Sam Tomkins has finally announced that he is on his way to the New Zealand Warriors next season. The deal which runs for three years, and makes Tomkins one of the highest paid players in the game, cost the New Zealand Warriors $1.2 million.
This is a huge commitment by the Warriors. One a club would only make in a player they believe is the missing superstar they require to take the next step up the NRL ladder.
So, is Sam Tomkins worth it?
The Record Breaking Transfer Fee
Paying $1.2 million just for the right to sign ANY player is a lot of money. To spend it on a player with question marks over their ability to adapt to your competition is nothing short of a gamble.
There are obviously people within the New Zealand Warriors that are convinced Tomkins will be a super star in the National Rugby League.
The Warriors can more than afford the transfer fee, so that isn’t a problem. This is a huge investment though. In the past the Warriors have made similar huge investments in English players and it has never worked out. There are a few people at the Warriors that can’t afford that to happen.
Like it or not this huge transfer fee comes with a lot of pressure for the club, the coaching staff and Tomkins himself.
How Tomkins Will Fit Into The Warriors Lineup
The amazing thing about the amount of money the New Zealand Warriors have paid for Tomkins is the fact that they don’t need a fullback!
With Kevin Locke and Glen Fisiiahi in their squad the Warriors are well covered at the back. As it was you got the feeling the Warriors were going to have to make a tough decision on who is their long term fullback. Now, that decision seems to have been made.
While I believe that Tomkins would be better suited at five-eighth in the NRL its known Tomkins considers himself a fullback first. Where that leaves Locke and Fisiiahi is anyones guess.
Locke is being rumoured to be on his way out of the club at this stage, which would help solve a few problems. It wouldn’t shock me if Fisiiahi was picked up by another NRL club too. His form for the Warriors in 2013 was sensational.
The Physical Toll The NRL Will Take On Tomkins
The 2013 season has been a disrupted one for Tomkins. He has been battling with injuries all season.
I think that Tomkins will need a really good off season and to put on some muscle mass if he wants to compete in the NRL. He is a slightly built player. Even if he plays at fullback he will need to put on extra weight just to handle the collisions he will face when running the ball back.
For how much money the Warriors have paid for him, if Tomkins gets broken down by the physical battering of the NRL, it would be a disaster!
Wigan Have Shown The Way Forward For English Clubs
Super League clubs know that they can not compete with the huge money on offer in Australia. Most Super League clubs have not prepared for the new world order.
Wigan have set themselves up as a development club. They are one of the new Super League teams that invest in developing young players. They are based in an area that produces a lot of English talent and they do their best to work these youngsters through their development pathways.
Wigan just made $1.2 million by selling one player. While it is unlikely they will get that much money on a regular basis, a well run Super League club could look at transfer fee’s from the NRL and Rugby Union as a way to generate income.
Wigan are well ahead of every other club in this regard. We will see a few more of their players heading towards the NRL for a fee over the coming years.
Prepare For A Very Confident, Outspoken Player
If Sam Tomkins is thinking something, he will come out and say it. If he thinks he is the best fullback in the world he won’t be shy in telling you.
This isn’t the sort of thing that people like in Rugby League in this part of the world. Players that speak out about certain things become huge targets. It will be very interesting to see how Tomkins handles this.
Playing in Auckland will help. The New Zealand press will be far more forgiving than the Sydney press would be. Its not very often that something a Warriors player says makes too many waves in Australia…which is a good thing by the way. You’d rather have it that way than have to deal with the sensationalist garbage Australian based players are faced with every day.
It Will All Be Very Exciting
I can’t wait to see how Sam Tomkins plays in the NRL. This is what I want to see for the National Rugby League. I want to see players tested in the NRL. I don’t want to see question marks over whether or not a player could step up and play in the NRL, I want to actually see it happen!
Whether Tomkins is a success or a failure, it will all be a hell of a lot of fun to watch!
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com