Wigan Warriors: The 18th Man

Warrington were too good for Wigan in the Challenge Cup quarter-final
Warrington were too good for Wigan in the Challenge Cup quarter-final

Was Wigan’s punishment of the Tomkins brothers fair – and did the club handle it well?

Sean Lawless:

The punishment is fair, and the handling was fast and proportionate.

I know a lot of people will point to the issue happening a few weeks ago and being brought to the club’s attention but it is the video that is the damaging evidence that has seemingly come to the club’s attention recently.

As soon as the club were aware of that, they respondent and kudos to them – compare that with Hull FC’s response or lack of response to Albert Kelly and I think the club have done well.

David Bailey: After reading Joel Tomkins’ interview, along with Sam releasing the second video, I think the club handled the situation as well as they could.

At first there were many questions about whether Wigan had covered up the story with rumours of the girl being paid and the club being notified when it happened.

However, Joel’s side of the story appears to back up the fact that the likes of Lenagan and Radlinski only knew of the incident when the fans did upon release of the video.

The club have banned and fined Joel as the main instigator, and fined Sam.

An apology has been made in public so I think that this needs to be left well alone now.

Wigan have to balance the fine line of supporting players who make mistakes but also letting people know that this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated, especially with Mr Hardaker joining up with the squad soon.

Robert Kenyon:

No I don’t think it was fair and the club didn’t handle it well.

Despite poor behaviour and bad manners from Joel I think they’ve both been hard done by, especially Sam, who I can’t for the life of me see what he’s done wrong.

The Tomkins brothers have had trial by social media with the ‘false outrage brigade’ and keyboard warriors out to take pot shots at the lads because of their surnames and who they play for.

The club have bowed to mob rule which is a shame.

This incident happened a few weeks ago and the cynic in me says it’s been held back and released at the right moment for maximum exposure. I think the victims were due an apology in person (which is rumoured to have happened) and that would have been the end of it.

It’s all a storm in a tea cup if you ask me.

Joel and only Joel has shown that when drunk and told what to do can become belligerent and rude.

A member of the bar staff mentioned that his career would be ruined while filming it, did they carry on filming to ruin his career then?

If so, is being drunk and obnoxious grounds for sacking? I don’t think so.

In my opinion Joel has misbehaved, no worse than any drunk does when they’ve had too many and the bar staff has seen an opportunity to bring a sports star down a peg and filmed them.

The reaction has been far over the top, must be a slow news week.

With all the emphasis on state of mind of players well beings we need to spare a thought for Joel, who will be feeling very guilty and anxious about all this.

All in all I’m not defending Joel’s behaviour, he was a prize prat, but the reaction and punishment does not warrant the crime.

Ben Reid:

I thought the statement was really well done and the whole situation was handled with great professionalism and in the right manner. However, it’s not helped things at all, I feel like it’s real toxic at the minute.

Another season, and another off-field incident that has made the headlines all over the place.

We had the Bateman/Mossop issue, and now this one, it needs to be addressed.

The lads are entitled to down time and a drink.

But they also need to remember who and what they are.

It was really poor from Joel, and I feel it’s a hard comeback for him now.

Darren Wrudd:

As I understand it, Shaun Wane allows players to have a drink during the season.

But expects them to be responsible regarding their intake and insists they are impeccable in their behaviour.

I think that the punishment is a fair reflection of the standards and how they were overstepped, where Joel will go from here largely depends I would suspect on Joel himself.

The club seem to have handled it very well indeed.

Public condemnation and swift actions show the commitment to high standards that we expect from the management.

Other than the result, what disappointed you most about the defeat at Warrington?

Sean Lawless:

The biggest frustration of Saturday was the manner of the defeat – we lacked heart and desire.

We were physically and mentally beaten, the Challenge Cup pursuit ended with a whimper, so much for winning it for Wane, Tomkins etc. Something wasn’t right, and it needs addressing urgently by the club and I am sure they will do that.

More heart, more passion required.

David Bailey:

The easy answer to that question would be the performance.

Having defeated Warrington so convincingly just a few weeks ago at Magic Weekend it was incredible to see the difference and was like you were watching a totally different team.

There was no threat in attack (typified by Liam Farrell being the kicker on the last play on more than one occasion) and the defence was shambolic.

You can’t win trophies in June but you can certainly lose them, and the defeat to Warrington means that’s one trophy gone already.

