YOUNG guns Sam Tomkins and Josh Charnley will stage a shoot-out later today to decide who will be handed the goal-kicking duties against Warrington.
Before his one-match suspension last weekend, Tomkins was Wigan’s third-choice marksman behind the injured duo Pat Richards and Paul Deacon.
But Charnley took over the mantle against Huddersfield last Friday night and – in a close contest and in front of the Sky Sports cameras – handled the role with assurance, striking four goals from five attempts. Full-back Tomkins is back in the side for tomorrow’s blockbuster against early pace-setters Warrington but will have to press his claims for the goal-kicking duties in training late this afternoon.
Coach Michael Maguire said: “We’re going to have another kick-off. Josh did a good job against Huddersfield but Sam’s a fair kicker, too.
“We’ll have a competition, the boys will sort that part of it out – they have a good laugh when they’re doing it but, for me, it’s all about who is the best kicker.”
Sean O’Loughlin has two goals on his professional CV but joked: “We had a few lads knocking them over in training last week but I didn’t put my hand up.”
And fellow back-rower Ryan Hoffman grinned: “It’s definitely not for me. I’ve attempted two goals in my professional career and missed them both – I’m quite happy to put that cue back on the rack.”
Whether Tomkins gets the goal-kicking role or not, there is no doubt that his return to the team provides the team with a huge boost.
He was in great form until being banned for fighting against Hull FC and, coupled with the fact Amos Roberts appeared nervous in the full-back role at the Giants, he will be the obvious choice to reclaim his No.1 spot.
“When you have an international like Sam coming back, he’s going to boost the team,” said Hoffman. “He was disappointed last week and I know he’s keen to play in this game.”
The Warriors – unbeaten in Super League this season – have the meanest defence in the competition but face a Warrington side who racked up 82 points in their last match, against Harlequins, and haven’t lost since the opening day.
“It’s a big game and the players love playing in them,” added Maguire.
“Warrington showed at the weekend that when they turn it on they can score some points, and we’ll need to be on top of our game.”
l Finch named in 19-man squad – page 27
l 18th Man – page 31