The Vodafone Warriors have today announced fullback Sam Tomkins is to be granted an early release from his contract while also confirming Kiwi international Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has signed a three-year deal from next season.
Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle said the club had reluctantly agreed to allow Tomkins (26) to return to England a year before the end of his contract in 2016 but it was delighted to secure Sydney Roosters star Tuivasa-Sheck on a long-term contract.
Doyle said while Tomkins was still enjoying his time with the Vodafone Warriors and living in New Zealand he has cited homesickness as an ongoing factor.
“He came here excited about testing himself in the NRL and also experiencing living in a new country but, in the end, Sam has found it too much of a challenge being away from home,” said Doyle.
“While we have talked with him and tried to work through it he has now come back to us to ask for a release at the end of the season.
“It’s disappointing that it has come to this but reluctantly we have accepted there is no option but to allow Sam to return to England.
“For now, though, he is determined to finish his time with the Vodafone Warriors in the best way he can. He’s working to recover from his knee injury as soon as possible so he can regain his spot in the team.”
Tomkins thanked the Vodafone Warriors for their compassionate approach.
“I never imagined it would reach this point,” he said.
“This is a great club and I can’t say enough about the coaching staff. I love being with the lads and it’s a brilliant country to live in but I can only be honest and say I miss home in ways I never thought I would.
“I’m truly grateful to the Vodafone Warriors for agreeing to give me an early release and I am so determined to repay them for their consideration. All I want now is to get back out on the field to help us have a great season.”
Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden said making a decision now about Tomkins’ future should prove beneficial.
“This has been hanging over Sam at different times and there’s no doubt it has affected him,” he said.
“Now the way has been cleared and I’m sure he’ll excel once again when he comes back from this injury.
“We’ve seen the quality he provides when he’s in the side. He makes a huge difference to the way we play and I know how determined he’ll be to contribute over the rest of the season.”
While disappointed Tomkins wouldn’t be with the club for the full term of his original contract, McFadden was elated about snaring Sydney Roosters star Tuivasa-Sheck.
“He’s a wonderful talent and a fantastic signing,” he said.
“He’s still only 21 and has already made a real mark in the NRL and also for the Kiwis. To be able to bring a New Zealander back to our club from Australia is massive for us.
“While we’re naturally thrilled and Roger is just as excited about coming home, we both have the same focus for the rest of the year. He’s solely interested in doing all he can for the Roosters just as we know Sam wants to do the same for us.”
Apia-born, Auckland-raised Tuivasa-Sheck, an Otahuhu College product, was in the Roosters’ NRL premiership-winning side in 2013 and also played in the Rugby League World Cup final for the Kiwis the same year. He was named the 2013 Dally M Winger of the Year.
Date of Birth: June 05, 1993
Birthplace: Apia, Samoa
Junior Club: Otahuhu Leopards (Auckland)
Rep Honours: 6 Tests for Kiwis 2013-2014, World Cup 2013
NRL Debut: Sydney Roosters v Gold Coast, Allianz Stadium, July 27, 2012 (Round 21)
NRL Career: 62 appearances, 2012-2015
NRL Points: 72 (18 tries)
Secondary School: Otahuhu College (Auckland)