HULL KR coach Tim Sheens says new signing Joel Tomkins now has a chance to “redeem” himself following his embarrassing exit from Wigan Warriors.
The former dual-code England international has agreed a deal until the end of 2019 after leaving his hometown club by “mutual consent” – barely a week after being stood down when video footage emerged of his drunken verbal abuse of a barmaid.
Wigan suspended second-row Tomkins for four weeks and fined him £10,000 but the player says his resignation was then accepted and struggling Rovers – in desperate need of new recruits – have secured his services.
Last night, Warriors then confirmed the signing of ex-St Helens back-row Joe Greenwood – a long-term target – from Gold Coast Titans on a three-and-a-half year deal with immediate effect.
Sheens has been reassured that Tomkins’ antics were out of character and the East Yorkshire club’s board supports his decision to sign the 31-year-old.
He said: “We’ve been actively looking to strengthen the side for the back end of the season, whether that be securing a top-eight finish or retaining our place in Super League via the Qualifiers. We’re fully aware of what’s gone on over the past week or so, but I’ve spoken to a lot of people who know Joel well and they all agree that the incident was out of character for him.
“He’ll get an opportunity to redeem himself with us and we’ll be working closely with him to ensure he takes it with his actions on and off the field.”
Tomkins could debut at Castleford Tigers on Sunday and, after training yesterday, explained: “I’m sure everybody is aware of what’s gone on at Wigan and I accepted the punishment from them. After sitting down with my family and thinking a bit harder about it, I decided the best thing for all parties would be for me to leave the club and I offered my resignation to Kris Radlinski, which he accepted.
“I instructed my agent to look into a deal elsewhere and there were a few other Super League clubs that were interested as well as Rovers. But Tim called me personally and really sold the club to me, both for the back end of this year and next season.”
Tomkins added: “I’m really grateful to Tim and everybody else involved at Hull KR for giving me the opportunity to move on from this.
He’ll get an opportunity to redeem himself with us and we’ll be working closely with him to ensure he takes it with his actions on and off the field.Tim Sheens on Joel Tomkins
“It has been embarrassing for me, there’s no doubt about that.”