Tomkins impresses Menzies
Steve Menzies will break a Super League record tomorrow, playing against one of the men who will carry its baton long after he has retired.
The Catalan Dragons forward will, at the age of 38 and 188 days, become the oldest player to play in Super League since Brad Davis in 2004.
His side will be looking to get their title challenge back on track at the same time, having lost to Salford City Reds last Friday in a performance that coach Trent Robinson called “disgusting”.
They come up against leaders Wigan in Montpellier tomorrow, with the Warriors in red-hot form and looking well set for a second title in three years.
At the heart of their stunning play has been full-back Sam Tomkins. The England international has been Super League’s outstanding player over the last month, and won rave reviews for his performance in last weekend’s 50-6 win at Leeds Rhinos.
And Menzies, who has earned admirers on both sides of the world throughout his long career with Bradford Bulls, Catalan Dragons and predominantly Manly, is a big fan of the 23-year-old.
“He’s exceptional, with tries that he has scored and with the way that he runs the ball,” he said.
“He’s a player we need to be aware of, from two metres out or 102 metres out. He’s a very dangerous player and he will always be a handful.
“Wigan are a side that are well drilled, have great players all over the team and have some of superb individual brilliance.”
Many expect Tomkins to one day head to Australia’s NRL and follow in the footsteps of the likes of international team-mates Sam Burgess and James Graham.
Menzies is no stranger to that competition, having made more appearances in it than anyone else, and believes Tomkins would impress should he make the move.
“I think it would be a great challenge for him,” he added.
“It’s a different type of challenge, but if you look at the guys who have gone such as James Graham, they are showing that they can adapt.
“I love seeing Sam and top-level players go over there and challenge themselves. I love to see it. I think he would do very well.
“The fans would love him too. He’s one of those players who, whenever he gets the ball, something happens.”
Wigan head coach Shaun Wane believes his side will display the same ruthless attitude they showed against Leeds when they face Catalan.
The Warriors demolished the reigning champions at Headingley last Friday to move three points clear at the top of the table, and Wane is confident he has pinpointed an area of weakness in the Dragons defence which can be exploited.
"Our last performance was spot on but that is all forgotten if we don't perform against Catalan on Saturday," Wane told Warriors TV.
"All the lads are pumped and ready to play. I want to go further in front if we can and have our best performance this Saturday and then in the Widnes game. It's an ongoing ruthless attitude and that's what we do every single day with our players.
"To be as ruthless as we were (against Leeds) with players that we had was very satisfying.
"We know it's going to be a tough trip (to Catalan) as they got beaten by Salford and I know their coach was a bit sore after that game so they'll be coming out firing.
"We have watched all our footage of our last game against Catalan and we know there are areas where we can get them again and again.
"It's just about us being mentally prepared and turning up with our best game."
Rock-bottom London Broncos host Widnes Vikings in tomorrow's other game.
Widnes lifted themselves off the foot of the table at the Broncos' expense with a shock 26-22 win over Huddersfield Giants last Sunday, while London succumbed to their 14th Super League defeat of the season against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Broncos head coach Rob Powell has recalled Julien Rinaldi to his squad after he made a full recovery from a knee injury while centre Will Lovell and Karl Temata are also included in what Powell believes is a must-win match.
He said: "It has become a huge game because of where both sides find themselves in the table.
"We will have to approach the game with the right mentality, have a strong start and people play to their potential, for us to win the game."