Duo tip Wigan for further success
Sam Tomkins and Pat Richards are both confident Wigan will be able to continue in their trophy-winning ways in their absence.
The departing duo made telling contributions to the Warriors' 30-16 Grand Final win over Warrington at Old Trafford on Saturday that enabled them to become only the third club to complete the league and cup double in the Super League era.
Wigan are also losing England prop Lee Mossop, who will be playing for Parramatta from 2014, but have lined up replacements in Eddy Pettybourne, Matt Bowen and Sam Hopkins and are thought to have agreed deals for London Broncos duo Dan Sarginson and Tony Clubb.
Richards, who is returning to Wests Tigers after eight years in Super League, believes the in-built culture at Wigan will ensure the success continues.
"You look at all the class players that have left over the last seven or eight years - you've got Bryan Fletcher, Trent Barrett, Ryan Hoffman, Brett Finch, Thomas Leuluai, George Carmont - they're all gone now and we've won the double," Richards said.
"It's down to the culture at this place. The young guys are going to come through and drive the culture. The club is in a great position now and I'm sure they're going to keep continuing to challenge for trophies."
Richards, 31, fittingly bowed out with the last of Wigan's five tries which lifted him above St Helens winger Ade Gardner into sixth place in Super League's list of all-time leading tryscorers with 147.
The Australia-born Ireland international, who was Super League's Man of Steel in 2010, then kicked his fifth goal of the match to round off his Wigan career with 2,468 points from 224 appearances.
Tomkins, who is joining New Zealand Warriors next season, failed to add to his 144 tries on his 152nd and final appearance but was involved throughout as the Warriors staged the biggest comeback in Grand Final history to secure their second league title in four years - and not even the absence of his younger brother Logan could take the shine off the result.
"There's a little bit of disappointment but he's 21 and he's already won a Challenge Cup this year," he said. "He's got many years to come.
"He's a very strong character, a really intelligent bloke as well, and he knows, if he sticks with it, he'll be lifting more trophies in the years to come."
Logan Tomkins, who has now seen both his brothers leave Wigan in the last two years, is among the next generation of players expected to carry the club's hopes into the future.
"At the start of this year we were written off because we had lost people like Jeff Lima, Tommy Leuluai and Brett Finch and people were saying we'd finish fifth or sixth," Sam Tomkins added.
"They might say the same again next year but you look at the talent we've got in this squad and I know next year the team will be successful again."
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