The evolution of Sam Tomkins was apparent on Saturday and I think we may now see a more settled second season back for the England fulllback compared to last year.
Last season, I think players and fans alike expected the 2010 – 2012 Sam Tomkins, the make a break, score long distance tries type of play we became acustom to. However, the last six months Sam had in the UK when he won the double with Wigan weren’t like that and nor should we expect the next X amount of years to be like that. Sam developed his game in 2013 and developed it further during his time in New Zealand to be the clever, creative playmaker that we saw on Saturday – not just the break away sidestepping fullback many people think he is.
This is the new Tomkins, which isn’t that new, but on Saturday, we saw Wigan get the best from him and Tomkins get the best from Wigan. Moving into the line in attack spreads the attack wide and makes it very difficult for defences to read and track. It is no coincidence that Tomkins had a say in pretty much every try Wigan scored.
However, I think Sam’s biggest contribution on Saturday was his defensive leadership, you only need to listen to him speak about Jamie Shaul on Sunday during the BBC coverage of Hull v Castleford to understand how intelligent he is when it comes to defence. Its not even that he puts in big hit after big hit, he organises his side like no other fullback Wigan have.
The “new” Sam Tomkins is exactly what Wigan need at this moment in time, courageous, intelligent and a born leader. Don’t expect many of those famous breakaway tries whilst he gaining his match fitness but you can expect much, much more.
Welcome back Sam, from every Wigan fan.