TALKING SPORT - Tomkins’ Steel award is thoroughly deserved

SAM Tomkins doesn’t have a name befitting a Hollywood stuntman, but that was the only thing Rangi Chase had on him last year.

How the New Zealand-born, Sydney-schooled England international won the 2011 Man of Steel is still a mystery.

But Tomkins’ win last night certainly redressed the balance. It was thoroughly deserved.

TOMKINS’ award lifted a bit of the gloom from Friday’s defeat.

After such a successful season, missing out on the Grand Final was hard to take.

Especially when Leeds were contained to one breakaway try in 80 minutes. There’s something very wrong about seeing tough, hard men shed a tear, but there were plenty doing that in the Wigan dressing room last Friday night.

Not just for the opportunity missed but for the players who are leaving.

Stuart Fielden, Brett Finch and Jeff Lima have been terrific servants and – in Thomas Leuluai and George Carmont – they have two who will go down in the club’s folklore.

WIGAN’S adopted son Bradley Wiggins was on top form at the Man of Steel dinner last night.

Funny and down-to-earth, the Tour de France champion – whose wife is from Shevington – described rugby league as “the toughest sport in the world... and I don’t say that to blow smoke up people’s backsides.”

Commenting on his profile since the summer, the Warriors fan – tongue-firmly-in-cheek – said: “For 10 years we sat in the South Stand and no-one batted an eyelid. Now I can’t go in there, I have to go in the directors’ box instead and eat the prawn sandwiches. But that’s great because you get a better view.”

LATICS against Everton down the years has usually been a tight contest.

But the home side desperately need to pick up three points and get their season back up and running.

Three defeats on the trot have cancelled out much of the early-season optimism, although the team is not playing anywhere near as badly as the results have suggested.

Heard that before?

Of course it’s too early to panic, no need for over-reactions.

We’re only six games into the campaign after all.

But while Latics have managed to get themselves out of trouble after Christmas in past seasons, they won’t want to be relying on that again this term.

And with another international break coming up after Saturday’s game, it’s imperative Latics stop the rot and come up with a positive result to build on.

OUR sister paper, the Wigan Evening Post, has this week launched the Joseph’s Goal campaign.

It has been set up by my sports colleague Paul Kendrick to fund research into a rare genetic condition which his son is suffering from.

There are so many good causes to support, and this is definitely one of them.

If you missed the emotional story, view it on our website, and please give what you can.