Sarginson's back: How other returning players have done

Dan Sarginson has become the sixth front-line player to return to Wigan under Shaun Wane's watch.

Thursday, 14th December 2017, 9:01 am
Updated Thursday, 14th December 2017, 10:05 am
Dan Sarginson has played for England

Here’s a look at how the other ‘returnees’ have fared...

Lee Mossop

The Cumbrian prop bowed out of Wigan with a Grand Final victory in 2013 – his 111th appearance for the club – before linking-up with new club Parramatta.

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Lee Mossop in action in the 2015 Grand Final

The Eels had paid a “significant six-figure fee” for him, but serious injuries to both shoulders limited him to just three NRL appearances.

Mossop returned to Wigan after being granted a release from Parramatta, but after a fifth shoulder reconstruction he struggled to regain the form which made him an England international.

In 2016 he slipped down the pecking order for props, and despite being under contract for this year, he was allowed to leave to join Salford Red Devils in a bid to kickstart his career.

Joel Tomkins

Thomas Leuluai will take a coaching role when he hangs up his boots

The only senior player to return from rugby union – rather than the NRL (fringe player Liam Forsyth also returned from a spell at Bath).

By his own admission, he is no longer the same player; for a start, he departed in 2011 as a backrower-turned-centre – with memories of his scorching long-range effort at Wembley fresh in the memory.

Since returning in 2014, he has been a backrower-turned-prop.

He did enough in his comeback season to regain a place in the England side, and in 2015 he started 33 matches, but since then he has not really got into a rhythm – largely because of injuries.

Lee Mossop in action in the 2015 Grand Final

Tomkins played just 10 games last year and 22 matches this year, but did enough to earn a new contract with the club which included an off-field role once he hangs up his boots.

In a PR coup, his new deal was announced by boxing legend Evander Holyfield on social media!

Thomas Leuluai

A Kiwi international as an 18-year-old, Leuluai spent six years at Wigan – he was man of the match in the 2010 Grand Final – before returning to his first club, New Zealand Warriors.

Thomas Leuluai will take a coaching role when he hangs up his boots

He rejoined Wigan earlier this year on a deal which will see him move onto the coaching staff when his playing career end.

Leuluai started the season well, helping Wigan win the World Club Challenge, but didn’t really sparkle on his return from a broken jaw.

In fairness, he possibly wasn’t expected to play the full season at halfback, but injuries to Morgan Escare – before Sam Tomkins’ return – and Jake Shorrocks saw him play 31 games in the No.7 role.

He represented New Zealand in the World Cup, mainly at hooker – a position many believe better capitalises on his defensive attributes, and one he may play more at Wigan next season.

Joe Burgess

Given Sam Tomkins’ injury woes, the player nicknamed ‘Budgie’ has arguably had the most successful second stint at Wigan.

He returned this year after one season in the NRL, where he struggled to secure a place at Sydney Roosters before moving onto Souths and enjoying more success.

The academy-product, who had debuted in 2013, started this year in scorching form, scoring six tries in his first three matches including a hat-trick in the World Club Challenge.

But injuries began to pick apart Wigan’s lethal left-edge, and Burgess even had a spell covering centre, before he was restored to his preferred left-wing role and he finished the season with a solid 26 tries in as many appearances.

He was part of England’s elite training squad, and though he wasn’t in the World Cup party, he remains a popular player among many supporters.

Sam Tomkins

He left his hometown club as the poster-boy of Super League in 2013, before cutting short his contract with the New Zealand Warriors to return home after two years in the NRL.

Wigan took advantage of the new marquee allowance, in which a portion of a player’s wages doesn’t count on the salary cap, to lure him back.

His comeback campaign was bookended by a knee injury and then a broken foot, the latter delaying his return to action this year until the summer.

His form since returning was very good, and many were surprised he was left out of the England squad for the World Cup.

While the full-back has not scaled the heights of past form, there is a great deal of optimism in what he may achieve next year now that he is free from injury, and with his first full pre-season in nearly a decade under his belt.

Tomkins may be asked to play a different role in 2018, with Shaun Wane hinting either him or fit-again Frenchman Morgan Escare will have a role in the halves.