Double injury blow
Sam Tomkins won't play again this year.
Warriors today confirmed he will miss Friday’s semi-final against Hull FC and, if they win, the following week’s Grand Final.
And captain Sean O’Loughlin is also “highly likely” to miss out.
Tomkins needs investigative surgery early this week on a foot injury which Shaun Wane says was suffered in his last game, a 35-28 win at Warrington.
Captain O’Loughlin also missed last Friday’s 48-24 win against Catalans after withdrawing late with a calf injury. He was due to make his comeback from a hamstring problem.
A Wigan statement says the problem is “highly likely to prevent him from playing” for the club againt this season.
Tomkins didn’t play for England last autumn because of a knee injury, which ultimately delayed his return to the Wigan side after two years in the NRL.
O’Loughlin led the nation to a Test series triumph against New Zealand last year and, in February, new coach Wayne Bennett said he would retain the loose forward as national captain.
If he is ruled out of the Four Nations, Bennett must now find a new skipper.
Wigan are already without injured Dom Manfredi, Micky McIlorum, Joel Tomkins, Tony Clubb and Lee Mossop. Prop Ben Flower is banned for Friday’s semi-final at the DW.
Chairman Ian Lenagan said: “This season has thrown up bigger challenges with injuries than ever before, yet I’m proud to say we are still fighting fiercely and successfully as shown by the 12-man victory over Warrington last week and in Friday’s performance against Catalans to qualify for a home semi-final.
“Currently, Wigan has only 20 players available from a first-team squad of 35 but there is a tremendous spirit and confidence amongst this Wigan group that thrives in adversity.”
Despite the absentees, Wigan are slight favourites to win the Grand Final with many bookmakers.
As Tomkins has yet to undergo surgery, there is no timeframe on a likely recovery – and no indication whether it may eat into next year.
Dan Sarginson is currently filling the role but is leaving for Gold Coast Titans at the end of this campaign.
Utility Lewis Tierney can play in the No.1 spot, but he is currently operating on the wing as cover for Dom Manfredi – who is only expected back late next season.
Shaun Wane may decide to recruit reinforcements, even on a short-term basis, though he does have another option – recalling Ryan Hampshire to the side.
Hampshire spent the season on loan at Castleford and, while he prefers to play at half-back, he has been operating on the wing recently and played full-back for Wane before.