When a rival Super League coach praises you as ‘one of the best players in the Super League era’, it is time to sit up and take note.
That rival coach is Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith who has earned a massive reputation for himself in recent seasons after impressing with the Norths Devils in the second tier of the Australian competition.
Since joining Leeds earlier in the season, Smith has overseen an incredible increase in form so much so that the Rhinos ended the season in fifth – a remarkable achievement considering that they were battling relegation under Richard Agar as things stood at the beginning of 2022.
Leeds’ reward for finishing fifth is an away day at the Catalans Dragons – their third in just six weeks – but Smith has already identified one of the French side’s danger men in Sam Tomkins.
Tomkins, of course, seems to have been around forever after coming through the Wigan Warriors academy as a teenager before joining the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL.
A return to Wigan beckoned, but it was a move to the Catalans which has seemingly rejuvenated the wily fullback and it is quite obvious that Tomkins is playing some of his best rugby at the Stade Gilbert Brutus – and Smith agrees.
“He knows where to be, he’s got that sixth sense and he’s been one of the best players in the Super League era from what I’ve seen,” Smith said in his pre-match press conference leading up to tomorrow’s fixture.
“He’s been up there for a long period, he’s good with ball in hand, he can create things from other people.
“His kicking is good and he organises his defensive line well. he has an influence on the officials at times I reckon, too.”
It remains to be seen whether Smith and his side can shut Tomkins out of the game, but it will certainly be interesting.