Tomkins aiming to play at Old Trafford

Sam Tomkins will play at Old Trafford on Saturday “even if I have to play on a wooden leg”, according to the Catalans Dragons’ star full-back.

The England captain narrowly missed out on last week’s Super League semi-final 28-10 victory over Hull KR at a sold-out Stade Gilbert Brutus in Perpignan as he continued to recover from a sprained knee.

But he is confident he will be in the Dragons’ side for this Saturday’s showdown at the Theatre of Dreams.

Catalans coach Steve McNamara told League Express: “It was one of those games where we were lucky enough to have had a near-full squad to pick from. Apart from a couple of boys who are on long-term injuries, we were in pretty good shape, so that wasn’t the day to play an unfit player.

“Sam was really close, and he was trying his best, but he wasn’t just at the required level to play against Hull KR.

“We will continue to work with him and give him every opportunity to play in the final and we will see how it all unfolds.”

As well as keeping an eye on Tomkins’ knee, McNamara will be keeping his fellow team-mates’ feet on the ground following an incredible night of emotion and celebration in Perpignan last week.

McNamara said, “I’m not sure how it came across on television, but it was sensational here in the stadium; what the Catalan people put on for us here was incredible.

“There was a danger that we would get caught up in the occasion of a sell-out crowd, but whilst it wasn’t a great performance from us, we showed great determination to win the game.”

11,530 supporters packed the Brutus to the maximum and the celebrations and fireworks lasted long into the night following the semi-final win.

“It’s a massive night for the club to achieve its first ever Grand Final,” added McNamara.

“The fireworks and the flares and the passion, it’s a different place here and it’s inspirational. They have showed that support all year.

“It was good to show the fans what we are capable of in the second half.

“It was one of those nights where we had to fight and scrap, pinch an intercept, and that’s what you expect in a semi-final.

“The players realise that that was not the final. It was a huge occasion for the club and the city of Perpignan, but ultimately there was no mass celebration within the squad.

“There was satisfaction and relief that we have made it to Old Trafford for the first time and it’s right that they shared the moment with the supporters, but it was quite clear to me, even on the lap of honour to thank the French supporters, that the players were already in the mind-set of recovery and preparation for next week.

“I know, and they know, that we will need to play better in the final.”

Catalans will fly out early for Saturday’s game, McNamara explained: “It’s Grand Final week so we have lots of obligations to fulfil over in England, so we will fly out on Thursday.

“Until that time we will have our normal week’s preparations, then it’s media and organisational obligations in the UK; we’ll get the players together on Friday, play the game Saturday then fly back to France straight after the match.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.