Man of Steel crown eases pain of missing Super League Grand Final, claims Wigan Warriors’ Sam Tomkins

By Dean Wilkins

Winning the Man of Steel award was not enough to make up for missing the Super League final, but it does make things a little easier claimed Wigan Warriors’ Sam Tomkins.

The 23-year-old fullback was crowned with the prestigious award by Tour de France and Olympic hero Bradley Wiggins during the ceremony in Manchester last night.

And the England international – who has twice won Young Player of the Year – beat stiff competition from St Helens hooker James Roby and Warrington’s Ben Westwood in the secret ballot.

“It feels a bit surreal,” Tomkins said. “It’s a massive honour. There were some great players nominated. Ben Westwood has been outstanding as James Roby is every single year.

“It was an honour to be nominated and to pick it up is pretty special. You always want to impress your peers and there are some big names who have publicly voted for me.

“When someone of the stature of [former England captain] Jamie Peacock, who is a living legend of the game, says he voted for you it’s humbling.

“I’d swap it for a Grand Final appearance if I’m honest but it makes it a little bit easier.”

The youngster is struggling with a knee injury sustained in Warriors’ opening clash against Catalan Dragons and missed Friday’s semi-final defeat by Leeds.

But Tomkins is expecting to be ready in time to be selected by Steve McNamara for England’s autumn fixtures.

“[My knee’s] not too bad,” Tomkins said. “I’m working on it at the moment. I want to get it right for the England games.”

Leeds fullback Zak Hardaker was named Young Player of the Year last nightand the 20-year-old is also expected to receive a call up to the international squad.

It was a double victory for Wigan last night as the team also grabbed Club of the Year.

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