Logan blasts Under-20s rule change

Logan Tomkins
Logan Tomkins

LOGAN Tomkins has spoken of his frustrations after the change to the reserve competition left him kicking his heels for a month.

The hooker made his first appearance of the season last Sunday in the 48-18 win over London, having missed out in the previous three matches to Sam Powell for a bench spot.

While he was in the cold, Tomkins was unable to play because of a change to the second-string competition which has seen the introduction of an exclusive Under-19s this year.

The previous Under-20s league allowed each club to field three ‘open-age’ players.

At 20, Tomkins is too old for the replacement competition, and yet lacking the experience of some of the players he is competing with for a first-team jumper.

“I don’t see what the problem was with having open-age players,” Tomkins admitted.

“If anything it would raise the intensity of the games – the lads dropping down would have a point to prove, and the young lads would have as well.

“I played in the pre-season friendlies but, because of the changes to the reserves, I’ve not been able to play since. And they don’t want me to go on loan in case Micky (McIlorum) is injured, because it’s for a month minimum.”

Coach Shaun Wane admits the change has caused a problem.

“It’s really frustrating because I want to go an watch our reserves play, watch players like Scott Taylor play and see that he improves – but I’ve not go that luxury now,” said Wane.

“A lot of thought went into (the change) but the practicalities of it doesn’t work for me, because as a club I will drop people.

“I want to see them improve and I want competition and it restricts what I can do. I liked (the old system).” The frustrations of Tomkins and other fringe players will be eased from this week when the Championship One clubs – including South Wales Scorpions, with whom Wigan have a dual-registration link – kick-off their campaign.

“If I don’t play first-team, I’ll play for South Wales now,” added Tomkins.

“At least when their season starts it won’t be as frustrating, because I’ve not been able to play for four weeks. I’ve been training all week but I’ve not been able to play – and there’s no in-between.

“You can train all you want in the week, but it’s not a game.

“I find myself that if I don’t play week-to-week then my confidence drops a bit, and I was really nervous before the London game because I’d not played – I felt off the mark.”

That said, Tomkins admits he is enjoying the challenge of competing with close pal Powell for a spot in the Wigan 17.

“Sam and I both bring different qualities, it’s whatever Waney feels comfortable with,” he acknowledged.

“It’s competition, but I’m happy for him if he plays, and visa versa.

“With injuries, you never know what’s going to happen. Against London, Micky had to come on and play half-back, so you never know how it’ll pan out.”