Hull KR have confirmed the signing of Joel Tomkins from Wigan on an 18-month contract with immediate effect.
The 31-year-old was recently suspended by the Warriors for four weeks after a video went viral of him abusing bar staff at a pub in Wigan.
Tomkins handed in his resignation to Warriors executive director Kris Radlinski and has now penned a deal with Rovers until the end of the 2019 season.
On his move, Tomkins said: “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 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.
“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.”
Rovers head coach Tim Sheens is glad to have Tomkins at the club.
He said: “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.
“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, and 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.”
Radlinski has thanked Tomkins for all of his effort at the club since making his debut in 2005.
He said: “Everybody is aware of the incident that took place a few weeks ago.
“Since Joel’s suspension, conversations have taken place surrounding his long-term future at the club. Joel made a very remorseful statement and the discussions that have taken place since echo that.
“The images on that video will haunt Joel for a long time but we can’t let that moment of madness detract from what a fantastic career he has had at the club. I want people to remember his amazing Challenge Cup Final try in 2011 in the same way we still remember Martin Offiah’s 1994 try against Leeds.
“Everyone has commented on the video but the hardest thing for me is that the video is not a true reflection of the man I know. After the video had emerged, he sent me a message apologising for the position that he put me in and said that whatever I decided, our friendship would remain intact.
“Joel is a good guy and somebody I care about. This has been a really difficult situation for all people concerned. Now it is time to move on. We thank Joel and wish him well with his future endeavours.”
Tomkins is in contention to make his Rovers debut against Castleford Tigers on Sunday, 3:30pm kick-off.