Wigan coach Shaun Wane says Sam Tomkins has been in a “shocking place” over his long road to recovery as he prepares for his comeback this weekend – but says the England international will quickly become a vital asset when he is fit again.
Tomkins has not played for nine months after a foot injury which has included multiple setbacks – including one which has delayed his comeback for the last three months.
However, Tomkins is likely to return in this Saturday’s Challenge Cup clash with Warrington, and Wane admits it has been a frustrating process for both player and coach.
“He was ready to go three months ago – he’s been in a shocking place,” Wane said at his pre-match press conference.
“These lads are born to play and whack each other and be physical every week. So when you tell a player you can’t play for months it’s hard.
“He was ready to go three months ago and got a setback, and it’s been tough for him mentally. That’s his life, playing rugby league, and he can see light at the end of the tunnel now.”
However, with the Warriors’ marquee player back to full fitness, Wane is confident he can find his best form in a Wigan shirt once again.
He said: “It’s about looking forward now; I’ve got him back fit and he’ll be fit for a long time now. He’ll be a great asset for us. I’m just expecting a steadying influence and him getting the ball where it needs to be at all times. If he does that, great. I’m not expecting loads of tries and loads of tackles – but he’s smart is Sam, he brings a lot of people things don’t bring.”
Tomkins is one of several players who will return this weekend – with forward John Bateman, centre Anthony Gelling and captain Sean O’Loughlin also set to come into the fray. And Wane admits he has had one eye on bringing his big guns back for this game for some time.
“They’re all 100 per cent ready to go, no question,” he insisted.
“It’s a very important game though, and I highlighted this one a while ago. As soon as it was announced I highlighted it because we’ve been working people around being ready for this.”