A day after his fine performance in the Challenge Cup against Hull KR, the long-awaited announcement that Sam Tomkins is leaving Wigan at the end of the season was made official by the club. I mentioned a few weeks back that the statement that will accompany the announcement would be key and insightful, and it was exactly that. A strong, transparent statement from Kris Radlinski set out the scene and background in which the move away from the club has come about.
Not mentioning Catalans as the destination in which Tomkins is leaving for, but a suggestion of the French club discussing a deal with Tomkins before the 1st May deadline adds an element of disappointment to the statement from Radlinski. Interestingly, Wigan offered Sam a new deal – a four-year deal and one that would have kept him as a marquee player at Wigan but the lure of moving his family to the South of France proved to be the decisive factor for Tomkins and his family – and who can blame him.
There will ultimately be disappointment from fans and probably within the club that Sam Tomkins will leave Wigan for a second time, again at a time when he is starting to play his way back into international recognition. But, as Radlinski says “Nothing lasts forever – and as a club, we have to constantly evolve. Players will come and players will go. All we ever ask is that players give their all for the badge whilst they are at Wigan. Sam has done that”. The suggested announcement of Zak Hardaker is a decisive one for the club and one that will split opinion but to in effect replace one former Man of Steel with another (on a free transfer) is an opportunity that doesn’t come along too often and one that the club should be applauded for grasping the opportunity.
So, enjoy the last few months of Sam Tomkins in the Cherry and White knowing that this time, it is the end. He will go down as one of the best players I have personally seen play for Wigan but those memories are now tinged with some sadness, knowing that he has chosen to leave the club twice; the motto of Ancient and Loyal is proving to be somewhat ironic at this moment in time. But, best of luck to him and what a great opportunity for him and his young family and let’s ensure we go one better than the last time he left in 2013 when Wigan won the double.
Best of luck Sam, Merci et au revoir
Join us tomorrow at 7pm for a special Wigan Fan TV in which we reflect on Sam’s move and the impact. You can watch live at www.facebook.com/wiganrugbyfans