Huddersfield Giants v Wakefield Trinity: Mercurial winger Tom Johnstone returns to boost Wakefield
THE LONG-AWAITED return of winger Tom Johnstone will give Wakefield Trinity a “massive boost” going into tomorrow’s game at Huddersfield Giants, coach Chris Chester says.
Johnstone has played only four times this year, after initially being sidelined by a long-term concussion and then suffering a knee injury which required surgery.
But the England flier, known for his spectacular touchdowns from seemingly impossible angles, has been named in Trinity’s initial 21-man squad for this weekend and Chester admitted he can’t wait to see him back in action.
“As long as he gets through [today’s] team run, he will be fit and available to play,” Chester confirmed.
“I think that’s a massive boost for everybody, especially Tom.
“He has been through the mill over the last couple of years so to have him back out there will be really pleasing.”
Johnstone is known as one of Super League’s best finishers, but Chester stressed he will not be putting pressure on a player who has had a series of injury setbacks during his senior career.
“We are not expecting a great deal of him in the first couple of weeks,” Chester admitted.
“He has been out for such a long period of time, but we are looking forward to seeing him back.”
The first target for Johnstone is to get a run of games under his belt.
Chester added: “He deserves some luck.
“He has had two acl (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstructions and pretty much wrote two season off.
“It has been really challenging for the kid, but he is mentally tough and he is looking forward to getting out there.
“He has been great in his rehab’ and he is ahead of schedule, which is pleasing.
“Just to have him in the team will give not just the staff and players a boost, but the fans as well.
“He is one of our best players and a world-class finisher.”
England forward Joe Westerman is also set to return tomorrow, but Chester said half-back Mason Lino is in doubt because of an ankle injury.
He added: “There’s a couple of players who under-performed last week [when Wakefield lost at Catalans Dragons] who we are contemplating leaving on the sidelines.
“There will be a couple of changes, but nothing too drastic.
“We haven’t got enough players to keep swapping and changing and there’s some guys who are really busting a gut.
“The makeup of the side will be a little bit different and hopefully the outcome is as well.”
Huddersfield Giants: from Golding, McGillvary, Jake Wardle, Yates, Jones, English, Greenwood, McQueen, Wilson, Cudjoe, Russell, L Senior, Trout, S Wood, Hewitt, Ashall-Bott, Pryce, Peteru, Peats, Roby.
Wakefield Trinity: from Jowitt, Johnstone, Lyne, Kay, Miller, Lino, Fifita, K Wood, Arona, Ashurst, Tanginoa, Westerman, Battye, Batchelor, Green, I Senior, Arundel, B Walker, Aydin, Hampshire.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).
Kick-off: Tomorrow, 3pm.