Victorious in Wigan’s visits to Wembley in 2011 and 2013 and in two of their Grand Final triumphs, Tomkins is something of a lucky charm, the Warriors’ two recent Old Trafford defeats coming during his stint in the NRL with New Zealand Warriors.

Despite his success, Tomkins’ appetite for silverware is as strong as ever as he eyes a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup hat-trick at the expense of Hull on Saturday.
Sam Tomkins
“That’s why you play the game, you want to play on the big stage,” he said. “It’s what every rugby league player has in common.

“I’ve been very lucky, I’ve played in four finals for Wigan and won four but the Challenge Cup is special. I’ve enjoyed winning it twice and I want to win it again.

“Wembley ticks all the boxes. You never get bored of it, you never know when your next one will be so you’ve got to make sure you do everything you can.”

It was that thought that sparked jubilant celebrations when Tomkins scored a last-minute try that put the seal on a 16-0 win over Hull at Wembley four years ago.

He went on to help Wigan complete the double with victory at Old Trafford six weeks later to bow out on a high as embarked on his journey down under.

“Yes 2013 was special because I knew I wasn’t going to be at the club the year after,” he said.

“I wanted to finish on a high and amazingly got to do the double that year. It was special then but it will be equally as special to come back and win it.”

Tomkins’ Wembley success mirrors that of his club, who have a remarkable record of 17 wins from 24 appearances and are aiming for a record-extending 20th triumph.

For a club that enjoyed eight successive Cup final victories from 1988-95, a four-year absence from Wembley represents something of a barren run and also adds to the pressure to justify their favouritism.

“We’re a club that demands success,” Tomkins admits. “We’ve been very lucky to win a lot of trophies in recent years and that just adds a bit of pressure I think.

“You are sort of expected to win big games.”

Wigan go into the final buoyed by a 42-6 rout of Salford while Hull are coming off a 46-18 home defeat by Huddersfield but Tomkins is taking little notice of recent results.

“We had a great win but beating Salford doesn’t mean anything when you’re coming up against Hull at Wembley and losing to Huddersfield doesn’t mean anything for them,” he said.

“We’ll be expecting to see the Hull side that played the quarter-final against Castleford. I think that was probably their best performance of the year, they were brilliant that day.

“I think we’re playing some good stuff but there are still areas where we need to improve, not only to win this game but to get us into the semi-final for the Grand Final. We’re not over the moon but we’re happy with our form.”

Tomkins is also happy with his own form as he sets his sights on a recall to the England team in time for the end-of-year World Cup.

“I’m feeling good, my body is feeling healthy and I feel like I’m getting some consistency,” said Tomkins, who missed last October’s Grand Final and the first four months of this season with a foot injury.

“Like the team, I’d like to keep on improving. I want to improve every single week, not just now but for the rest of my career.

“The World Cup is certainly something I’m thinking about. I know there’s a lot of competition for places, certainly at full-back, but all I can do is try and play my best every week.

“I want to be in that World Cup squad. I love representing my country, it’s something I’m very proud to have done but I would love to do more and more.”