Wembley on the brain

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SAM Tomkins admits it will be ‘difficult, very difficult’ for the Wigan players to put Wembley out of their minds for the fortnight leading up to the Challenge Cup final.

Warriors booked their place in the showpiece event by seeing off arch-rivals St Helens at the weekend, and only Leeds now stand between them and a first Challenge Cup victory in nine years.

That 2002 win at Murrayfield came while Wembley was being rebuilt, and it’s 16 long years since Wigan tasted victory under the old Twin Towers – when, ironically, the beaten finalists were none other than Leeds.

While he can’t wait to make his Challenge Cup final debut, Tomkins accepts Wigan have more pressing matters on their minds in the meantime – starting with Sunday’s visit of struggling Salford.

“It’ll be difficult, very difficult if I’m honest, to put Wembley out of our minds now,” he told the Evening Post.

“But the Grand Final is also a massive goal for us this year.

“And to win that we know we need to win our remaining league games, starting with Salford on Sunday.”

Tomkins already has a Grand Final winners’ ring at home after last year’s victory over St Helens, but he admits victory in the Challenge Cup would be extra special – not least because of Wigan’s illustrious history in the competition.

“Wembley was a big goal for us this year and it’s fantastic that we’re there,” Tomkins added.

“I know we went on to win the Grand Final last year, but we were disappointed to go out of the Challenge Cup to Leeds, and this year we’ve really stepped up.

“Saints threw everything at us from the off on Saturday, but we dealt with it pretty well and that gave us confidence going into the second half.

“I know they scored a couple of tries near the end, but any good team will score tries eventually and thankfully it was too late to matter.

“All of the players – from 1-17 – were outstanding. I don’t think any of us were even slightly off the mark.

“And we’re all determined to give Madge (Michael Maguire) a big headache for the final.”

Wigan’s remaining allocation of tickets for the Challenge Cup final went on general sale this morning.

Tickets are available to personal callers only at the DW Stadium, with supporters able to purchase tickets over the phone as well as from the ground from tomorrow.