April 8th, The world of fullbacks in the New Zealand Warriors changed from English to a Kiwi Samoan.
Agruably the best English talent in decades, Sam Tomkins has taken an early exit – leaving his National Rugby League expedition a season earlier than originally planned.
At the end of the season, he’ll go back to England, with his homesick parter – richer with skill and experience after testing himself amongst the best in the world here.
However the feeling of disappointment of fans and team mates is obvious, the feeling didn’t last as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, a 21 year old Daly M Winger of the Year winner in 2013 reportedly signing for $800,000 a season, staying for three years in Auckland.
Sam Tomkins has fitted in perfectly in the custodian role at the Warriors, banking on his elusive ways and his experience in the game. His confidence and knowledge has helped the Warriors so far, and once healed from his knee injury suffered in round three it will be exciting to see what he can turn on for the remainder of the year knowing he has to give it his all before he goes.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has had his first long distance shot in the fullback jersey, as the retirement of Roosters stalwart Anthony Minichello at the end of last season has paved the way for him this year.
He has won a premiership, he’s played in a World Cup, and recently has become on the 13th man in NRL history to run more than 300 metres with ball in hand. Not a feat to be scoffed at.
As Tomkins departs at the seasons’ end – the honour will be all the Warriors as he has helped develop the skills and talent of youngsters who’ve risen through the ranks. His partnership with Shaun Johnson has been on of the best in the Warriors history, and will be missed.
However when you realise RTS has some of the flashiest footwork since that Chromeo song Fancy Footwork, it won’t take fans long to forget Tomkins.
Seeing the future Kiwi’s fullback line up along side fellow countrymen Shaun Johnson, Thomas Leuluai, Manu Vatuvei, Ben Matulino and Simon Mannering – he will quickly fit in to a side that has plenty of flair.
How will the Warriors backline look in 2016? It could potentially look like this
Tuivasa-Sheck, Laumape, Hurrell, Kata, Vatuvei, Townsend and Johnson. That my friends, is a backline worth watching.
Tomkins has been a great player in the NRL, and as a fan of rugby league I am the first to say it is disappointing to see him ending his tenure a year early . We all know that the NRL is the game to play when you want to play agains the best – however I have been a fan of his for a long time, and I will continue to support him when he’s on the league field.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, your time is now. The future is on your shoulders for a club that has a proud history. Here’s hoping for Warriors and Kiwis fans that he holds the key to success.
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