When the Vodafone Warriors take on Penrith on Sunday night fullbacks Sam Tomkins and Matthew Moylan will undoubtedly be called upon to deliver in a critical match for both teams.
The Panthers will be looking to 23 year old Moylan to help keep the team within the ladder’s top four while the visiting Vodafone Warriors will be counting on Moylan’s opposite number – the electrifying fullback Sam Tomkins - to keep their season alive and clinch a finals berth.
Sam Tomkins has definitely provided solid returns on the club’s investment in him, maintaining an impressive strike rate throughout the year. His 13 tries accompany his 2736 metres, an average of 119 a game. In fact, his 13 tries puts him one shy of a club record for the most tries in a season by a fullback. Phil Blake set the mark of 14 in the club’s inaugural season in 1995.
Matt Moylan has grown into the fullback position at Penrith after he was given the nod in Round 7 last year. He nailed-down his starting spot this year, starting in each of the Panthers games. His mileage resembles that of Tomkins, with a total of 2716 running metres so far. Regarding tries, Moylan has seven and will be eager to add to that tally Sunday night.
When the two sides met back in late June both fullbacks posted solid contributions. Moylan enjoyed success at the line, scoring once to keep his side in the mix and then setting up James Segeyaro with a four-pointer. Tomkins also played a strong hand, assisting in a try, making two line breaks and offloading twice. His side ultimately proved too strong for Penrith, emerging 30-20 victors.
The stakes are considerably higher this weekend and, with neither player having reached the finals, both Moylan and Tomkins will be intent on delivering a win. The Panthers need to win to guarantee a top four berth, meaning they avoid an elimination final. For the Vodafone Warriors the finals are effectively starting early as on Sunday night the equation is simple: win or go home.