How Good Is... Sam Tomkins
Sam Tomkins had a whole bunch of pressure heaped on him when he joined the Warriors at the beginning of the year.
The English star bumped incumbent Kiwis fullback Kevin Locke out of the fullback role at the New Zealand club, and with a big pay packet there were great expectations Tomkins would make an immediate impact.
Some critics argued the 25-year-old didn't live up to the hype in his debut NRL season, having failed to match his incredible record for Super League outfit Wigan Warriors where he scored almost a try a game (144 tries in 151 matches).
But in truth, Tomkins proved to be a terrific acquisition for the Warriors.
The fullback played in every game for the club and continued his strong form in the Four Nations, where a memorable duel with teammate and Kiwi halfback Shaun Johnson ensued.
Speaking of Johnson, the halfback's improving combination with Tomkins is a promising sign for the Warriors in 2015 and with the English fullback gearing up for his second tilt at the NRL, the men across the ditch could very well pull off something special.
What made 2014 so special?
The numbers don't lie. Tomkins finished in the top 15 players across the competition in terms of tries (13; 14th in the NRL), try assists (13; equal 14th), line-break assists (18; equal eighth) and tackle breaks (108; fourth).
The custodian does the hard yards with ball in hand as well, producing an average of 116.4 metres per game across every fixture he played this year.
How can he be better in 2015?
One area in which Tomkins was caught out a couple of times was his defence behind the line.
He leaked 36 missed tackles at a rate of 1.5 per game – a stat that could easily be improved with another season of NRL experience under his belt.
Tomkins will have to be wary of his error rate too. His 31 errors last season saw him scrape in to the top 10 across the competition for all the wrong reasons.
If Tomkins can manage a tighter handle on the ball, and continue building his combination with Johnson, then who knows how great the 28-time English Test star could be.
Which new signing will have the greatest influence on him?
You would think the arrival of former Wigan Warrior teammate Ryan Hoffman will have the greatest influence on Tomkins.
Having won a Challenge Cup together in 2011, Hoffman and Tomkins – as well as former Wigan and current Warriors teammate Thomas Leuluai – will surely be keen to strike up a few sneaky plays when the time comes.
Hoffman's experience from his time at a successful Melbourne Storm club is sure to help the Warriors' club culture, which will in turn aid Tomkins's comfort levels away from his native England.