Robert Kenyon:

The complete lack of energy and will, other than off John Bateman.

I know Warrington tired us out with a great offload game first half but we should have matched them, we seem too scared to give offloads.

That was the long and short of it.

I don’t think that everything that’s happened lately off the field helps either.

In recent times the swift departure of Micky McIllorum and Anthony Gelling, Sam Tomkins and Ryan Sutton leaving with maybe John Bateman not far behind, Shaun Wane leaving and of course ‘rectum-gate’.

There are a lot of destructions going on and we seem a bit rudderless.

Ben Reid:

The manner of the defeat.

Apart from John Bateman and Morgan Escare, to me, not one player seemed bothered.

We looked way off the pace, and lacked desire, effort and that bit of bite.

It was a huge quarter-final of one of the two big trophies you can win, and we looked like we where in pre-season. Warrington wanted it more across the board and we looked knackered.

It’s the first time I’ve ever left a game early.

I left with around 12 minutes to go, I couldn’t stand anymore.

I thought, if they can’t be bothered, then why should I?

Fans need a big response tonight.

Darren Wrudd:

Warrington’s victory was well earned and much deserved.

They ran harder, looked more energised and eager when on and off the ball.

In comparison, the lack of early possession left us looking very tired and lethargic.

We never really recovered from that and that is the most disappointing part of it all.

At half time, it was still all to play for but we came out and instantly looked off the pace.

We need to have much better direction around the field and George Williams really has to step up and start controlling plays rather than running along the line looking for a gap.

Too much ad hoc play and structure is totally lost and we have seen the result of that.

We looked beaten after 20 minutes and never stepped up as a team after that.

What are you expecting from tonight’s game at Wakefield?

Sean Lawless:

What a horrible game to have after the week Wigan have had – a short turnaround at a place that hasn’t been too kind in the past to Wigan, against a team fresh from having a week off. This is a huge game for Wigan and for Shaun Wane.

A defeat tonight and the question marks around his announcement loom even larger.

A win and its back on track with the pursuit of the League Leaders’ Shield – oh rugby league, you are a fickle sport!

David Bailey:

What I am expecting and what I would like are two totally different opinions at the moment.

Since the high of beating Warrington at Magic Weekend, the Warriors have announced that both Ryan Sutton and Shaun Wane will be joining Sam Tomkins in leaving the club this year.

There are still the persistent rumours that John Bateman will be joining them through the door and there must be question marks over the likes of Joel Tomkins, Tommy Leuluai and Sean O’Loughlin in terms of playing on.

I am hoping for a reaction and a performance at a place that is notoriously tricky for the Warriors.

If one isn’t forthcoming soon, the season could nosedive very quickly.

Robert Kenyon:

I expect another weak performance and it will take Shaun Wane to step aside and the new coach to come in for the players to wake up start playing their best again.

The coach has announced he is leaving at the season’s end and since he did, we have played shocking.

It happens all the time in world sport – if a coach announces he’s leaving he may as well go there and then.

If he announced a few games before the end of the season then fair enough, see the season out.

But I think it’s caused a massive distraction and, if things don’t improve against Wakefield, I think we need to appoint someone sooner rather than later otherwise the whole season will go down he drain.

It’s a shame because I like Waney and what he has done for the club.

But if the players know their coach is leaving it will cause a lull in performance and I don’t see it getting better.

I’m sorry to say we need to think of the future.

Me personally, I would like Daryl Powell.

Ben Reid:

A huge response. Not just a win, but a really good performance.

In the last two games we’ve played two sides who many would think we’d beat.

In those we’ve scored eight points and conceded 47.

It’s just not good enough.

Our attack ha seven so poor.

I don’t like picking out specific players, but I feel Williams has let us down lately, he’s just not performing at all.

We need a win, a solid performance, and to raise a bit or moral not only on the pitch, but in the stands.

At the minute, the fans are worrying that the season is already falling apart.

Darren Wrudd:

Upset in the camp can go two ways.

It can create unsure attitudes and stuttering plays or it can galvanise and focus players attitudes to the job in hand and the standards that they themselves strive to achieve.

I expect a hard and fast game, simple things done well and fewer penalties as the gauntlet is thrown down.

A professional approach is always expected at Wigan, that goes without saying, but pride in the shirt has been dented on and off the field and nothing but a top performance will do.