Sam Tomkins can’t wait to see the back of 2020 – a season that he says has turned into “a shambles”.
Currently recovering from Covid, and locked down at his home like the rest of France under strict new government rules, the 31-year-old Catalans Dragons fullback admits the past nine months have been the most challenging of his career.
“It’s massively frustrating,” he told League Express: “And it’s the same for all players, clubs, fans and broadcasters, everybody’s in the same boat.
“The worst part is the unknown, there have been so many changes and probably more changes to come before the end of the year so that’s the worst bit, not actually knowing where you stand and how the season’s going to play out.”
The stop-start nature of the season, last minute fixture cancellations and rule changes have taken their toll, according to Tomkins, who said players were bracing themselves for another major change following Monday’s Super League meeting, where a re-jigged play-off system is on the agenda.
“The whole season is a shambles really,” said Tomkins.
“Decisions are being made this week and every club wants a different scenario going to the end of the year. Some clubs have bigger voices than others so we will just have to wait and see what comes of the meeting.
“Whatever it changes to, we’ll just have to get on with it. That’s been the message for the whole season, you have to deal with whatever changes come your way and that’s what we have done, like every other team.
“Covid has turned the season into a total mess, it’s meant it can’t be a truly fair season with different clubs playing different amounts of games and Salford couldn’t even field a team last week, so I think a lot of clubs will be happy when this season is over.”
Everyone at Catalans seemed to be unhappy last week with suggestions by Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar that the Dragons had “dodged” several fixtures against some of the stronger teams this season.
Tomkins said the suggestions were ridiculous, adding: “For someone to say we are dodging fixtures is absolute rubbish, it’s based upon nothing. You’ve got to bear in mind that before lockdown in March, Leeds didn’t come to us because they thought somebody had Covid and it turned out they didn’t.
“We didn’t claim they were ‘dodging’ us, did we?
“So it’s rubbish, no-one’s dodging fixtures. We’ve certainly got no reason to try and dodge games, we want to play as many as we can just the same as any other team.
“Anybody with any sense involved in a rugby club would know that you wouldn’t be dodging fixtures in a year where you’ve just played 12 games.
“We’ve done everything we can at the club to make things as safe as possible, but we’re in a global pandemic. People are going to catch a virus that’s stretching across pretty much every country in the world.
“Castleford have just got twelve positive results and no part of me thinks that they have done that on purpose. We’re in a pandemic, people are going to get the virus, it’s as simple as that.
“For someone to think that we’d be dodging games is a ridiculous idea and it’s quite rich coming from a coach that ‘dodged’ a round of the Challenge Cup when it got redrawn, meaning they had to win just two games to win a trophy and is now sat in fifth and asking for a top-five play-off system rather than a top four.”
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.