Joel’s mission is possible

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JOEL Tomkins is ready to burst into life after a pre-season schedule which has done him “the world of good.”

That was the confident message from Shaun Wane after watching the second-rower make his mark in training.

Tomkins only figured in seven matches for Wigan last season following his return from a stint in rugby union.

He did enough to play for England in the Four Nations, though his form never scaled the heights of previous years.

Wane has watched the 27-year-old pull off some ‘near-impossible’ plays in training – convincing him he is primed for a huge 2015.

He said: “Rugby league fitness is different to rugby union.

“It’s more intense, you’re on the ball a lot more – and this chance to get some good training has done the world of good.

“Joel was outstanding at our training camp in Florida. He’s an unbelievable athlete, he’s 106 or 107kg but his sprint times are outstanding, and in America some of the things he did were pretty much impossible to do.

“I can’t tell you how much skill was involved in some of the things he did.

“Now the challenge for him is to produce that form on the field, not just at training, and he’s certainly capable of it.”

Having starred an a centre in the 15-a-side code, Tomkins slotted back into his old second-row spot when he returned to Wigan. And Wane had no hesitations in drafting him straight back into his leadership team, which supports captain Sean O’Loughlin.

Matty Smith, Micky McIlorum and Liam Farrell are also in the group.

“Joel’a always been in my leadership team,” said Wane.

“It was a no-brainer – he’s a leader. He knows the standards here and he helps drive the culture.

“He’s not afraid to speak out and he leads with the way he trains.”