Wakefield Wildcats: I want to shine from the off - Johnson

Rookie Paul Johnson is hoping Wakefield Trinity Wildcats' Boxing Day visit to Leeds Rhinos beats the big freeze.

The former St Helens academy prop is in line to make his first appearance for Wildcats – and he's keen for the opportunity to show what he can do.

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Coach John Kear has declared himself pleased with the way all his signings have handled themselves in training, but Johnson knows match action is a different proposition.

"I want to try and impress, to try and claim a place in the first Super League game," said Johnson – who is no relation to the player of the same name who spent last season at Wildcats.

"I want to play as many games as I can and show what I can do. Hopefully I can play on Boxing Day and get off to a good start.

"I think I have been doing pretty well in training, so hopefully I can take it out on to the pitch when we start playing."

Other clubs were interested in Johnson, but he has no doubt that he made the right move.

"I'm really enjoying it," he said. "All the lads and all the coaching staff have been really welcoming.

"I had one or two options, but Wakefield were really keen and I liked what they said to me.

"I thought it would be a good move and I am made up that I made that decision."

First team rugby is Johnson's first aim at his new club.

"I played two first team games at Saints, against Huddersfield and Wigan away," he recalled. "I didn't play for that long, but the experience was really good and I learned a bit from it.

"I would have liked to have got longer, but I was just happy to be involved.

"Hopefully now I can get some games under my belt at Wakefield, impress John and keep my place in the team.

"As long as I keep doing well, hopefully I'll be playing plenty of games."

Johnson has been signed as a front-rower, but he stressed: "I'll play anywhere in the forwards, prop, back-row or loose-forward.

"Wherever John wants me to play, I'll play. I just want to play as many games as I can."

Kear's policy for 2011 has been to sign players with a point to prove, many of them – like Johnson – from a rival club's academy.

"It's a good policy," Johnson said. "There's quite a few of us who want a chance at playing Super League and John has given us that chance.

"The squad we've here is really good. It is pretty young, but everyone's keen and we all get on well.

"I'm sure we'll do really well next year.

"Training is going well and everyone's looking good."

Rhinos are confident that Sunday's game will go ahead, despite the freezing temperatures.

Kear admitted training has been "difficult" because of the weather, but stressed: "We have done really well.

"We've been to the Sports Barn in Huddersfield and we were at Sheffield United the other morning – they have a full-size indoor pitch.

"I have been pretty happy and we've managed to avoid a lot of problems. I'm keen to see how we go, so I am hoping that the Boxing Day game goes ahead."

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