Mason Tonks has revealed how England star Sam Tomkins supported him and Jordan Baldwinson during their time at the New Zealand Warriors.
The 19-year-old starlets joined the Auckland-based outfit at the end of last season but cut short their stay and returned home after just eight months.
They will spend the rest of this season at Bradford and return to Leeds on three-year deals from 2015.
Both players believe they benefited from their time in New Zealand and say former Wigan full back Tomkins provided a helping hand.
Tonks said: “We did a promo with Sam and he’s a real character. He looked after me and Jordan and always asked how we were doing. He deserves to do well.”
After a mixed start to his career with the Warriors, Tomkins has adjusted to the increased intensity of the NRL. He has become an increasingly influential figure with a number of tries and assists.
Tonks said: “Sam was the top dog in Super League and went to New Zealand with big pressure on him. It was a risk but now he’s starting to perform and everyone in England is backing him.
“He’s so well respected in Super League and there is a lot of emphasis on the Burgess brothers in the NRL. Sam’s probably the first back to try and do well out there, so it’s paying off. He’s changed the Warriors’ team and is well respected.”