Sam Tomkins has revealed his frustrations at missing out on the Grand Final – and his hopes for 2017.
The full-back’s season was cut short by a broken foot which ruled him out of the charge to Old Trafford.
Having missed the start of the campaign following a knee operation, his comeback season with Wigan was bookended by spells on the sidelines with serious injuries.
But as he targets a return to action in April next year, he is philosophical about his misfortune.
The 27-year-old said: “I’ve been really lucky with injuries during my career and then I’ve done my knee and broke my foot – two major injuries – in a year, so it’s bad timing.
“But I’ve seen players who have injury after injury after injury, and I’ve been lucky - from 2008 until my knee operation – so while I was gutted to be out, I could see the bigger picture.
“Obviously I was gutted to miss the Grand Final, but I was buzzing for all the lads who were there for the first time.
“I’ve been lucky, I’ve won two Grand Finals and two Challenge Cups, so to see young kids who had never won a Grand Final get a ring – my excitement was for them.”
Tomkins made a try-scoring return to Wigan against Hull FC in May, having spent the previous two seasons with New Zealand Warriors.
He was content with his form as a patched-up Warriors side retained a top-four place throughout the summer.
“It was a bit of a stuttering start, coming back from injury, but I felt I was going alright and as a team we were getting into some rhythm towards the end,” he said.
His last game was the 35-28 win at Warrington in mid-September – one of the most memorable games of the season.
“After the game I had a swelled foot, I had an X-ray, nothing came up,” he explained. “Basically, it’s a fracture underneath, and I aggravated it out and thought, ‘This must be something serious’, so then I had a CT scan.
“It’s quite common that it’s missed at first, people go to hospital with them and they don’t see a break, and they are only caught later on.
“Right now I’m doing a lot of rehab, a lot of weights.
“I can’t run yet but the moon-boot is now off and that’s a luxury, being able to wash my leg! Touch wood, the injury has healed and I’d say April (for a return).”
In his absence, Frenchman Morgan Escare is set to start in the full-back berth after arriving from Catalans on a one-year deal.
Escare can also play wing and even dummy-half, and Tomkins – who started his career at stand-off – is looking forward to playing alongside the livewire star.
“Morgan is a great player, he is ridiculously fast, and he can score tries from anywhere so he can score tries,” he said.