SAM TOMKINS was happy to play a supporting role as Wigan regained their Wembley swagger with victory in the Challenge Cup final – but he could yet be in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
The England international went into the game as the hottest favourite in history to win the prestigious Lance Todd Trophy, but admits he was disappointed with his own performance in the Warriors’ 28-18 victory over Leeds.
While most eyes were on the full-back, former New Zealand Test prop Jeff Lima became Wigan’s unlikely hero, scoring a try in each half to treble his tally for the club and claim the man-of-the-match award.
“There was a lot of talk in the week about the Lance Todd but it’s not something I concentrate on and I’m happy Jeff got it,” said Tomkins.
“Jeff deserved it. I definitely didn’t play my best but, as long as I’m part of this team, I don’t mind.
“Leeds nullified a lot of what I was doing but, when they were concentrating on me, it created lots of gaps for other people.”
Lima exploited those gaps by taking passes from his front-row partners Paul Prescott and Lee Mossop to score his tries. Tomkins did make his mark by sparking the move that led to a spectacular long-range try by older brother Joel and he was also involved in the opening score by winger Josh Charnley, after which he appeared to give a two-fingered salute to the Leeds fans.
The Rugby Football League will look into the incident on Tuesday but Tomkins, who was booed by fans at Leeds when he played for England earlier this year, was tight-lipped on the subject.
“Someone else has mentioned that to me,” he said. “I really don’t know what it is.”
If he is charged by the RFL’s match-review panel, Tomkins will face a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, which could put his place in Sunday’s crucial league game at Warrington in doubt.
Victory for the reigning champions at the Halliwell Jones Stadium would enable them to retain the League Leaders’ Trophy.