Leeds Rhinos 2015 or Wigan Warriors in 2018, these were fairytale endings. Leeds bid farewell to Kevin Sinfield, Jamie Peacock and Kylie Leuluai with a treble win whilst Wigan said goodbye to Sam Tomkins, George Williams and Shaun Wane in 2018.
We have seen more of these farewells like Tony Smith in 2007, Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow in 2017 or Lachlan Coote and Kevin Naiqama in 2021.
These fairytales are what sport is all about and Sam Tomkins knows all about this as he chases a fairytale ending himself in 2023 as he is set to retire.
“Playing at Old Trafford and winning, that’s it. The second time I left Wigan in 2018, we’d gone up to the Challenge Cup and someone asked me, can you win it this year? And I was like, yeah, what a way to finish,” Tomkins said on The Bench.
“I didn’t actually believe we’d win it. I didn’t at that point think, you know, hand on heart, we’re gonna win this. I didn’t think we would, I didn’t think we had the team. I didn’t think we were sort of building up momentum.
“I was just like, ‘yeah, sure, we can win it with my last game’ but I remember thinking, my last game at Wigan’s not going to be what I thought it was.
“As it turned out, we did get there and we won it, and it was a dream. And after it, I remember thinking, maybe I should have took hold of that dream a little bit more, because I sort of just thought that’s too romantic to be the ending.”
He has his sights firmly set on Grand Final glory in 2023: “Well, after that experience then now, yeah, I do. I do genuinely believe, I think we’ve got a good squad.
“Winning Rugby League Grand Finals, a lot of it’s down to the luck of your squad as well. You know, you keep your best players healthy. I think we’ve got one of the best squads in the league and if we can have a healthy healthy 17 going into the playoffs I think we’ve got a very good chance.”
This led to him revealing the brutal motivation Wigan had in 2010 to ruin Kerion Cunningham’s final game: “I remember 2010 Grand Final, it was Keiron Cunningham’s last game, and all the press was about, this is Keiron Cunningham’s last game, a legend of the club, he’s got to go on a high.
“Michael Maguire’s going, ‘we want to go and ruin Keiron Cunningham’s last ever game’. That was it, the fact that it was his last game and his fairy tale actually, it was that.”