Joel Tomkins: Pressure will bring out the best in us

Joel Tomkins
Joel Tomkins

JOEL Tomkins admits they are feeling the heat ahead of tonight’s blockbuster against Brisbane.

And he is backing the Warriors to sparkle – and help pave the way for a bright future for the World Club Series.

All eyes of the rugby league world turn to the DW Stadium this evening when the two heavyweights collide in front of the Sky Sports cameras and an expected crowd of

20,000.

This year is the first time the World Club Challenge has been preluded by two other games between Super League and NRL opposition.

Wigan need to win tonight to keep alive the hope Super League can win the ‘series’ following Warrington’s 18-12 loss to St George Illawarra last night.

And Tomkins – who has seen the success of inter-competition games in rugby union – said: “Wigan have played in two World Club games in recent years and come up short in both, so we owe it to the fans to get a result.

“For the sport to grow, this World Club Series is a massive competition and the bigger it gets, the better it is for rugby league all over the world.

“If we get to a point where every club can play, amazing, but this is a big step forward and a platform to see how good we are compared to

them.

“That creates added pressure to get a result – but usually we come through these pressure game.”

England Test forward Tomkins has faced several of the Brisbane players before on international duty, and also spoken to younger brother Sam – who plays in the NRL for New Zealand Warriors – about their opponents.

“Most of the lads watch the NRL, we see them more than they see us, so we know how good they are,” said Tomkins.

At 27, Tomkins is just old enough to remember Wigan’s famous victory against Brisbane in 1994 – a game which will be marked tonight by the presence of legends including Shaun Edwards, Martin Offiah and Gary Connolly.

“That was one of my earliest memories of rugby league, and people still talk about that game,” he added. “If we can go close to emulating that it would be amazing!”