Tomkins aims to end Headingley hoodoo

Joel Tomkins in action last week
Joel Tomkins in action last week

Joel Tomkins admits Wigan’s recent record at Headingley is “scary” – as they aim to end their hoodoo tonight.

Although many Warriors players say how much they enjoy playing at Leeds’ ground, they haven’t won a game there since 2012.

Informed he is one of only a few Wigan players to win at Headingley, Tomkins replied: “Really? That is scary. Leeds always play well against us. Even when they were struggling last year it was still a massive game.

“When we’ve gone there and we’ve been on a high, and they’ve been on a low, you’d think it was 1 v 2 in the table.

“I like playing at Headingley, their fans are good, we take some good support, it’s an old-fashioned stadium and there’s a great energy about playing there.”

The Cherry and Whites do have a solid record against the Yorkshire heavyweights, particularly in their Magic Weekend meetings – but not at Headingley.

“They are good at home, and I think we’ve built Magic up, we treat it like a final and put a bit more emphasis on it,” said the 30-year-old.

As Wigan were surging toward’s the play-offs last season, Leeds were scrapping for their survival, having slipped into the Qualifiers phase of the Super-8s after a nightmare campaign.

When they lost 66-10 at Castleford earlier this season, some predicted they faced another troubling campaign.

Chief executive Gary Hetherington appeared to suggest coach Brian McDermott had four games to transform their fortunes in an email to supporters.

Since then, McDermott has done just that, with the 28-12 win at Huddersfield Giants a week ago their third successive victory.

“I didn’t see what Gary wrote, but it wouldn’t have made Brian work harder, he’ll have just got on with his job,” said Shaun Wane.

“They are a very well run club, with a really good roster, they’re in good form, and (their current form will) be nothing to do with what Gary said.

“They have too many quality individuals, and you’re seeing their quality, they’re playing as they should be playing.”

Wane welcomes back Oliver Gildart, Liam Farrell and Ryan Sutton to the side beaten 22-20 by Hull FC last Friday, Wigan’s first loss of the year.

And the coach says Leeds present a different proposition to many other Super League teams they have faced.

“It’s not so much the plays, it’s the one on one D which is important, because it’s wave after wave of quality athletes coming at you,” said Wane.

“They’re hard to beat, especially at Headingley.”

Recent history has proved that.

Informed about their run of results, Wane said: “You’re joking? Well, that’s floored me.

“I like Leeds, it’s a good atmosphere, good ground, and we’ll go into it really confident. But we need to be very good.

“They’re a lot better at home, the crowd get behind them and they’re tough to beat, but they are beatable.

“We’ve looked at how they defend and we see things where we can do thing, and we have to do it when we’re under the pump.”