15 October 2023

Sam Tomkins ready for family time after ‘selfish’ season ends in heartbreak

15 October 2023

Sam Tomkins will head home to France to spend more time with his family after the dream of a fairytale finish to his rugby league career was dashed by Catalans’ Super League Grand Final defeat to Wigan.

Liam Marshall’s second-half try put the seal on a hard-fought 10-2 win for Tomkins’ former club and meant the 34-year-old would fail to add to his three previous Grand Final wins when he was wearing the cherry-and-white.

Tomkins, who had fought off a serious knee injury to battle through a final season in the hope of inspiring a historic first win for the French side, admitted: “I didn’t enjoy one second of it. I don’t see getting to a Grand Final as much of an achievement really.”

The former two-time Man of Steel made little impression in a gruelling affair in which he was clattered by his good friend and former team-mate, Wigan captain Liam Farrell, in the opening minutes, and his side’s hopes were undone by a pair of sin-binnings either side of half-time.

Tomkins said he had no regrets about extending his career but added: “Sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish as an athlete and this year I’ve been more selfish than I would have liked to have been.

“I’ve said no to my wife and kids too many times this year because I’ve struggled a lot physically. Getting ready for games has not just been about training but at home, 24 hours a day, and I’m glad that’s over and I can be a better dad.”

Tomkins will stay in the south of France in a yet to be defined ambassadorial role, and accepts once the disappointment of Saturday’s second Grand Final defeat in three years begins to ease, he will take solace from the knowledge that Catalans are well-equipped to come again.

“Look at the way the club’s moving forward,” Tomkins continued. “We’re a top-four side now consistently, no-one can argue with that, and top-four sides compete for silverware.

“I love this club, it’s given me the five best years of my life. My family are growing up in a beautiful place and it’s been a dream. I love the club and everything they have given me, and whatever my next role is I will continue to give them 100 per cent.”

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