Johnstone pays credit to Smith

Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone says Brian Smith was “a bit mad” with some of his methods but has paid credit to his former coach.

Smith resigned as Wildcats coach last month.

Johnstone has been in fine form this season and believes the coaching of the Australian veteran, who has been in the game for more than three decades, was a good influence on him.

“With Brian Smith he just seemed a bit mad at times, with some of the things he did,” he told the BBC.

“Juggling, we got set that over the off-season, to learn how to juggle because he said it would help with our hand to eye coordination.

“It took me a while to get used to but I managed to get up to four balls in the end but not for very long.

“The 6.30am starts they used to kill the boys, they were awful. We would come in and we were like zombies.

“But I can’t thank him enough for what he did for me, he gave me my first starting squad number and did a lot work with me in the off-season personally like videos and pulling me aside to do little drills on his own.

“He really put some belief into me.”

The 20-year has bagged 17 tries in 24 games, crossing for seven tries in 10 appearances this season.

Johnston said current Wakefield boss Chris Chester has also been good for him.

“Chris Chester’s the same really,” he said.

“They’ve both helped me out loads and just given me a lot of belief and confidence. It’s massive to have a good head coach and to have a good relationship with them.

“I’m really enjoying my rugby at the minute, I’ve actually never been happier than I am now. I think it kind of shows on the field.”

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