Hailing from Milton Keynes, Sam Tomkins and his family made the move north in the early 1990s where Sam – and his brothers Joel and Logan – were picked up by Wigan’s scholarship programme. Sam made his first appearance for the Warriors aged 19 for the first team in a Challenge Cup fixture against Whitehaven. In a fantastic performance, Tomkins became the first player to register five tries on his first team debut.
2008 saw Tomkins become a regular in the Wigan first-team, operating at stand-off where he recorded 15 tries in 27 appearances. The following two years saw Tomkins scoop up Super League’s Young Player of the Year. Tomkins was also included in the Super League Dream Team for the first time in 2008– he has since appeared five times in the Dream Team.
It wasn’t until 2010 when new Wigan boss Michael Maguire arrived at the club that Tomkins made the switch to fullback. Tomkins appeared in every game for Wigan that season as the Lancashire club won their first league title since 1998 with victory over St Helens in the 2010 Grand Final.
Tomkins impressed so much that he was awarded the Rugby League International Federation’s Rookie of the Year and became the league’s top try-scorer in 2011 with 28.
The durable back’s first Challenge Cup success came in 2011 also as he starred in Wigan’s 28-18 victory over Leeds. In the build-up to the Final, Andy Gregory, who won the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match in the victories of 1988 and 1990, claimed that Tomkins had the ability to replicate those achievements.
Though triumphant, it was Jeff Lima that won the Lance Todd Trophy as Tomkins was found guilty of minor misconduct for an abusive gesture to Leeds fans during the match and fined £1,000 by the RFL.
Tomkins was rewarded for his superb performances in 2012 with the Man of Steel despite the fact that Wigan failed to reach any major final. However, in what would be Tomkins’ last season in a Wigan shirt in 2013, he helped guide his club to an outstanding league and cup double.
The Warriors overcame Hull FC in the Challenge Cup Final, 16-0, and powered past Warrington, 16-30 in the Grand Final. In 152 appearances, Tomkins scored 130 tries and kicked 35 goals and one drop-goal.
A new experience awaited Tomkins in 2014; he had signed for NRL side New Zealand Warriors at the age of 25.
Although one of the greatest players in Super League before he made the move Down Under, Tomkins failed to settle in his environment and after scoring 17 tries in 35 appearances over a two-year period, returned to Wigan ahead of the 2016 season.
In three seasons, Tomkins made 62 appearances, scoring 24 tries and kicking 101 goals and eight drop-goals. It was announced midway through 2018 that Tomkins would be moving to Catalans Dragons for 2019 and beyond. Buckinghamshire-born Tomkins bowed out in style, playing a major role in Wigan’s Grand Final success in 2018.
Such an influential player for Wigan, Tomkins has earned 27 caps for England in which he has scored 18 tries. Being able to play anywhere along the backline, Tomkins is one of a kind. With a wicked turn of pace and the ability to create something out of nothing, Tomkins was one of Wigan’s most dangerous players in the summer game.
Always able to get under the opposition’s skin, Tomkins plays the game to the very edge of the law and his slight frame – he weighs just over 13 stone – makes him an incredibly elusive player. Aged just 31, Tomkins still has many years left in the sport and Catalans are likely to reap the rewards of a player getting back to his best with the wiry fullback racking up ten tries, 77 goals and one drop-goal in 26 appearances in 2019.
His form for the Dragons in 2019 earned him an England 9s call-up for the World Cup where he scored two tries and two goals in four appearances.