Wigan coach Shaun Wane expects Wigan to fire against Wakefield

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane

Wigan coach Shaun Wane is confident there will be no hangover from the Tomkins brothers' drunken saga when his team return to Super League action at Wakefield on Thursday.

Second-rower Joel Tomkins will sit out the game after being given a four-week ban and a £10,000 fine pending the outcome of a further investigation into the incident in which he was seen abusing bar staff.

Full-back Sam Tomkins keeps his place in the team after being handed a £5,000 fine for his minor role in the affair.

Wane says the club will support Joel during the period of uncertainty over his future and revealed he has been taken under the wing of player welfare manager Steve McCormack, the former Scotland head coach.

"The club has made a statement, Joel has made I don't know how many statements, I don't want to keep going on about it," Wane said at his weekly press conference.

"All I will say is that they've made a massive error and paid the price big time. I've known Joel and Sam for 15 years and they are very good people, well mannered.

"Joel is an absolute credit to this club and a credit to his family. He's just had a shocker. We've got Steve Mac working very closely with him and he's doing a great job. We need to make sure he's good."

Although the incident took place in May, video footage only emerged at the weekend and came on top of back-to-back defeats which have seen Wigan crash out of the Challenge Cup and fall further behind arch rivals St Helens in the league.

"They are a strong bunch," Wane said. "They're professional and, although they know we've been a bit off, it's only two weeks since we beat Warrington by 28 points.

"We were the best team in the comp and, all of a sudden, we lose two games and we get loads of cameras here. It's just typical."

Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin also insists it will be business as usual at Belle Vue.

"It's happened now, it's been dealt with," O'Loughlin said. "It's completely out of character for both fellas. We respect what the club have done and we are here to support Joel and Sam.

"With the short turnaround there's been no time to sulk about it. It's been about cracking on and making sure we have a response this week. The boys just want to get out there and play."

As well as Joel Tomkins, Wigan will be without forwards Ben Flower (neck), Taulima Tautai (calf) and Ryan Sutton, who is facing a lay-off of between six to eight weeks with a knee injury sustained in the 23-0 defeat at Warrington last Saturday.

Wane has called Romain Navarrete, Gabe Hamlin and Callum Field to plug the gaps and remains confident his side can get back to winning ways.

"I've lost four of my most consistent middles but it's a great chance for Romain, Gabe and Cal Field," he said. We'll have 17 players really committed on Thursday.

"I'd rather not have injuries but it does excite me when I see people like Cal Field coming in.

"Olly Partington is in the 19, which is great. I like days like this. pressure and seeing how these young lads respond."

Wakefield have captain Danny Kirmond and fellow back-rower Matty Ashurst back to replace James Batchelor, who has a shoulder injury, and Chris Annakin, who is out of the country at a wedding.

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