Wigan Warriors players' respect for former colleague Joel Tomkins

Joel Tomkins returns to the DW 'Stadium tonight as an opposition player when Hull KR face Wigan. SWPix
Joel Tomkins returns to the DW 'Stadium tonight as an opposition player when Hull KR face Wigan. SWPix

Joel Tomkins is poised to play his first game at the DW Stadium as an opposition player tonight.

The forward left his hometown club under a cloud a year ago when a drunken video of him went viral.

But he has repaired his reputation at Hull KR and the move has arguably given the 32-year-old a new lease of life, having been appointed captain at the Robins.

Tomkins is highly-regarded at Wigan for his exploits over two spells – which included an epic try at Wembley in 2011 – and for Adrian Lam, his return had him venturing down memory lane.

“I actually coached Joel in the academy here in 2005 and he was great,” said the Warriors boss. “We made the Grand Final that year – we lost to Hull FC, I think – and he was a big part of that side.

“He was one of the senior payers at that level, you could tell then he was going to go on and achieve things and speak to the players around here now, they consider and respect him highly for the influence he had, his leadership.”

Wigan’s 19-18 win at Hull KR a month ago sparked a four-week winning run which has seen them beat Leeds, Huddersfield and Salford to climb up the ladder into the play-offs positions.

Lam said: “I don’t think about whether we’ve been under the radar or not, I just think about reaching our potential as a team.

“We’re still at a six, in my opinion, we’ve a long way to go. The attitude has changed around the place, everyone understands how we want to do it and we’ve just got to hone that.

“We’ve still got a lot of work to do.

“But I know some teams will be looking back thinking, ‘Here we go. Not again’.

Wigan needed a Sam Powell drop-goal to beat Hull KR 19-18 a month ago.

Since then, Tony Smith has steered the Robins to impressive wins against Warrington and Hull FC, sandwiching a loss at London.

“We played them a month ago and we play them in a month, over the last 10 weeks they’ve played well and been in every game they’ve been in,” said Lam.

“They have a few players drafted in who didn’t play us last time, like Danny McGuire, and throw in a couple of new signings who have improved

them.

It’s hard to understand why Leeds let Matt Parcell go, he’s massive for them, and he’ll help them find an attacking groove.”