Former Warriors flop Sam Tomkins admits his two-year stint in the NRL was a disappointment but has no regrets about his time in Auckland.
The Wigan and England fullback moved to Mt Smart Stadium before the 2014 campaign with a massive reputation and a world record transfer fee of $1.5 million.
After an encouraging start in the Auckland Nines his career failed to scale the heights he reached in Super League during a difficult two years for the club.
When his partner gave birth to their first child in December 2015 he decided to cut his losses and return home for the start of the 2016 Super League season. "I think my form with the Warriors probably mirrored that of the team as we missed the finals both seasons, so you have to say it was a disappointment" Tomkins told AAP.
"In my first year I did OK, I played every game and scored 13 tries, but we lost our last match of the season to Penrith where a win would have got us in the finals.
"The week before we'd beaten Gold Coast 42-0 and were very confident of making the finals but we just didn't play well and ended up finishing ninth."
Tomkins played only 13 matches in 2015 due a knee injury, scoring just once in a disastrous campaign that saw the Warriors lose their final eight matches and slump to a 13th-placed finish.
Kiwi fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was then signed from the Sydney Roosters putting Tomkins' place under threat and he jumped at the opportunity to return home.
"That second year was tough, I am not going to lie, I was sick of being injured and not being able to play and help the team," he said.
"My son was then born so it was the right time to come home, and be closer to family."
Despite his struggles, Tomkins is far from bitter about his experience in New Zealand.
"I loved my time there, the Warriors are a fantastic club," he said. "I made some friends for life and the chance to play with top-class players like Shaun Johnson every day in training was great.
"But coming back home to Wigan felt right. The club hadn't changed much from when I left and I've slotted straight back in."
Tomkins will miss Sunday's World Club Series showdown with Cronulla due to a longstanding foot injury that sidelined him for the Four Nations and Wigan's grand final success.
"I was gutted to miss the Four Nations, and the grand final" he said. "I'd have loved to have played this game against Cronulla in front of our fans but hopefully I'll be back out there soon."