Likely Warriors recruit Tomkins picked to star

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2013
Sam Tomkins
Getty Images
WIGAN WARRIOR: Sam Tomkins has been linked with a move to the New Zealand Warriors.

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Wigan legend and current general manager at the club, Kris Radlinski, says Sam Tomkins would be a 'sensation' in the NRL.

Radlinski, who played 322 games for Wigan as well as 10 tests for England and 20 for Britain, is in Auckland finalising a relationship where ideas would be swapped and young players will be able to gain experience at each other's clubs.

It is no coincidence that the Super League's current Man of Steel, Tomkins, plays for Wigan.

Neither club are confirming his move to the Warriors next season, but Radlinski would say that Tomkins would be as much of a star in the NRL as he is in the UK.

"I think he'd be a sensation," Radlinski said.

"I always say about him that behind the flashy boots and the side steps, what's underneath is a real competitor and a guy that wants to prove himself.

"He works hard and is a great professional. I'm sure he'd do an outstanding job out here."

Like Tomkins, Radlinski says the players' priority is to play well for Wigan over the rest of the campaign and he has been in stunning form again this season, scoring 22 tries in 14 games.

"He is the best player in England by a long way and at the minute he's completely focused and committed to Wigan and doing a great job for us," said Radlinski.

The imminent departure of Tomkins and other big name Super League players to the NRL has caused concern in England. Their salary cap and TV deal is far lower than the NRL's and the gap in quality between the two leagues continues to grow.

But Radlinski says that rather than worrying about the loss of players to down under, his club are taking a different approach.

"You can show concern or you can embrace it and that's what we're doing at Wigan," he said.

"We realise that there are opportunities here and if players want to come out we'll support them to do it.

"All we ask is that if they ever come back to the UK they consider us first and hopefully they'll come back better players."

Radlinski said that there are young players at Wigan he'd like to send to Auckland soon to play in their Under 20s side and Warriors general manager of football operations, Dean Bell has also identified some youngsters he'd like to send north.

Meanwhile, Radlinski said both clubs are keen on setting up an annual fixture between the sides, alternating hosting the game.

"We have been looking at the possibility of linking up for some friendly games," he said.

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"Probably the start of next season is going to come too soon, with the World Cup. But there is the possibility if we get the timing right of playing a game in Wigan and me bringing the team here.

"I know that if the Warriors came to Wigan we'd fill the stadium, we'd get 25,000 to watch it and I'm pretty sure that a game over here would create a bit of interest also.

"We're only early into those talks but we're hoping it's something we can pull off."

- Stuff

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