Joel hopes milestone is a happy one

Joel Tomkins
Joel Tomkins

This weekend will be extra special for Joel Tomkins – as he prepares for his 200th game for Wigan.

He will reach the double-ton milestone in Saturday’s quarter-final tie with Castleford.

I’ll not go into the game thinking about it, it is just a number at the end of the day

Joel Tomkins

The 29-year-old duel-international admits the time has flown since he broke through into the first-team back in 2005.

Tomkins said: “When someone told me this was my 200th, I was thinking back to my debut – it seems to have gone quickly.

“ I was at St John Rigby College when Denis (Betts) phoned me up saying Andy Farrell wasn’t playing, and he was going to give me a debut.

“It was a massive day for me and – 198 games later – here we are.”

Tomkins has also played eight games for Widnes and eight for England, as well as the appearances he notched up for Saracens and the national side during two-and-a-half years in rugby union.

“I’ll not go into the game thinking about it, it is just a number at the end of the day, but it’s something I’m proud of – it adds something extra for me,” he added.

Tomkins has won all three domestic trophies with Wigan, including the 2011 Challenge Cup Final when he scored one of the greatest tries seen at Wembley.

But it is another match which stands out as his favourite.

“The 2010 Grand Final was the highlight for me,” he said. We’d had some tough years leading up to it, it was as if the club lost its way over those few years.

“Obviously Madge (Michael Maguire) came in, there were changes upstairs, and it turned around - the season was special and that Grand Final was the pinnacle.

“The whole club changed the philosophy, and since then we’ve been flying.”

Tomkins his milestone match sees Wigan move a step closer to the Challenge Cup Final.

Victory on Saturday evening, in front of the BBC cameras, will take them to within 80 minutes of a return to the national stadium.

Wigan last reached Wembley in 2013, during their double-winning campaign when Tomkins was still in the union ranks.

Since then, they have been knocked out of the competition by eventual-finalists Castleford and Hull KR.

“We’re not making any excuses, we’ve really under-performed in this competition in the last two years, we’ve had some disappointing results,” he said.

“We’re going to do everything we can, we are targeting these games, and this is a priority for us.

“Wane has been on it this week, we really want to make a push for the Challenge Cup this year.”