Wakefield Trinity's Tom Johnstone eyeing World Cup spot with England

TOM JOHNSTONE feels Wakefield Trinity ‘threw it away’ as they lost their Super League opener against Leeds Rhinos on Saturday.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 5:45 am
Tom Johnstone. Picture: SWpix.com.

After falling behind to a Luke Briscoe try in the fifth minute, Trinity responded well to score three tries without reply at Headingley.

Johnstone scored a remarkable try as he ran from inside his own 20-metre area, outpacing the chasing Leeds defence to put Wakefield on the board.

Mason Lino was impressive on his debut and combined with Reece Lyne to send opposite winger Innes Senior over for a smart finish in the right corner.

Chris Chester’s side extended their lead when Jacob Miller broke through before feeding forward Matty Ashurst to dot down.

However, the Rhinos responded in kind with three consecutive tries before the interval. Alex Sutcliffe got the ball rolling for Leeds before hooker Brad Dwyer burrowed over.

A contentious ball steal got the Rhinos on the front foot as Luke Gale sent Richie Myler through a gap just before half time.

Four minutes into the second half, Johnstone pouched Gale’s attacking kick out of the air and burst 80 metres for his second try, which Lino converted.

That hauled Wakefield level but Jack Broadbent restored Leeds’ advantage 15 minutes later as Trinity were unable to come up with another answer.

“It is the same as last year, a 10 to 15-minute interval where we just go penalty, penalty, try,” reflected Johnstone.

“We just throw it away. It is just too hard to do, especially against good teams.

“If you want to be at the top you have to cut that out but it just crept back in there. We lost it for ourselves again.

"There are too many intervals we let them get on top and it is just too hard to come back from.”

Johnstone was awarded the man of the match after a fine individual display and of his two long-range tries, he said: “I am just trying to make up for all the ones I have missed, it was 2018 when I scored my last long-range one.

“I have just got to kick on this year and I wanted to start with a bang.”

Things don’t get any easier for Wakefield as they face Wigan Warriors in St Helens on Wednesday.

Adrian Lam’s side had a testing start to their 2021 campaign as they narrowly defeated rivals Leigh Centurions on Friday evening.

On what Wakefield need to do to come away with a victory, Johnstone added: “It is just about staying focused, stopping the penalties and staying in the grind for longer.

“We can’t keep falling off after 20 minutes, we need to try to stay on top.”

Johnstone is keen to feature at this autumn’s Rugby League World Cup in England He will have put himself firmly in England head coach Shaun Wane’s thoughts after his performance on Saturday.

“That is the goal this year, to try and work my way into there.” said Johnstone of his England ambitions.

“There are a lot of good players pushing for it and I just want to be one of them.”