WAKEFIELD TRINITY winger Tom Johnstone insists he hasn’t set himself a target for the new season, but Betfred Super League’s top-try-scorer accolade is definitely on his mind.
Johnstone is 11/1 third-favourite with the competition sponsors to be Super League’s leading try scorer after the regular season’s 29 rounds, but insisted he doesn’t have a specific total in mind.
“I’ve not set a number, I never have,” said Johnstone, who was pipped to top spot last year by Man of Steel Ben Barba.
“It is something you want to achieve, you want to be up there with the best of them and from the half-backs and the players we have at Wakefield now I think it is very achievable.
“It is something I really aim towards, but I don’t set myself a goal.
“I just take it as it comes and see what happens.”
Johnstone will be Trinity’s most potent attacking weapon this year and scored five tries in his two warm-up games, both against Super League opposition.
He reckons he is in a much better situation now than 12 months ago.
He battled back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered the previous season, but was dropped for a spell as Mason Caton-Brown took his place in the side.
Johnstone bounced back to finish with 24 tries – from as many appearances – and was called into the England squad for the autumn internationals.
He scored a hat-trick on his Test debut against France, but was not selected for the following series against New Zealand.
“It was a really sketchy start for me last year,” he recalled.
“Coming back from injury was a big one, it played a lot on my mind and I think it got the better of me in games.
“Fair enough I was dropped for it and Mason got his opportunity, but towards the end of the year I started to get to grips with everything again and went from strength to strength, just missing out on top try scorer.
“Then I managed to get selected for my first England camp which was a massive experience for me.
“Although it didn’t go fully as I’d hoped it was a massive learning curve and it has helped me massively going into this pre-season and this season with things I need to improve on.”
Danny Brough’s return to Trinity, from Huddersfield Giants, should ensure Johnstone isn’t short of opportunities.
The winger described Brough’s kick which created the first of his two tries in last week’s pre-season win over Huddersfield Giants as “special”.
He said: “The ball itself fooled me.
“He faked a dummy to the sticks which everyone on the pitch I think went for, then off the outside of his boot kicked it 40 yards on a pin-point kick straight to me.
“It was outstanding and something I am looking forward to reaping the rewards from this year.”
He added: “Broughy is a fantastic player and a player we’ve always been nervous to play against over the past four years I’ve been playing.
“To have him now as a weapon for us and for me to play off the back of him, it is very exciting and something I think will take us to that next level.”
Trinity begin their campaign in the final match of round one, away to promoted London Broncos on Sunday.