MICHAEL Maguire reckons Joel Tomkins’ sterling form has justified the decision to switch him to centre.
And the coach believes he could make his mark in the Four Nations tournament in the three-quarters – just a year after representing England as a second-rower.
While Sam Tomkins has grabbed many of the headlines this season, the performances of his older brother have not gone unnoticed at Wigan.
And the player who produced the defining moment of the Challenge Cup Final triumph for a stunning long-range try has been hailed by Maguire ahead of tomorrow’s sudden-death showdown against St Helens.
Maguire said: “I’ve definitely been happy with the way Joel has gone.
“I sat down with him a while ago and talked to him about it, because it’s a big change from back row to centre.
“But in the last two months he’s shown that he’s becoming a great centre for us.
“Josh Charnley does a great job at finishing but to have Joel out there with his size, strength and athleticism, it’s very handy for us – he’s come on a hell of a lot.
“And outside the club, with internationals, I’m sure with the way he’s playing there’ll be opportunities with that.”
Tomkins retired from last Sunday’s 44-0 victory against Catalan at half-time due to a leg injury, but Maguire is confident he will be back to face St Helens tomorrow.
The 24-year-old only switched to right centre when Martin Gleeson left the club earlier this year, having played in the forwards throughout his junior days and early professional career.
Yet while the move was prompted by necessity he could now see out his career in the backs, according to the man who instigated his career-change.
“It’s up to the new coach,” he said. “But I see him staying there for quite some time.”
Tomkins has been named in Wigan’s 19-man squad for tomorrow’s crunch clash with St Helens.
Warriors make one change to the original 19 named for the Catalans game with Eamon O’Carroll coming in for Darrell Goulding, although O’Carroll did come into the squad on Sunday to replace Lee Mossop, who is also in the 19 as he tries to overcome a hamstring strain.
SQUAD: S Tomkins, Carmont, Richards, Deacon, Leuluai, McIlorum, Coley, Hansen, J Tomkins, O’Loughlin, Prescott, Lima, Hoffman, Finch, O’Carroll,