Wakefield 24-38 Catalans: Steve McNamara highlights pitch problems as head coach praises Johnstone

Josh McAllister
Steve McNamara

Catalans boss Steve McNamara has praised winger Tom Johnstone following his hat-trick performance against his former club for a 38-24 opening victory for the Dragons.

The head coach also highlighted pitch problems at Belle Vue, insisting it’s a “big issue” for Wakefield and their season. 

Johnstone, 27, scored a hat-trick on his debut, crossing twice in the first half before completing his treble early in the second 40.

On the other side, Tom Davies crossed twice while Matthieu Laguerre and Cesar Rouge gave McNamara’s side the victory.

On Johnstone’s first performance in Catalans colours, McNamara said: “They were three class finishes but Tom has been renowned for it throughout his career.

“He actually does a lot of hard work and some of his yardage carries early on were really good.

“I didn’t want the quality of his performance to be determined by whether he scored a try or not. But to score three in spectacular fashion is one of the reasons why we signed him.”

Steve McNamara on Wakefield’s pitch problems

On debut, Adam Keighran was named in the halves for Catalans in an understrength side. They were without Sam Tomkins, Mitchell Pearce, Tyrone May, Siosiua Taukeiaho and Mike McMeeken. Meanwhile, Manu Ma’u was named for his first appearance in the back-row.

McNamara also highlighted Trinity’s new playing surface, saying: “That was a pretty tough game on a pitch where the boys have got no skin left on their legs – they are red raw.

“It’s an issue, a big issue I think, for Wakefield moving forward for their players.

“I hadn’t seen anything like before in terms of the blisters and the blood in the dressing room from that field.

“If that’s the outcome, then I’m definitely not a fan of that pitch. It’s going to create issues, I’m sure.

“We don’t have to play on it again. But Wakefield are going to have to play on it every other week.”

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