Sam hoping for O’Loughlin return

The Super League trophy on the Old Trafford pitch
The Super League trophy on the Old Trafford pitch
Share this article

WORLD record signing Sam Tomkins doesn’t regard himself as the best player in the world. Truth is, he doesn’t even think he’s the best player at Wigan.

And while he was happy to carry out the captain’s duties at the Grand Final media conference yesterday, he’s keeping his fingers crossed he won’t be leading the side out on Saturday.

Tomkins attended Old Trafford as regular skipper Sean O’Loughlin was having a protective boot removed and his Achilles scanned to see if he will be fit to face Warrington in the Super League decider.

“I’d love Lockers to be playing,” said Tomkins, who has led Wigan in O’Loughlin’s absence.

“He’s our best player and you always want your best players to be playing in a final.

“Lockers is our best player, you ask anyone in the team they’d say that, he’d certainly get my vote.

“I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t make it. It would mean that I’d lead the team out but I’d much rather have Lockers playing.

“We’ll probably give him until the final hour because he is the player that he is.”

Coach Shaun Wane was hoping to discover today whether he is fit to play, once Wigan’s medical staff has assessed his scans.

Dom Crosby would be the most likely player to make way if O’Loughlin gets the green light, allowing Ben Flower to return to prop from the loose forward role he has covered so well in recent weeks.

Jack Hughes is also expected to miss out, with Chris Tuson set to return from a hamstring injury which denied him a DW Stadium send-off last Friday. Tuson is leaving at the end of the season, though he is unlikely to be heading to Wakefield after their financial problems.

Wane wants to finalise his team today.

“If we can get Lockers on the field, then we will,” said the coach.

Counterpart Tony Smith, whose only injury doubt is second rower Trent Waterhouse, knows the value of O’Loughlin, having picked him out earlier in the year as a worthy Man of Steel, and he believes both teams will be at full strength.

“I think it will be the same for both those two boys,” Smith said.

“They are both experienced and they will do whatever they can to get on the park.

“We’re expecting Sean to play and I’m sure they’re expecting Waterhouse to be there as well.” Wigan are seeking to become only the third club to complete the double in the 18 years of summer rugby and the first since St Helens followed up Wembley glory with victory at Old Trafford in 2006.

“It would be a great achievement for us but we know we’re up against a fantastic team,” Wane said.