Tomkins: We need to dictate the terms

Joel Tomkins is tackled by brother Logan last Friday
Joel Tomkins is tackled by brother Logan last Friday

Joel Tomkins has stressed the need to “dictate” Sunday’s game against Swinton to avoid a huge Challenge Cup upset.

Championship part-timers Swinton produced a giant-killing effort at the last round to knock Super League outfit Huddersfield out of the competition.

And Tomkins said: “This will be their cup final.

“Wigan coming to your home ground, they will be massively pumped for it. We need to go with enthusiasm, start well and give it to them and impose our game plan.

“We need to play it at a Super League-pace and not let them dictate the game to us, we need to dictate it to them.”

Swinton, who beat Toulouse 27-20 last weekend, have ex-Warriors first-team players Jack Murphy, Rhodri Lloyd and Luke Waterworth in their ranks, as well as a clutch of former Wigan juniors.

Victory on Sunday would land Warriors a quarter-final spot which, if at home, is likely to be played at Leigh Sports Village as pitch maintenance at the DW Stadium is carried out.

“The Challenge Cup is massive for us,” said Tomkins, who famously scored a long-range Wembley try in the 2011 final.

“The Grand Final is the pinnacle of the season for me. If you could choose one it would be that one, but just the romance of the cup makes it a special competition.”

Wigan will be heavily fancied to sweep through to the next stage even though Shaun Wane is managing an injury-crisis.

He may need to field an emergency halfback combination of forwards Sean O’Loughlin and Nick Gregson – arguably six injured players would have got the nod ahead of them for those key roles.

And teenager Josh Woods, who made a Super League debut in Friday’s 31-16 loss to Salford, is ineligible as he played in the last round of the cup – on dual-registration for Swinton.

On the positive side, hooker Micky McIlorum is available again after serving a one-game ban. And yesterday, scans confirmed no major damage to Sam Powell’s ankle injury, though the joint is still swollen and he remains a doubt for this weekend.

Tomkins admits they are “doing it tough” at present, a point emphasised by the fact he had a spell at halfback on Friday. “I counted up before the game, our backs’ squads numbers added up to something like 184,” he said.

“It’s unbelievable. I’ve played 12 years and never thought I’d be a half or a hooker, but that’s the position we’re in.”