Last week, Wakefield Trinity head coach Chris Chester suggested that the return of winger Tom Johnstone would be “like a new signing” after missing the majority of last season following an ACL injury in their home match against Catalans at the end of April.
If that is the case, then, he will surely earn Wakefield’s signing of the season award come season’s end after a superb return to action. Featuring for the club for the first time since his injury, Super League’s Young Player of the Year in 2016 played the full eighty minutes for Trinity and, what’s more, he crossed the try line three times to record a hat trick for Chester’s men in a 62-0 win as the Super League crushed part timers Halifax at Belle Vue. Despite missing key men in Bill Tupou, Craig Huby, David Fifita and Ben Jones Bishop – a wing competitor for the returning Johnstone – a Super League thirteen was put out for the friendly and five first half tries saw the home team 28-0 up at half time.
The demolition job was completed in the second forty as a further 34 points were ran in by Wakefield and, regardless of opposition, holding a team to nil is a superb effort – something which pleased Chester who heralded his team’s quality in attack but felt Trinity “looked even better defensively.” He also acknowledged Johnstone’s return, remarking “I was really pleased to see Tom back in the side,” further adding, coupled with his try scoring feat, that “He did a lot of good things defensively as well, he stopped a couple of tries so we are really happy to have him back in the squad.” Wakefield’s fans will, no doubt, be chuffed to have him back in the fold, too, as the 22 year old prepares to compete with Mason Caton-Brown, Ben Jones-Bishop and Bill Tupou for a Trinity wing berth for the upcoming season.