Two pieces of history will be made at KCOM Craven Park this weekend.

Canadian side Toronto Wolfpack host Batley Bulldogs in their Championship fixture in a stadium-first, but before that, sibling rivalry promises to dominate the preceding Super League encounter.

Hull KR captain Joel Tomkins will return to the line-up following a two-match suspension to face his brother Sam for the first time in their careers.

Long-time team-mates at Wigan Warriors, the two are now in their separate and hugely-different environments. One thing is for sure - their parents are bound to have split loyalties when taking their seats in east Hull at 3pm on Sunday.

“It’s something to tick off the list, isn’t it?” Tomkins told the Mail. I’ve never even played against Sam at amateur level, so this is a first.

“We fell into rugby, really. We were living and were brought up in Chorley, about ten miles out of Wigan. I went down to the Chorley Panthers, the local rugby club at about 10 years old, Sam started a year later and then a few more years later Logan came along.

“There’s no history of rugby in our family. The natural progression was to move over to the Wigan clubs where the amateur scene was thriving around 20 years ago. Even though it’s not as big anymore it remains a hotbed of talent and we joined St Pats.”

Despite the proud moment for the family, the Robins captain insists he’ll put the intriguing sideshow to the back of his mind in such an important game for both teams.

Hull KR captain Joel Tomkins.
Hull KR captain Joel Tomkins.

“It won’t be something I’ll be thinking about too much but Sam is a big player for them and we’ll be putting a big emphasis on trying to keep him as quiet as possible,” said the elder Tomkins sibling.

“It is a bit strange – I’ve played against Logan a couple of times but you have to treat them as any other player. I’ve spoken to Sam since the Salford game. Obviously they’re disappointed and looking to bounce back. We’ve not really talked about the game but I do know that they will come really pumped to get a result and they have the motivation after being embarrassed last week.

Wigan's Sam Tomkins celebrates with the trophy.
Wigan's Sam Tomkins celebrates with the trophy.

“I wasn’t surprised he left for Catalans, they were the only team he’d have gone to. His young family wanted to experience the lifestyle in France but Sam thinks Catalans can be a success and they showed that last year.

"They’ve got potential to win something else with their squad which is one of Super League’s strongest, and that was a big factor.”

KR coach Sheens agrees that the Catalans full-back’s threat has to be nullified at Craven Park.

POSSIBLE TEAMS: Hull KR vs Catalans Dragons
POSSIBLE TEAMS: Hull KR vs Catalans Dragons

“They’ve added Sam at full-back and though he’s still finding his feet, he’s a class player. You can see it in him, and it’ll be his first one against Joel which is interesting!

“I remember being involved with Logan as hooker at Salford, and whenever he faced the two brothers when facing Wigan it was always interesting for mum and dad in the grandstand! It’ll bring a lot out of both of them, especially Joel being captain of this side.

"The full-back is our main worry, he’s the competitor, like all the other Tomkins brothers, and he’ll compete until the end against his brother. They’re embarrassed by last week but we’re ready.”

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