When Sam Tomkins was running around muddy fields in northern England for Wigan a year ago, contemplating his impending move to New Zealand, it was games like today's against the Roosters that he thought of most.
Tomkins had the reputation as the best player in the Super League, an accolade he deserved. But he wanted to test himself against the very best and, for those in the northern hemisphere, the best means the Roosters.
"Over in England they'd be comfortably the most famous team," Tomkins told Sunday News.
"If you'd ask a kid up there which NRL they support they'd say the Roosters.
"They're that glamour team and they've got some outstanding players. I knew it would be great to play against them, but I want to beat a good team like that."
After a mixed start to his career in the NRL, where blunders on catching high balls and one or two other gaffs blotted his copybook, Tomkins has been impressive for the past couple of months.
When he gets those lanky, long legs moving close to the opposition's defence he's a marvel to watch and Warriors fans should be rubbing their hands with glee over what he'll bring to the club over the next couple of years.
He will be regarded as one of the great players in the NRL over the next few years and today he'll be up against one of the best ever, Anthony Minichiello, who'll be playing his final game in New Zealand.
"He's a quality player and he'll go down as being an NRL legend and deservedly so," Tomkins said of the Roosters No 1.
"He's been a great player over a number of years.
"I remember growing up watching him and seeing him play for Australia, so it will be good to go up against him again."
But there will be little room for sentimentality today as the Warriors have yet another game that could be described as season-defining.
Two weeks ago the Warriors were looking good for making a charge into the top four.
But a scrappy game against the Sharks, which they were fortunate to get out of with a win, was followedby a loss to the Knights.
It means they must win two of their remaining three games this season and, as they finish up with a tricky away fixture in Penrith, after playing the Titans at home, the Warriors can't afford to slip up against the 2013 Premiers.
Tomkins acknowledges the intensity lifted at training last week because of the situation the club finds itself in, and he says that will carry over to the game.
"I think it will be, the position we're in, where we're just on the eight," he said.
"We're playing one of the best teams in the comp, at home, so it's a massive game for us and it's a big opportunity more than anything.
"It was disappointing last week, we had to quickly get over it with such a big game this week at home.
"It was obvious our defence wasn't good enough. We created a lot of opportunities in attack, but defensively we were lacking, so that's the area we need to improve on this week."
Those who have followed the Warriors this season would have noticed that whenever there's a fracas in one of their games, Tomkins is invariably in the midst of it and more often than not he's the protagonist.
That's not to say Tomkins is a dirty player, but that he won't accept being pushed around by opposition players, just because he's a skinny, white guy from England.
"I think that's just bad luck really, nothing more than bad luck," he said of why he happens to so often be involved in pushing and shoving incidents.
"You've got to stand up for yourself. I don't think by any means that I'm someone likes to get in scuffles, but we play a tough sport and it gets a bit heated at times but I don't think there is anything in it."
- Sunday News
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