The Warriors admit they wouldn’t have pulled off their Roger Tuivasa-Sheck signing coup if Sam Tomkins wasn’t such a “home bird”.
England fullback Tomkins was on Wednesday granted an early release to return to England at the end of the NRL season after he pleaded homesickness.
The move comes after the Warriors secured perhaps their greatest signing, landing 21-year-old Sydney Roosters star Tuivasa-Sheck on a three-year deal from next season.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said Auckland-raised Tuivasa-Sheck had been a player the Warriors had been looking at for further down the track.
“To be fair, if Sam did stay, we probably wouldn’t be talking about Roger,” said McFadden.
“We talked about Roger in terms of the future potentially and where things would move, but Sam was our fullback.
“He’s decided to leave us and that makes Roger a very valuable person to us.”
Tomkins moved from Super League giants Wigan to the Warriors as a big-money signing at the beginning of last season on a contact till the end of 2016.
He said it wasn’t an easy decision to depart a year early.
He had approached coach Andrew McFadden about a month ago after he had been “feeling a little bit homesick”.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here so far and I’m sure I’ll enjoy it for the next six months,” he said.
“It’s a brilliant club and it’s a great place to live but I’m probably a little bit more of a home bird than I thought, in missing people.”
Tomkins, 26, has been sidelined with a knee injury and is expected to be out for another four weeks.
“I just want to get back on the field now and finish the year on a massive high.”
He said it hadn’t been confirmed yet where he would be playing his football next year.
Samoa-born Tuivasa-Sheck, who went to school in Auckland, has made 62 appearances for the Roosters since his NRL debut in mid-2012. He had also played six Tests for the Kiwis.
McFadden said Tomkins and Tuivasa-Sheck had slightly different styles.
“But I think certainly Roger would fit into our style of football,” he said.
“He’s a dynamic player. He’s still only learning the position and he’s going to get better, so we think we’ve got a good one there.”
According to reports, the Warriors offered Tuivasa-Sheck a contract of more than $800,000 a year – double the $400,000-odd the Roosters’ put on the table.