WINGER TOM Johnstone’s spectacular return from injury delighted Wakefield Trinity coach Chris Chester – and gave him a headache.
Johnstone scored a hat-trick of tries, including a length of the field sprint, in Trinity’s 62-0 pre-season win over Championship visitors Halifax.
It was his first match since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury last April and Chester said: “I was really pleased to see Tom back in the side.
“He probably could have played on Boxing Day [when Trinity lost 17-10 to Leeds Rhinos], but we wanted to give him the full nine months.
“He is an exciting young talent and he did a lot of good things.
“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 were without several key first-choice players and Chester enthused: “We had some quality players sat on the sidelines and that’s exciting – there’s more firepower to come in.
“I said to the guys at full-time they are going to give me some headaches in these next couple of weeks leading into the [opening Betfred Super League] game at Hull KR.”
Reflecting on the 11-try display, Chester added: “There were some good individual performances, but collectively I thought we improved from the Boxing Day fixture.
“We did a lot of things good with the ball and some very good things without the ball. I questioned some of the attitude and the effort in the Boxing Day game and we were a lot better in certain areas. We are not getting carried away, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Chester felt the clean sheet in defence was the most encouraging aspect. He stressed: “We scored some fantastic tries and looked good with the ball, but we looked even better defensively.
“We never looked under any kind of threat. I was a bit disappointed with discipline in terms of the penalty count – which was 9-2 or 9-3 against us – but overall I was pretty pleased.”
Trinity came through injury-free and Chester said he is unlikely to risk any first-choice players in Sunday’s third pre-season game at Batley Bulldogs.