Sam Tomkins is well aware of the interest surrounding his Super League return – after a bizarre encounter with a policeman!
The full-back is set to face Hull FC this Friday night after recovering from a knee injury.
He says he has been “humbled” by the number of fans asking him about his fitness... though he was surprised by one of the enquiries!
Recalling the time he was being followed in his car by police, he said: “I pulled up on to my drive and he put his siren on.
“I thought, ‘I’m not speeding, I’ve done something else’. So I went over, asked what was up and he said, ‘I’m just wondering when you’re back playing?’
“This was in January when I was pretty angry with it all, so my response was short! I got in and my missus asked, ‘Was that a police car on the drive?’
“But it’s humbling that people are bothered. I think I get asked when I’m back five times a day minimum. An old lady stopped me in town when I was walking my baby, and she must have been 80.
“She ran over and said, ‘This must be Rex’. I’m thinking, ‘How do you know the name of my baby?’ But it’s nice.”
Tomkins left Wigan after the 2013 Grand Final but cut short his deal with New Zealand Warriors to return home at the end of last season.
He had hoped to play for England in the autumn series against New Zealand but was forced to withdraw with a knee injury which hampered his second season in the NRL.
He underwent an operation which saw him receive a prosthetic posterior cruciate ligament.
And while he is confident the knee will be stronger than ever, he admits it may take him time to get up to speed – not only with his own game, but also building combinations with new team-mates.
The former Man of Steel said: “I’m not kidding myself, thinking I’ll come back flying, sharp as anything. I’m not expecting too much of myself straight away.
“Although I’m back in the team there are a few players I’ve never played with.
“But I’m not daft enough to think I can slip under the radar. There will be massive expectation but that’s what you sign up for.
“It’s not something that bothered me before, the pressure off the field.”
Shaun Wane may also welcome back Liam Farrell, Joel Tomkins and Ben Flower from injury, while Tony Clubb is free to face Hull FC in the Sky-televised game after serving a one-match suspension.
Two legends will be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame this Friday night.