WIGAN duo Sam Tomkins and Sean O’Loughlin would have no problems making the grade in the Australian NRL – according to one of the biggest British success stories Down Under.
Adrian Morley – who had a hugely-successful spell at Sydney Roosters before returning to England four years ago – was asked to pick which five Super League stars would make the biggest impact if they moved to Australia. And the Warrington skipper had no hesitation in selecting the Warriors pair among the quintet who he thinks could set the Australian competition alight.
Of Tomkins, who scored a mesmerising try in Sunday’s home defeat to Huddersfield, Morley said: “Sam has all the attributes to make it in the NRL.
“He proved he can handle it at the international level when he starred in the Four Nations last year, and playing in the NRL environment would only improve him.
“Last year he went up against Darren Lockyer, one of the greatest five-eighths ever, and he wasn‘t over-awed at all.
“He’s still young and he’s learning the game, and I think he’ll get better and better.
“Given the opportunity, I think he could be a sensation over in the NRL.
“Michael Maguire has moved him to full-back in recent weeks for Wigan, and he’s as deadly as he is at No.6. He really is an exciting talent.”
O’Loughlin also gets heavy-duty praise, with Morley even backing him to win the most coveted individual honour in the domestic game this year.
“I’m not surprised that the bookies have made Sean one of the favourites for the Man of Steel, because he’s had a fantastic season,” Morley added in Rugby League Week.
“He’s a great loose forward, who has had some bad luck in the last couple of years on the international front.
“He had to miss the World Cup in 2008 and then the four Nations last year through injury, and the national side really missed him.
“When he’s fit, there’s no doubting he’s one of the best in the business.
“He doesn’t look as strong as he is - if you looked at him, you’d pick him out and run at him before some of the other forwards.
“But he’ll put you down. He puts in some great hits, and he’s got all the skills to go with it.”
Morley also picked out St Helens pair Kyle Eastmond and James Graham, along with Jamie Peacock of Leeds.