WIGAN coach Shaun Wane is starting to prepare for life after Sam Tomkins.
The 23-year-old England full-back is widely regarded as Super League’s hottest property and remains contracted to the Warriors for another four years.
But Tomkins is expected at some stage of his career to try his luck in Australia’s NRL, which has already lured his England teammates Sam Burgess and James Graham, and a switch of codes also can’t be ruled out.
Wane spoke for the first time at Wigan’s pre-season media day at Orrell of the likelihood of losing the club’s marquee player when he revealed he was leaving Tomkins out of all the trial matches in order to consider other full-back options.
“I need to look at other people,” Wane said. “Sam is not going to be with us all of his career so I need to look at other full-backs as well and other options that we have.”
Wigan lost reserve full-back Matthew Russell to the Australian game in the winter.
But Wane has given youngsters Jack Murphy and Dominic Manfredi the chance to impress in the pre-season games against Leigh, Hull KR and Salford City Reds and confirmed Tomkins will not play against Warrington Wolves in the Ben Westwood testimonial match next Saturday.
Tomkins, who last year became England’s record tryscorer, signed a 12-month contract extension in November 2011, on the day older brother Joel signed for Saracens.
As part of the deal, which was thought to make him Super League’s biggest earner on around £300,000 a year, Tomkins agreed not to talk to rugby union or NRL clubs for the following three years.
“We’ve got him for this year and hopefully the year after,” added Wane.