigan have secured the right to re-sign Tomkins when he completes his commitments in Auckland and the player says he has no intention of playing for another Super League club.
"It's something I'm glad to get out," said Tomkins, who for months fended off the speculation over his future and says he signed his contract with the New Zealand club only 10 days ago.
"I spoke to a few clubs in the NRL but the Warriors struck me as a club that had a lot of similarities to Wigan.
"When I spoke to them and found out a little bit more about it, I realised that it's probably the right place for me to go.
"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.
"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.
"As far as Super League goes, I don't want to play for anybody else. If I do come back to it, hopefully I'll be here playing at the DW."
Tomkins, the reigning Man of Steel who has scored 34 tries in 24 appearances this year, will bow out after playing for England in the World Cup in November.
Wigan have signed North Queensland Cowboys full-back Matty Bowen, 31, as a straight replacement on a 12-month contract, with an option for a second season, depending on how he copes with a long-standing knee injury.
Wigan, who also spoke to former Kangaroo international Anthony Minichiello of Sydney Roosters, want Bowen to hold the fort until the next generation of outside backs are ready to plug the gap.
"We had a look at both of them," Wane confirmed. "I am genuinely really pleased that we've got Matty Bowen.
"I think he's a fantastic player and he fits into our culture. He's been great on the phone when I have had my chats with him.
"We've got people behind him like Ryan Hampshire and Lewis Tierney and he takes the heat off them for a year or two."