THE country’s most high profile rugby league player has pledged his support to the city’s own fledgling club.
England and Barbarians international Sam Tomkins was born in Milton Keynes but moved to the north west as a child before becoming the hottest property in the sport with Wigan Warriors.
Given his obvious links to the city, the 22-year-old has agreed to get on board with the MK Wolves – the city’s new rugby league club – as an honorary president.
The Wolves will join the Eastern League from April – the fourth tier of the English rugby league pyramid – and will take on clubs from across the region.
They will soon play the likes of Bedford Tigers, St Ives Roosters and Bury Titans, and club chairman Andrew Quirke thinks the sport could really take off in the city.
“Rugby League is a rapidly growing sport in this region, with Northampton and Hemel Hempstead having recently been admitted to the semi-professional Championship One League,” he said.
“It’s only right that one of the fastest growing sports in the country is played in one of its fastest growing towns.”
The Wolves will be based at the brand new £2M state-of-the-art Emerson Valley Sports Pavilion, sharing facilities with Milton Keynes Rugby Union Club. And it was the demand from those rugby union players that led to the formation of the new league club.
“We had many existing union players eager to play rugby league during the summer months, and had no formal way of doing so in Milton Keynes,” said Quirke.
“Forming the club was the right thing to do and already we’ve got more than 30 players who have declared an interest, but we would always welcome more.”
The club approached Wigan in the hope of getting Tomkins on board with the club and he jumped at the chance to try and help grow the sport in his home town.
“I’m a huge supporter of grassroots rugby,” said Tomkins. “And when I heard there was a league club starting up in MK, given my links to the town, I was only too happy to lend them my support.
“Provided that my commitments with Wigan allow me to, I’d love to get down to take in a match or training session. I’ll be following their results closely, and I wish the team every success.”