Sam Tomkins has been hailed as the greatest full-back in Super League history after it was revealed how he took time out to help teach a rival the art of the position.
The former England captain scored the stunning match-winner in Catalans Dragons’ semi-final triumph over champions St Helens.
He now has a shot at the dream farewell in Saturday’s Grand Final, his last game before retiring, against Wigan Warriors – the club with whom he rose to greatness.
Over the course of his trophy-laden time at the top of the professional game Tomkins has been one of those players his own fans and team-mates adore, and opposition supporters have loved to hate, having played the pantomime villain through much of his glittering career.
But the real Sam Tomkins is very different, according to a rival full-back who has benefited from his expertise.
“What he has done for the game and for himself is pretty special and probably will never be replicated,” Salford Red Devils star Ryan Brierley told Love Rugby League.
Ryan Brierley reveals remarkable guidance he received from Sam Tomkins when switching from half-back to full-back
Brierley has just completed his best season in the game, having been named Red Devils Player of the Year, ironically moving him into contention for Tomkins’ England shirt.
Brierley only moved to play full-back during his previous stint at Leigh, and has revealed how Tomkins took time out to help the half-back learn his new trade.
“What a fine man, who was was willing to help me in my transition to play full-back,” Brierley added.
“The time he spent helping me, even though he was in France, over FaceTime for hours when I first reached out to get help with learning a new position.
“The help he gave me I just cannot underestimate how valuable it has been.
“He didn’t need to help, I’ve never played with him, so to reach out and help a fellow professional when I needed it just speaks volumes of the man.
“I hope he gets the fairytale finish in Saturday because it will be just what he deserves.
“He’s been the best full back to grace the Super League era. Certainly during my time I’ve never seen anyone as good as Sam in Super League.”