Sam Tomkins hopes to be relieved of the Wigan captaincy for his last game for the club – Saturday’s Super League Grand Final against Warrington at Old Trafford.
Tomkins who departs for the New Zealand Warriors next season, has been deputising with the armband for the regular Wigan captain, Sean O’Loughlin. Even though Tomkins admits it would be a thrill to lift the trophy on his farewell appearance, he would give that up to have O’Loughlin on the field.
“I’d love him to play,” said Tomkins. “He’s Wigan’s best player; any of the lads would tell you that. So, while it would be quite something to captain Wigan in a Grand Final in my last match, I’d much rather have him on the field.”
Loose-forward O’Loughlin has missed the play-off series with an Achilles injury. He had another scan last night, and his coach, Shaun Wane, has described his chances of playing on Saturday as 50-50. Tomkins expects him to be granted as much time as possible to prove his fitness. “I think he’ll be given until the day of the final, because of him being the player he is,” he said. O’Loughlin is Wigan’s only injury doubt for what Tomkins called “the Grand Final everyone wanted.”
Warrington have a question mark over the former Australia Test forward Trent Waterhouse. He was left out of the last game against Huddersfield as a precaution with a knee injury and Simon Grix, who filled his usual position in the second-row, was outstanding.
“Simon Grix won’t be getting dropped, that’s something for certain,” said the Wolves coach, Tony Smith. “I would have to find somewhere else to play him.”
Tomkins has been pleasantly surprised by the response in the week since he confirmed he is leaving for the NRL. “The reaction has been a lot more positive than I thought, to be honest,” he said. “Even from fans of other clubs. Apparently, some of them don’t like me very much, but now I’m going to the NRL they have been wishing me all the best.”
Tomkins revealed that one of the first people he consulted when he got an offer from New Zealand was the Warrington captain, Adrian Morley, who had six successful seasons in the NRL with the Sydney Roosters.
“He gave me some good advice, from someone who had done so well over there,” he said. Morley, who is joining Salford, is playing his last game for Warrington, along with Garreth Carvell, Mike Cooper and Brett Hodgson on Saturday.
Tomkins has missed out on the leading individual award of the year, runner-up to Huddersfield’s Danny Brough as Man of Steel. Jamie Peacock of Leeds was the other runner-up. Ben Crooks of Hull was voted Young Player of the Year, while Huddersfield’s Paul Anderson took the coaching award.