Wigan's Challenge Cup win a team effort - Joel Tomkins

Wigan Warriors

Joel Tomkins scored one of the great Wembley tries for Wigan to help his side to their first Challenge Cup final victory since 2002.

But his first thought was for the team not himself after Wigan's deserved 28-18 victory over a determined Leeds.

"You don't score tries like that without your middle playing well," he told BBC Sport. "And, for the first 20 minutes they were awesome.

"The celebrations took more out of me, but it was an amazing feeling."

It was, ironically, the kind of explosive moment that most pundits were expecting of his younger brother Sam.

But Joel was convinced that his Sam, who is alleged to have overdone the celebrations following Wigan's first try, was targeted by Leeds.

"It's disgraceful when you've got people like Ryan Bailey flying in," said the eldest of Wigan's three Tomkins brothers. "He's not doing it to anybody else. He's doing it to our smallest bloke on the field."

The controversy over Tomkins' gesture to the Leeds fans, which he neatly sidestepped when asked about after the game, comes on the back of the well-publicised abuse he received playing for England at Headingley back in June.

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Victorious Wigan revel in victory

"Going back to the England game, it was disgraceful the treatment he got there," said Joel, "given that we've not seen someone with that sort of attacking ability for a few years.

"But, while our Sam gets stick off the fans he can deal with it."

While Joel's stunning try was comparable with several scored by Sam this season - not to mention England rugby union winger Chris Ashton, his old Wigan classmate, and certainly with Martin Offiah's great Wembley classic against Leeds 16 years ago, he remains modest.

"It's just nice to be thought of in that sort of regard," said Joel, still sporting an enormous grin two hours after the game, despite having been the unlucky Wigan chosen for the mandatory drug test .

"And, if my try gets replayed a couple of times I'll be happy.

"I'll certainly be ringing Chris up to see what he thought of it.

"As for the comparisons with Sam, it's not about that for me. It's been a massive slog to get here, having beaten Warrington then Saints. And it's just about playing well for the team.

"Sam's been playing well in his own right. The way he's played this year has been awesome. And it doesn't matter that we're brothers. There's no rivalry whatsoever

"I'm happy for Sam whatever he gets and he deserves what he's getting at the moment the way he's playing.

"And It didn't even come into my head when I scored the try. In any case, Sam started it off, so credit goes to him for that."

The platform for Tomkins' try was initially fashioned by a sparking crossfield run by his younger brother, who was very happy to see Joel get the limelight.

"All credit to Joel," said Sam. "He can really shift.

"He's had a tough time changing from back row to centre. But, for anyone who had any doubt about that, he showed them what he can do on the big stage.

"He's one of the players on our team who, if he plays well, the team plays well, and I'm so pleased for him playing such a big part."

As it was Tomkins' try actually triggered Leeds' best spell of the game - but Joel was proud of the way Wigan, who themselves came from 22-4 down with 10 minutes left to draw at Headingley earlier in the season, showed such fortitude to stand up and come through it.

"They were champions three years in a row and they've still got the majority of that squad with big game experience so we knew they'd come back at us," he said.

"They had a purple patch in which they scored two quickfire tries, which shocked us a little bit.

"But that's the measure of our team.

"We work for each other and we got through it. And it's all down to our coach Michael Maguire for what he's done since he came in and the structures he's put in place."

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