Big money Warriors signing Sam Tomkins insists he doesn't have a positional preference at his new club, despite the English international being one of the world's best fullbacks.
Tomkins, who was officially unveiled by the Warriors in Auckland yesterday, has played in both the No 1 and 6 jumpers for Wigan and England - but it has been at fullback where he has excelled.
The 24-year-old faces immediate competition for the custodian's jersey at Mt Smart Stadium, with Kevin Locke the club and Kiwis incumbent.
Yet Tomkins is comfortable moving to standoff for his first season of NRL football next year, if that is what coach Matt Elliott decides is best.
"To be honest, I enjoy playing either of those positions and if I was to move to six, then that would be fine for me," Tomkins said yesterday. "I always practised at one and six at training at Wigan - and I've had to fill in, in both positions, before.
"I started my career at six, and was lucky to play internationals at six as well - so I think either of those positions I'm suited to." Tomkins joins the Warriors on a three-year contract, and with Locke's deal up with the Auckland-based NRL side at the end of next year, speculation is rife that the New Zealander has been on the lookout for a new club.
The Englishman, however, brushed aside rumours of a "battle" for positions between the duo - saying instead that "healthy competition" is good for the team.
"Kevin's an outstanding talent," Tomkins said. "I think people try to make it up to be a bit of a battle between us two, certainly when we played against the Kiwis [at the World Cup] when we let Shaun Johnson score.
"I think healthy competition in the team is really good, and it means you're going to put a good team out every week so I think it's good there's competition there."
Tomkins heads to the Warriors as the club's most expensive signings, but said he doesn't feel extra pressure to perform.
I'm coming here to compete and play the best standard of league I can - and do everything I can for this team," he said.
"Regardless on whether there's pressure on me or not, I'm going to be giving 110 per cent anyway."
After several sponsor's engagements, Tomkins will return to Britain next week before returning for full Warriors pre-season training in January.
He is confident he will be up to speed fitness-wise when he returns to Auckland.
"I need a bit of a rest after a bit of a long season in Super League," he said.
"We play nearly 40 games a year, add into that four internationals. I need a little break ... but I'm really looking forward to it."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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