Johnstone NRL rumours “a load of rubbish”, says Chris Chester

Wakefield coach Chris Chester has rubbished speculation they have received approaches from NRL sides for winger Tom Johnstone.

Reports in Australia had suggested at least one NRL side has made contact with Trinity about Johnstone, who is under contract with the club until the end of 2020.

But Chester told League Express that is not the case.

When asked if they had received any expressions of interest, he said: “None whatsoever.

“I’ve spoken to Michael (Carter, chairman) and there has been no contact from anyone at all. I keep a close interest in what’s happening in the NRL, and when I read that report, it took us by surprise at the club.

“Neither myself nor Michael have been contacted by anyone. Tom is happy at Wakefield Trinity, he’s got plenty of years here yet – it’s a load of rubbish as far as I’m concerned.”

After back-to-back wins to start the season, Wakefield head to Catalans on Saturday – and Chester admits he has some tough decisions to make after a number of players forced their way into his thinking during last week’s reserve clash with Halifax.

He said: “I’m pleased for the likes of Mason Caton-Brown, Joe Arundel and Jordan Baldwinson. They played really well, and those three come into my thoughts for the Catalans game.”

Chester also admitted had it not been for Wakefield’s newly-formed reserve grade, they may not have been under consideration.

“If we hadn’t have had that reserve game, they’d have definitely missed out. It shows the benefit of it. I remember when I played at Wigan, Hull and Halifax, and you always knew there was a chance of forcing your way into the coach’s thinking with a good game in the reserves. It’s fantastic for us to have.”

And with games against Catalans and Huddersfield in quick succession, Chester revealed he will use as much of his squad as possible over that two-game period.

“We’ve picked a couple of sides; one will go to Catalans and the other will play against Huddersfield, and there will be a fair bit of rotation in and amongst.

“We’ve got a fit and healthy squad barring Tyler Randell, but yes, there’ll be some fresh faces coming in over the next week or two.”

Chester also revealed that Randell is nearing a recovery from the knee injury he suffered in pre-season, and he is likely to come into contention for Trinity in round five.