Johnstone: Widnes ready for tough test

Jordan Johnstone believes that matching the physicality of Leigh will be the key to Widnes winning Thursday’s Super League meeting between the two teams.

Johnstone, who has recently extended his deal with the club until the end of 2019, has become one of the Vikings’ star performers in 2017.

With a weekend away from competitive action for the Vikings, Jordan says that the intensity of training for the squad has taken a step up ahead of Thursday’s crucial tie.

“It’s been tough this week with us having no game on the weekend,” he said. “This has meant that the volume and intensity of the training has had to be a bit higher to keep us nice and sharp for Leigh.”

The Vikings head into the fixture with the intention of securing their third successive home victory, following recent successes over Leeds and Catalan. Johnstone says the Vikings squad are determined to make the Halton Stadium a tough place to visit.

“We’re really excited about extending the winning home run,” he added.

“We really dug deep for each other in those last two home games, and I think that we’ve turned a corner in the last few weeks defensively. I thought we looked strong.

“Our crowd have been incredible too. They’re like having an extra player on the field. In the last two home games, against Leeds and Catalan, the fans were right behind us and they helped us get the wins. We want another one this week.”

The upturn in form from Denis Betts’ side has coincided with the return of many experienced first team stars back into the squad. The young hooker believes that the increased competition has been crucial.

“It’s great to have experienced, senior players coming back,” said Johnstone.

“We now have competition for places and we haven’t had that for most of this year. There’s greater depth and competition across the field, and everyone has to be on their game to keep their place.”

The Vikings are fully focused on Thursday evening’s game against Leigh, and Johnstone says that matching their forward pack will be vital to ensuring success.

“Leigh are without doubt a big and tough side,” he said.

“They don’t try to go around you, they want to go straight through you. We have to match them physically, and if we do that we can get the two points.”

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