Tommy Johnson was delighted to pull on a North Wales Crusaders shirt for the first time in over a year during last weekend’s pre-season friendly at Barrow Raiders.

Crusaders’ leading goal-kicker and points-scorer of all time missed the entire 2019 campaign through injury.

But he came off the interchange bench in North Wales’ opening pre-season fixture, kicking two conversions in the second-half.

“It was really good to be back as I’d been out for a while,” Johnson said.

“It was a little bit weird to be honest as I’ve never been injured for that period of time before.

“As soon as I got my first touch in the game, it snapped me back into action.

“I was a little bit sore on Monday morning, but that’s bound to happen and it’ll no doubt get a lot easier the more games I play.”

Despite having a number of players missing and off-season recruits making up half of their squad, Crusaders challenged Barrow for large parts of the game, losing 24-16.

“I thought we gave a really good account of ourselves,” the 28-year-old added.

“They’ll be pushing for those top couple of places in League 1 and we ran them close.

“We had a lot of new faces and it’s going to take a bit of time for us to gel.

“That’ll no doubt come in these next couple of games.

“It’s going to be tough going to both Widnes and Whitehaven, but you want to play against good opposition as it brings the best out of you.

“These pre-season games will only stand us in good stead come the start of the league season.

“Making those play-offs has to be our goal this season and I think that’s achievable.

“There’s a lot of confidence in the camp and it’s coming together nicely.”

Crusaders travel to Widnes on Sunday (January 19), with tickets available to buy online.

NWC Rugby League