The reports appeared to come out nowhere and the deal has been done rather quickly, with the New Zealand Warriors confirming the departure of Sam Tomkins at season’s end and the signing of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
The man nicknamed RTS – a simple abbreviation of his name – is the direct replacement at fullback for Sam Tomkins, who is currently out injured.
For some time now, reports had suggested that homesickness was affecting Tomkins negatively and so reluctantly, the club has allowed Tomkins to leave his contract 1 year early.
Despite that, Tomkins enjoyed his time at the Warriors and still is, with the Warriors Managing Director Jim Doyle, explaining the club’s reasons.
â€œHe 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,â€ said Doyle.
â€œWhile 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.
Injury is currently preventing Tomkins from playing but the club are confident that once he does return, he will produce his very best footy.
â€œItâ€™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,” said Doyle.
â€œFor now, though, he is determined to finish his time with the Vodafone Warriors in the best way he can. Heâ€™s working to recover from his knee injury as soon as possible so he can regain his spot in the team.â€
For Tomkins, whilst he appreciates the Warriors club, organisation and the fans, he was simply missing his home of England too much and had to move back.
â€œI never imagined it would reach this point,â€ Tomkins said.
â€œThis is a great club and I canâ€™t say enough about the coaching staff. I love being with the lads and itâ€™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.
â€œIâ€™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.â€
Although the club are disappointed, Warriors coach Andrew McFadden believes that with the decision now out of the way, Tomkins can focus on injury recovery and then returning to first-grade.
â€œThis has been hanging over Sam at different times and thereâ€™s no doubt it has affected him,â€ he said.
â€œNow the way has been cleared and Iâ€™m sure heâ€™ll excel once again when he comes back from this injury.
â€œWeâ€™ve seen the quality he provides when heâ€™s in the side. He makes a huge difference to the way we play and I know how determined heâ€™ll be to contribute over the rest of the season.â€
As for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, the Warriors are thrilled to have him on board and are well aware of just how good he already is and how much better he can become.
â€œHeâ€™s a wonderful talent and a fantastic signing,â€ he said.
â€œHeâ€™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.
â€œWhile weâ€™re naturally thrilled and Roger is just as excited about coming home, we both have the same focus for the rest of the year. Heâ€™s solely interested in doing all he can for the Roosters just as we know Sam wants to do the same for us.â€
Tuivasa-Sheck has played for the Kiwis – most recently at last year’s World Cup – has won a premiership with the club in 2013 and was Dally M Winger of the Year in 2013.
For the Roosters, the club are admittedly disappointed but knew that with a heavy family presence in New Zealand, a move home was always on the cards.
â€œWhile we are disappointed to have not been able to retain Roger, we are aware of his ties to New Zealand and respect the decision he has made,â€ said Roosters Chief Operating Officer, Football, Brian Canavan.
â€œRoger is a wonderful young man, and thereâ€™s no denying his terrific skills as a footballer and weâ€™re proud to have played a role in helping develop Roger into the player he is today.
â€œHe has been a key contributor to our Club in recent years, and Iâ€™m sure he will continue to be for the remainder of the season.â€
As for the man himself, the decision was from an easy one. He came through the Roosters ranks and they developed him into the man and player that he is but when an option to return home came along, he had to take it.
â€œThis hasnâ€™t been an easy decision for me. The Roosters have treated me so well ever since I got here and I owe the Club a lot, but the lure of going home to New Zealand was too great.
â€œIâ€™ve learned so much from Trent Robinson and made some lifelong friends at the Roosters, and for the rest of the year, Iâ€™m focussed on doing the very best job I can for the Club. And right now, my number one focus is on preparing for our game against the Broncos on Friday night.â€