“Wow, look at the size of him” – Johnstone on his first memory of Sonny Bill

Wakefield star Tom Johnstone has recalled one of his earliest memories of Toronto forward Sonny Bill Williams – and it involves another legendary Super League winger.

Tri-code legend Williams has made waves since his move to the Canadian club, attracting the attention of fans and the media across the globe.

Johnstone was set to come face-to-face with Sonny Bill last month when the two sides were supposed to meet in York, however the fixture was one of several to be postponed due to the enforced Covid-19 suspension.

It means the Trinity flyer will have to wait a little longer to come up against the former New Zealand international but he admits it will be a surreal moment when it happens.

“You watch these players for years,” Johnstone said. “I remember going to Elland Road when I was about nine and watching Sonny Bill play there (for Canterbury Bulldogs) against Leeds and absolutely smash Marcus Bai.

“I was thinking, ‘Wow, look at the size of him!’. Then this year I’m going to line up against him so that’s something pretty crazy in itself.

“To see the amount of stars who’ve been brought over now from the NRL into Super League, it’s pretty special so I’m really excited to test myself against players of the highest level.”

While Johnstone and Williams will almost certainly come up against each other in Super League, there’s a chance they may also face off at international level.

Johnstone made his England debut against France in October 2018. Credit: Richard Long/News Images

The World Cup is now less than two years away and while Sonny Bill may yet have to decide both whether or not to compete and who to pledge his allegiance to, Johnstone has his sights firmly set on a place in the England squad.

“The goal is to be involved in the World Cup,” he added. “To make that a reality I’ve got a lot of hard work still to do but it’s definitely the main goal over the next 18 months or so.

“I want to enjoy myself this year and get back to playing really well but I’m going to be doing everything I can to be a part of it.”

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