Joel faced with easy question

DOES anyone have a number for Joel Tomkins’ agent?

Because I’d quite like them to conduct my next round of pay talks.

Wigan’s long-striding centre, a player who improved immensely under the coaching of Michael Maguire over the last two seasons, has been offered an eye-watering £400k a season to go and play rugby union for Saracens.

When he is on a reputed £80k a year at Wigan, that is, I would suggest, what is commonly described as a ‘no brainer’.

Tomkins’ problem is that he only signed a new five year deal with the Warriors earlier this year.

But given the amount of cash on offer ‘down south’, he should still be able to buy himself out of that deal, put a little bit more aside to buy himself some gloves for those long, cold winter afternoons stood waiting for the ball to come to him, and have enough change to live a life of luxury.

The question I would ask is this: If Joel is worth such a staggering amount of money - probably pushing double what Super League’s very biggest earners take home - just how much is his considerably more talented younger brother Sam worth to a cashed-up 15-a-side club?

I suspect we might find out in the next few months.

TESTIMONIALS are rare things in sport.

And in semi-professional rugby league, where players tend to hop from club to club during the course of their careers, they are even rarer.

Which is why Halifax centre James Haley - the first player from the club to complete 10 years with the club since full back Steve Smith back in 1990/1 - deserves a decent turnout for his benefit game against Burleigh Bears tomorrow night.

Haley is one of the most modest and understated players I have worked with over the decade-and-a-bit I have been doing this job.

He is also one of the most talented and underrated, a young man who - in different circumstances - would have had the opportunity to play for his hometown club at the top level.

The 26 year old is also held in high esteem by his teammates, evidenced by the number of them - both past and present - who are going to extend their season by one game as a favour to him tomorrow evening.

Hopefully, the people of Halifax will follow their example and support someone who is, when it comes down it, a fan just like them.

THERE was a predictable aura of positivity emanating from Rugby Football League big wig Ralph Rimmer at Tuesday’s media briefing in Brighouse, when the governing body outlined its plans for the Championship.

Four new teams from outside the game’s heartland to be fast-tracked into Championship One in time for 2013.

And confirmation of the long-awaited TV deal with pay-per-view channel Premier Sports: a broadcasting freebie, the last resort to maintain a small screen presence for the sport outside Super League after Sky abandoned the game’s second and third tiers.

Rimmer asked us not to be cynical about the plans. But given that we have all lived through so many expansion experiments, it is difficult not to be at least a little sceptical.