“I haven’t seen anything like that in terms of blisters and blood like that in there.” – Steve McNamara blasts Wakefield pitch as Catalans boss hails Adam Keighran and Tom Johnstone

CATALANS DRAGONS inflicted a 38-24 defeat on Wakefield Trinity at Belle Vue tonight in what proved to be an entertaining affair.

At the heart of the story was Catalans winger Tom Johnstone, who found fame on the wing at Wakefield during his time in West Yorkshire.

Johnstone registered a hat-trick against his former side with three brilliant finishes and Dragons head coach Steve McNamara waxed lyrical about the winger.

“Three class finishes, he has been renowned for it during his career, but some of his yardage carries were really good for us early on,” McNamara said.

“I didn’t want him to determine the quality of his performance on scoring a try. We wanted him to do other things for the team and he did that. He scored some spectacular finishes. It’s obvious why we wanted to sign him.

“I thought our kicking game was good, it’s the start of the season, you’ve got to do some basic things really well at the start of the season and one of those things is to kick the ball really well.

“We spent a lot of time with Tom. The advantage of our pre-season was that we only had eight players for the first four weeks of training and Tom was one of those.

“When you’ve got 30 kids in a classroom it’s hard to give attention but when you have eight you can be really particular. It was an MOT and we made sure to put him in the best position possible to prevent further injuries.

McNamara admitted it’s been “a tough period” at the club following a difficult pre-season.

“It’s been a tough period, every coach will have their own story at this stage. A French team on the back of a World Cup and we lost Mitchell Pearce during the week and Siua (Taukeiaho) this morning.

“We had to make some adjustments. On the back of not being able to play genuine trial games, physically we looked pretty good for the majority of the game.

“We conceded four games on our tryline which is clearly not good enough. Siua’s had an injection in his knee to settle the cartilage down but it didn’t settle down in time for today. Mitchell had a tight calf at the start of the week so we left him back in France.”

The Catalans boss was particularly happy with new signing Adam Keighran who came to the south of France to play centre only to find himself in the halves.

“I thought Cesar Rouge and Adam Keighran were great. Keighran has trained all pre-season in the centre and on our last training session we threw him in the halves and he showed some real quality out there himself.”

McNamara also lamented the state of Wakefield’s pitch which is now a hybrid field, emphasising the blisters and blood in the dressing room after the game.

“The boys have got no skin left on their legs, it’s a big issue for Wakefield moving forward. I haven’t seen anything like that in terms of blisters and blood like that in there.

“I’m not a fan of the new pitches if that’s the outcome. That’s going to create issues I’m sure and they will have to play on it every other week.

“I didn’t realise it was quite like that. I’ve seen pictures during pre-season, but it’s an issue. That’s the worst dressing room for skin taken care off legs without a doubt.”