Warriors suffer fresh injury blow

Joel Tomkins in action against Salford last weekend
Joel Tomkins in action against Salford last weekend

SHAUN Wane’s Wigan have been struck with an injury blow on the eve of the new season.

Second-rower Joel Tomkins will miss next Friday’s game against Catalans Dragons.

He suffered a knee injury in training, ruling him out of the Sky-televised opener at the DW Stadium.

His brother Sam is also sidelined with a knee problem.

But unlike the returning full-back – who is out until April – the elder sibling won’t be absent for as long.

Wane said: “We’ll know a more detailed time-frame over the next few days but it’s not a serious injury.

“He’ll miss Friday’s game, but the good thing is Joel has had all the benefits of a full pre-season and I’m sure he’ll come back fit and strong.”

Tomkins played against Salford last Sunday in a 32-16 friendly defeat.

The 28-year-old is a high-calibre player, but Wane is blessed with talent in the back-row.

Fellow England internationals Liam Farrell and John Bateman are expected to start against Catalans, with new recruit Willie Isa operating as a replacement back-rower from the bench.

Greg Burke, who has recovered from a back problem, can also play in the second-row – Conor Farrell, who would have been in the frame, has joined Widnes for 2016 on loan.

Wane said: “We’ve got a lot of cover, particularly in that position, so we’re in a good place.”