Hull Kingston Rovers have today announced that second-rower Joel Tomkins has signed a new three-year deal with the Humberside club, tying him to the club until the end of 2021.
Having initially joined The Robins in June on an eighteen-month deal following his departure from Wigan due to an off-field incident, 31-year-old Tomkins has impressed in KR’s jersey and made nine appearances for the club. The former dual-code England international’s arrival came along with an upturn in The Robins’ form, losing in just two of his outings for Hull KR. Furthermore, his emergence as a key figure in the squad has impressed head coach Tim Sheens.
“Joel has become a leader within the group,” Sheens told the media following the announcement. “The idea is to really establish the team longer term and not go year by year in terms of changes to the squad. That is why we have tied down a number of our senior players to long-term deals, of which Joel is certainly one,” he added. Tomkins, who scored a try against KR for Wigan this season prior to his departure, shared his delight at extending his deal, admitting that he didn’t want to be anywhere else. “At the end of the season I had a chat with Neil [Hudgell] and Tim where they offered me a three-year deal and I jumped at the chance,” he remarked. “It really gives me an opportunity to really stick my teeth into it and I’m happy to be spending the next three years at Hull KR.”
The KCOM Craven Park club have explained that their approach to squad building has slightly changed now that the Super 8s have been discontinued. Their focus now is on recruiting quality rather than quantity and having a stable squad which will need minimal additions mid-season – the extension of Tomkins’ deal indicates that he is, indeed, set to form part of the nucleus of a strong KR squad for 2019 and beyond.