17th April 2019, 10:19 | wakefield_trinity
Fifita, who this week signed a three-year contract extension that will almost certainly see him end his career in Trinity colours, has collected maximum points from each of his last three performances to go top of the Man of Steel leaderboard.
The Tongan prop reveals that the source of inspiration behind his sparkling form is England winger Johnstone, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with ruptured knee ligaments.
Fifita has written Johnstone’s name on his wrist strapping, ready to display his loyalty to his team-mate if he scores a try in Thursday’s televised Betfred Super League derby at Castleford Tigers.
“I’m enjoying the culture at Wakefield at the moment,” Fifita said. “We’ve lost a few numbers and we’ve all had to put in for each other.
“The big one for me is Tom Johnstone who’s done a second ACL in two years. He had the season of his life last year – Dream Team, England debut – and it’s sad seeing blokes like that go down.
“I write his name on my strapping tape every week so he’ll always know I’m playing for him.”
Wakefield’s injury situation worsened after last Friday’s win over Wigan Warriors, with Fifita’s front row partner Anthony England and both half-backs Danny Brough and Jacob Miller ruled out of Thursday’s game.
With Bill Tupou, Craig Huby and Tyler Randell also on the sidelines, coach Chris Chester has been forced to recall Ben Reynolds and Chris Annakin from loan spells in the Championship to cover the absentees going into the busy Easter period.
👀 Who’s ready for tomorrow?#BraggingRights are up for grabs!— Wakefield Trinity (@WTrinityRL) April 17, 2019
🏟 Mend-A-Hose Jungle
🎫 Tickets remains on sale in the Ridings Club Shop!#SLCasWak pic.twitter.com/5IolgmZ6mI
However, Fifita says confidence remains high.
“There was a real buzz today in training,” he said. “We’ve lost our two main halves, who are our captain and vice-captain, so as a squad we’ve all stepped up.”
Third-placed Castleford are above opponents Wakefield only on points difference after losing four of their last six matches, and coach Daryl Powell admits there is pressure on his side to perform.
“We’ve not been in great form and they’ve been chalking wins off,” Powell said.
“We’ve just got to focus on ourselves. It’s a big game, they’re in and around us in the table so it’s an important game.”
🐯| “It’s a big game for everybody including the fans and we need to win."— Castleford Tigers (@CTRLFC) April 16, 2019
Head coach Daryl Powell is excited for the Easter period, starting with this Thursday's clash with Wakefield at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle!
In Thursday’s other opening Easter fixture, London Broncos will seek to end a three-match losing run when they host Catalans Dragons.
Dragons coach Steve McNamara is expecting heavyweight forward Sam Kasiano to start making his considerable presence felt after “nursing” him through his first month in Super League.
The 19st 12lb Samoan front rower has had little game time since arriving from Melbourne Storm but scored his first try on his fourth substitute appearance in last Saturday’s golden-point defeat by Hull FC and is tipped by his coach to build on that impressive show.
“We’ve got a bit of work to do with him and we’re working through that,” McNamara said.
“He cracked his ankle in his first game so his training has been limited. It’s been tough on him because he wants to make the best impression he can.
“We’ve been nursing him through those first couple of weeks but he’s looking in a whole lot better shape now, so we’re looking for more to come as the season unfolds.”