JOEL TOMKINS says he is ready to make the most of his chance with Hull KR after the “embarrassing” way his Wigan Warriors career came to a close.
The former dual-code England second-row has signed a deal until the end of 2019 after leaving his hometown club by “mutual consent.”
Tomkins had been suspended by Wigan four four weeks after video footage emerged of his drunken verbal abuse of a barmaid.
However, the two parties have since decided to split and struggling Rovers - in desperate need of new recruits - have secured his services.
Hull KR say their coach Tim Sheens has been reassured by multiple sources that Tomkins’ antics were out of character and the East Yorkshire club’s board supports his decision to sign the 31-year-old.
“I’m sure everybody is aware of what’s gone on at Wigan and I accepted the punishment from them,” explained the player, who could debut at Castleford Tigers on Sunday.
“After sitting down with my family and thinking a bit harder about it, I decided that 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. After a 10-minute conversation with him, my mind was made up.”
Tomkins, who played more than 250 games for Wigan either side of a stint with Saracens, added: “I’m really grateful to Tim and everybody else involved at Hull KR for giving me the opportunity to move on from this.
“It has been embarrassing for me, there’s no doubt about that, and it’s a sad situation for me to leave Wigan in this way.
“But it’s also an opportunity for me to move to a club that’s on the rise and that has some big plans moving forward.
“I’m genuinely excited to be a part of that.”
Tomkins joined his new team-mates for training this morning and and admitted: “It is a completely different challenge to what I’ve had in recent times in my career but I’m ready for that and I think it’s really going to invigorate me as a player and a person.
“From my experiences of playing at Hull KR for Wigan in the past, I know they’ve got passionate fans who create a good atmosphere and I’m looking forward to being part of that on the home team.
“I’m fit and healthy at the moment but I’m coming in with an open mind. I’m not expecting to just walk into the side, I’m going to have to really work hard and force my way into the team. I need to earn the respect of the players and the fans.”
Sheens 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.
“Joel adds a lot of big game experience to the squad which will be vital in some of the key matches which lie ahead.
“He’s played at the highest level in both codes and won silverware in the Challenge Cup, Super League and World Club Challenge, so there’s a lot of knowledge there that he can add to the side and at 31 he’s still got a lot of rugby ahead of him.
“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.”