TALKING SPORT - Surely Sam is set for legendary status

IT seems like only yesterday, but it’s nearly four years since I sat in the press room at the (then) JJB Stadium, listening to Brian Noble assessing the 106-8 victory over Whitehaven.

As the scoreline would suggest, it was as one-sided an encounter as you could ever wish to see.

But even against part-time opposition, you could tell that the 19-year-old Wigan half-back who’d scored five tries on his debut was something special.

“Let’s not put him in the ‘Universe’ team just yet,” said Noble, clearly trying to avoid heaping too much expectation on such young shoulders.

He needn’t have bothered.

Because the next time the ‘Universe’ team convenes, the name of Tomkins will surely be one of the first on the team sheet.

We’ve been spoilt at Wigan down the years – in my relatively short lifetime I’ve seen the likes of Hanley, Edwards, Gregory, Farrell, Robinson and Barrett, who will all rightfully go down as cherry-and-white legends.

Tomkins, unquestionably, will join them.

It’s scary to think that, a few weeks short of his 22nd birthday, we might only just have scratched the surface in terms of his ability.

Getting him to pen a new long-term deal was arguably Ian Lenagan’s finest moment in charge.

IT’S really hotting up in the Premier League, where the next 12 games will decide whether Wigan Athletic’s place at the top table of English football will be preserved.

I normally try and avoid cliches like the plague, but it really is shaping up to be the tightest relegation fight on record – and last year’s went to the final minutes of the last day of the season! At one point on Saturday, Latics were attacking Aston Villa knowing a single goal could move them up to 16th in the table.

As it happened, the goalless draw meant they stayed rock bottom.

I can’t help feeling, for the second home game in a row, it was two points dropped.

The defence again looked rock-solid, but for whatever reason it’s just not happening in front of goal.

Hopefully that will change – and there is no better time for that to happen than this weekend against Swansea.

SAM Tomkins wasn’t the only Wigan record-breaker at the weekend, with Emmerson Boyce making his 146th Premier League appearance to relieve Paul Scharner of his club record.

And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke.

Boycey’s consistency on the field is matched only by his consistency off it.

On my first day in this job, I was told by a colleague that, whatever the result, ‘Boycey, Kirky, Polly and Titus will always speak to you’.

Which I’m pleased to say has never been disproved so far.