He went there as a supporter of Warrington in his younger years – but Sam Tomkins is hopeful he can make more special memories with Wigan at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday afternoon and take the Warriors one step closer to Wembley.
Wigan and Warrington clash in the tie of the round on Saturday – exactly the same stage they met at 12 months ago, when Tomkins’ drop goal guided Wigan into a semi-final showdown with Salford.
And Tomkins, a Warrington fan before signing for Wigan, admits the Halliwell Jones is high up on the list of stadiums he relishes playing at.
“It’s probably my favourite stadium apart from the DW Stadium,” he said.
“It’s a great atmosphere, and Warrington fans create that with Wigan fans travelling really well too. Saturday should be a massive event. I’ve always loved playing there – it might be the years of me supporting Warrington and enjoying being at Wilderspool and then the Halliwell Jones.
“This time last year, it was my first game back after breaking my foot, so it was a special one for me. It’s not an easy place to go, there’s a great atmosphere and the fans are right on you. When you’re kicking a goal from that sideline, they all let you know what they think of you.”
Tomkins also believes that the pain of losing at Wembley 12 months ago will act as perfect motivation for Wigan in their attempt to go one better this time around – his final chance of winning the cup with the Warriors before leaving for Catalans.
“Coming so close last year, the feeling you have in the dressing room afterwards is horrible,” he said.
“It feels like a wasted effort almost to get that far and fall short. We’ve got a lot of boys who’ve experienced lifting that trophy and for everyone involved last year.. it wasn’t even 12 months, so it’s pretty fresh.
“We understand that we’ve got to get there, but it’s not just about getting there. That would be good enough for some players and some clubs, to say they’ve ticked a box and played at Wembley, but we expect to win. That can be our driving force to get back.”