Joel Tomkins’ retirement on Thursday night took quite a lot of people by surprise.
Having agreed to take a contract up at the Leigh Centurions for the 2022 Championship season, he has reneged on that deal to retire.
Tomkins played what proved to be his last game in the Betfred Super League Grand Final as Catalans Dragons lost narrowly to St Helens at Old Trafford. His two years in the south of France saw him complete 250 Super League games since making his Wigan debut as an 18-year-old in 2005.
In a stellar playing career, he represented England in the Four Nations tournaments of 2010 and 2014 and he also spent two years with Hull Kingston Rovers prior to his move to France. He also earned rugby union international honours for England during a three-year spell with Saracens between 2011 and 2014.
Joel Tomkins said: “Professional Rugby has been a priority in my life for the last 17 years and now, at 34, it feels right to retire. It has been a great way to earn a living and I have some great memories and have made some great friends at the few different clubs I have represented over the years.
“I’ve also had some low points and experienced both good and bad sides of being a professional sportsman in the public eye. I’ve learned from my mistakes over the years and I’m happy with the person I am today, closing this chapter of my life and moving on to the next.
“I’m proud of what I have achieved and happy to retire on my own terms. I now look forward to exploring other opportunities and being the best person I can be.
“I’d like to thank Leigh Centurions for their understanding of my situation and wish them every success for the future. I wanted to do the right thing by the club, and they respect that. I’d like to also thank all the clubs I’ve played for during my career and all the people, especially my family, who have supported me along the way.”