Having played his 104th and final game for Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford last night, Sam Tomkins officially retired and is now looking forward to being able to spend some more quality time with his family after an immensely challenging period.
No secret has been made of the veteran’s injury issues with his knee throughout the year, and ahead of their Grand Final showdown with Tomkins’ boyhood club Wigan Warriors, Dragons boss Steve McNamara revealed just how close his full-back had come to calling time early.
Tomkins played through the pain barrier every single week, and may not have got his dream ending with former employers Wigan winning 10-2 at the Theatre of Dreams, but bows out as an undisputed legend of the game.
The 34-year-old – who made the move from Wigan to Perpignan ahead of the 2019 campaign – will remain in the South of France with wife Charlotte and their four children, and just wants to be known as ‘the best dad ever’.
Legend Sam Tomkins focused on ‘being the best dad ever’ having officially hung his boots up
Detailing his next steps post-match at Old Trafford, Tomkins told Love Rugby League: “I’ll go home and spend some time with my family.
“Sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish as an athlete, and this year I’ve been more selfish than I would’ve liked to have been.
“I’ve had to say ‘no’ to my kids and my wife too many times this year because I’ve struggled. I’ve struggled a lot physically getting ready for games, and it’s not just been at training, it’s been when I’m at home, it’s been 24 hours a day.
“I’m glad that’s over, and I can go and be a bit of a better dad. I’ve not been able to be present at as many things as I’ve wanted to be this year, but I’ve got an amazing wife who’s pushed me to be that way.
“She’s put my career first this year, but that’s over, my career’s done now. The next three months looks like me being the best dad ever.”
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The Milton-Keynes born ace has embedded himself into not only the club’s culture, but the country’s too, since making the move over the channel.
Having also tried his hand in the NRL, Tomkins may well retire with only a League Leaders’ Shield to show in the cabinet at the Stade Gilbert Brutus for his efforts as a player during his time there, but what he’s achieved in the bigger picture has been much grander.
Under boss Steve McNamara and alongside some up and coming French talent, he’s been at the very forefront of an evolution, spearheading a side which has reached two of the last three Grand Finals, just the ninth club to have got to Old Trafford in the Super League era.
Nothing has been confirmed yet, but the expectation is that the ex-England skipper will take up an off-field role at the club, and he seems confident of the same, expressing just how close to his heart the Dragons have now become.
Tomkins continued: “I love this club, it’s given me the best five years of my life with my family growing in a beautiful part of the world. I’ve been playing rugby and getting paid, it’s been a dream.
“I love the club and everything that they’ve given to me, I’ve given 100% and I hope that they know that. The next role for me at the club, whatever it will be, I’ll be giving that 100% as well.”