Warriors suffer fresh injury blow

Joel Tomkins in action against Salford last weekend
Joel Tomkins in action against Salford last weekend
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SHAUN Wane’s Wigan have been struck with an injury blow on the eve of the new season.

Second-rower Joel Tomkins will miss next Friday’s game against Catalans Dragons.

He suffered a knee injury in training, ruling him out of the Sky-televised opener at the DW Stadium.

His brother Sam is also sidelined with a knee problem.

But unlike the returning full-back – who is out until April – the elder sibling won’t be absent for as long.

Wane said: “We’ll know a more detailed time-frame over the next few days but it’s not a serious injury.

“He’ll miss Friday’s game, but the good thing is Joel has had all the benefits of a full pre-season and I’m sure he’ll come back fit and strong.”

Tomkins played against Salford last Sunday in a 32-16 friendly defeat.

The 28-year-old is a high-calibre player, but Wane is blessed with talent in the back-row.

Fellow England internationals Liam Farrell and John Bateman are expected to start against Catalans, with new recruit Willie Isa operating as a replacement back-rower from the bench.

Greg Burke, who has recovered from a back problem, can also play in the second-row – Conor Farrell, who would have been in the frame, has joined Widnes for 2016 on loan.

Wane said: “We’ve got a lot of cover, particularly in that position, so we’re in a good place.”