Joel Tomkins ended a miserable eight-month absence with a try-scoring return to action - and then trained his thoughts on making history this weekend.
The dual-code international scored one of Wigan’s five tries during a dominant first half at Salford, as Wigan sharpened their attacking knives ahead of the World Club Challenge.
It’s the one which has eluded us, and I genuinely think we can do it. To be named the best team in the world would be something elseJoel Tomkins
Ian Watson’s side pegged back three tries in the second-half but the champions held on for a deserved 26-16 opening day win.
It was Tomkins’ first game back since being sidelined by operations on both knees.
“I enjoyed it,” he said. “It’s been seven or eight months but I really enjoyed playing in the middle, it was brilliant to be back out there again.”
Tomkins revealed he is set to form a tag-team with Sean O’Loughlin, certainly in the early stages of the season - replacing the loose-forward when he is rested.
And the 29-year-old believes gravitating towards the middle, rather than the second-row, is a “natural progression”.
“Before I had the ops I played a little bit in the middle, but that was forced on me because of the injuries to my knees,” he said.
“But now I’m fine, and we think it’s probably the best position, rotating with Lockers.”
The stakes are raised this Sunday when Wigan welcome NRL champions Cronulla to the DW Stadium, aiming to claim the club’s fourth World crown - and their first since 1994.
“We’ll definitely review the Salford game but we’ll draw a line under it, our focus is firmly on Cronulla,” said Tomkins.
“It’s the one which has eluded us, and I genuinely think we can do it. To be named the best team in the world would be something else.
“I’s hard to imagine doing it, because I can’t remember the last one.
“When we got to the Grand Final in 2010 I could draw on memories of ‘98, but I’ve never seen Wigan do it - and that’s the same for most of the lads - so it would be very special.”
Wigan have sold more than 18,000 tickets.