No looking back for Tomkins

Joel Tomkins
Joel Tomkins

JOEL Tomkins insists Warriors won’t look back for motivation next season.

The second rower or centre, who returned to rugby league in 2014 after a stint in rugby union, hasn’t won a trophy since coming back.

For us now, it feels like it’s about this team starting something rather than carrying on the legacy

Joel Tomkins

And with Warriors winning silverware every season from 2010 to 2013, hunger pangs are setting in as Shaun Wane’s squad look to end a two-year wait for more glory.

Warriors have lost the last two Grand Finals, including last October’s 22-20 defeat to Leeds Rhinos, but Tomkins says Wigan are looking to start a new chapter.

“I’m sure we will address it (the Grand Final loss), but we’re trying to focus on this as a new year,” he said.

“For us now, it feels like it’s about this team starting something rather than carrying on the legacy.”

Tomkins left to join Saracens at the end of 2011, and since then many young stars have risen through the ranks at Wigan.

Illustrating how young Warriors’ squad is, Tomkins, at 28, is the second oldest in the side behind 33-year-old captain Sean O’Loughlin.

“That’s scary if I am. I’m up there – at 28 I’m a bit disappointed with that,” joked Tomkins.

“But if you look at the senior group, Micky (McIlorum) is a year below, Faz (Liam Farrell)... quite a lot of players are around their mid-20s. I imagine our average age of the squad is below most clubs.”

But being behind other clubs in terms of age won’t be a disadvantage according to Tomkins.

Coupled with the hunger to win silverware next term, Wigan’s squad is bolstered by a crop of academy graduates.

Joe Bretherton, Jack Higginson, Nick Gregson, Gabriel Fell, Luke Waterworth and Jake Shorrocks have all been handed first team squad numbers, while teenager Oliver Gildart will be looking to kick-on from an impressive stint at the end of last season.

And Tomkins thinks their inclusion makes for an exciting year ahead. “The last time we won was 2013, so it’s been a couple of years without a trophy. Now it’s a fresh start and a lot of lads have come through,” he explained.

Another new face at the club is Joel’s younger brother Sam, who has returned from two seasons playing for New Zealand Warriors.

Sam is only expected to be fully fit around Easter, but Joel admits his brother has had no problems adjusting back to life at the club.

“It’s like he’s never been away, he’s slotted straight in,” he said.