Joel looking forward to facing brother Logan

Warriors travel to Salford tonight with extra information on their opponents thanks to family ties.

Friday, 3rd June 2016, 10:00 am
Wigan Warriors' Joel Tomkins is tackled First Utility Super League match at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle, Castleford. Picture by Dave Howarth for BERNARD PLATT. Picture date: Thursday May 26, 2016

For the first time in a competitive game, all three Tomkins brothers, Joel, Sam and Logan will be on the field - with the older two of the trio squaring up to little brother Logan.

And the connection means Joel has seen more of Wigan’s opponents than would normally be the case.

“I’ve taken more of an interest in them with Logan being there, and they’re a good side, especially in attack,” said Joel.

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“They have some nice structures, they put on some good plays and they have good halves in Dobson and Lui.

“With Logan at nine – his distribution either way is second to none – so they get wide on the plays and throw a lot at you.”

Logan spent four years at Wigan, turning out 47 times before a loan spell with Salfrod turned permanent at the end of the 2014 campaign.

And with Joel spending 2012 and ‘13 in rugby union, and Sam plying his trade in the NRL for 2014 and ‘15, Logan didn’t get the chance to run out alongside both his brothers at the same time.

The 23-year-old has never played against Sam, but faced Joel last season - and will be at the coalface opposite his eldest brother tonight.

“It should be interesting,” admitted Joel.

“I’ll be in the middle, he will be, too.

“It’s a bit weird, actually, because you don’t really want to run at each other but it’s part of the game!

“But I’m quite looking forward to it.”

Tonight’s match holds extra interest for Wigan fans following off-field events last Friday which the club are investigating.

The 33-26 win over Castleford the night before was a gritty showing to supporters how Warriors are able to dilute opponents’ tactics of playing on the edge to unsettle their game.

But the question they will have to answer on the pitch tonight is whether events away from the job have disrupted a solid team spirit.

The job looks straightforward when using the Super League table for reference - Wigan are aiming to keep pressure on the league leaders while Salford are looking for a way into the top eight.

But a six-point deduction to the Red Devils makes that source misleading.

Salford have won four of their last six games and haven’t lost at home since a 26-12 reverse against Catalans in March - hardly bottom four form.

Joel, along with Sam, played an important role in last week’s win over the Tigers, and the pair will be desperate to make sure Warriors keep their run on the road going, which includes the 40-8 win over Leeds at Magic Weekend.

But he admits members of the Tomkins family in the stands will be torn when it comes to which team to shout for.

“I enjoyed it against Castleford and this should be another good game, hopefully we get the win,” he said.

“(But for my family watching) a draw would be perfect.”

Joel is managing a knee injury which is likely to need surgery at the end of the season.

He played at loose forward last Thursday and is set for an extended spell in the middle, and will play a similar role tonight.

“With the injury I’ve got, lateral movements are quite difficult and defending in the middle, where it’s tight, is easier to handle,” he said - though he asserted concentrating on his own job, and Logan’s style of play, means there won’t be much room for banter between the brothers.

“Not from Logan, he’s really quiet,” he added. “He’ll keep himself to himself.”

All three of the brothers are now dads, but they still find time to meet up regularly.

“We’re really close,” said Joel. “Especially, now we’ve got kids, we want them to be close – we’ll get together for a coffee at least once a week.

“We try and not talk about rugby too much because our partners complain if we do!”