Saints' focus will be on a '˜real' trophy rather than finishing top, says Wigan Warriors ace Tomkins
And he reckons players at pace-setters St Helens will have their eyes on a “real” trophy at the end of the year – rather than trying to clinch top-spot.
Tomkins has twice won the league leaders’ shield, and also has two Grand Final and two Challenge Cup Final victories on his CV.
Asked whether he was bothered that Saints were on course to beat the second-placed Warriors to the No.1 spot, he replied: “No, if I’m honest.
“There are two real trophies to win.
“(Finishing top) proves you’re the most consistent team but with the set-up we have, it doesn’t matter.
“If you get top-four, you’ve got the same chance.
“A big deal isn’t made of (being league leaders), whether there should be, I don’t know.
“But I think as players you don’t lose any sleep about not getting the league leaders.
“It’s always a goal but if you don’t get it, you know the other two are bigger.”
St Helens, eight points clear, will clinch the league leaders’ shield if they beat Wigan on Friday.
If that is the case, it is unclear whether the silverware will be presented to them after the match or at a later fixture.
But whenever they clinch the No.1 spot, he expects Saints’ celebrations to be far more muted than when Castleford won the prize last year, and partied with a rendition of Queen’s We Are The Champions.
“They’re going to win it anyway, barring a miracle,” said Tomkins.
“I’m sure their eyes are on the Grand Final - I don’t think they’ll have the same celebrations that Castleford had last year.
“They’re strong favourites to win the Grand Final and I’m sure that’s their focus.”
Asked whether he imaged St Helens players would say the same, he replied: “I’m sure they would. Whether they can or not.... I’m sure they’ll say it’s a huge honour.
“But I can’t name the league leaders winners for the last five years. I can name the Grand Final winners and Challenge Cup winners.”
Shaun Wane will today name his 19-man squad, and yesterday hinted he may play Oliver Gildart on the wing – ahead of fit-again Dom Manfredi – in place of injured Liam Marshall.
If that is the case, he said, Manfredi would likely make his long-awaited comeback in the following Thursday’s home game against Wakefield.
Sean O’Loughlin is set to play. Chris Kendall will be referee.
Tomkins big interview: this Friday