Wane makes plans for Tomkins
Wigan Warriors may send dual-code international Joel Tomkins to Workington Town for his re-introduction into rugby league once they have got him back into shape.
Warriors coach Shaun Wane says the First Utility Super League champions have had to work on the 27-year-old second-row forward's body after he spent the last three years playing among the three-quarters in rugby union with Saracens.
Although Tomkins was playing as a makeshift centre when he made the switch of codes, Wane plans to use him mostly in the pack, the position in which he made his England rugby league debut.
Tomkins, who has rejoined his hometown club on a four-and-a-half-year deal, is still at least four weeks away from making his eagerly-awaited return to the 13-man code after undergoing treatment for a back injury.
He has also been put through a rigorous fitness regime by Wigan's head conditioner Mark Bitcon since being unveiled a fortnight ago and will be now re-introduced to the wrestling techniques used in training by most Super League clubs these days.
"He's got bigger already," Wane said. "He looks a real athlete now, working in the short period under Mark.
"He didn't look like the Joel Tomkins who left when he came back in, which is unbelievable. But he's getting there now. He looks fantastic now. He seemed huge within a week."
Wigan have been badly hit by injuries in recent weeks but Wane is determined to allow Tomkins to make a gradual return, possibly with partnership Kingstone Press Championship club Workington, who have had the use of fringe Wigan players all year.
"I'm not going to rush him or pressure him in any way," Wane said.
"I've told him that because I know what he'll be like, he'll be itching to play. He won't play before he's ready, even if we've got lots of injuries.
"He might go to Workington to get some match-fitness. He's not wrestled since he went to Saracens so he needs to get into the grind."
Wigan will receive some relief for Saturday's trip to bottom club London Broncos, with forwards Eddy Pettybourne and Tony Clubb set to make their return from lengthy injury lay-offs, and Wane is also considering giving a debut to former Leigh Centurions second-rower Sam Hopkins.
Pettybourne, who was signed from Wests Tigers in the winter, has not played since damaging a calf at St Helens on Good Friday while former London captain Clubb has missed the last two months with a knee injury.
Centre Darrell Goulding, whose move to Hull KR next season was confirmed today, will also be back after sitting out last Friday's 16-12 derby defeat by St Helens.