Tom Johnstone marked his long-awaited comeback with a hat-trick as Wakefield spoiled Hull KR’s party in their first game back in Super League.
The young winger missed most of the 2017 season with a serious knee injury but he quickly rediscovered the form that had put him in contention for an England place.
Wakefield came agonisingly close to securing a play-off place in Johnstone’s absence and they made a solid start to the new campaign with a comfortable 28-6 victory at KCOM Craven Park.
Rovers earned an immediate return to Super League through the Qualifiers but they never recovered from Matty Marsh’s early yellow card, with debutant Danny McGuire unable to inspire his new side.
Johnstone and Bill Tupou both crossed while Marsh was in the sin bin and Liam Finn strolled over just after his return to put Trinity in control.
Another Johnstone try made it 18-0 at half-time and he completed his treble after Chris Clarkson had got Rovers on the board, with Ryan Hampshire rounding off the scoring on a winning return to east Hull for coach Chris Chester.
Hull KR were hoping for a repeat of their thrilling victory over Trinity in their inaugural Super League match in 2007 but instead they got a reality check.
Wakefield targeted Rovers’ right edge from the start and Johnstone was the man to benefit as he made up for lost time.
The young winger’s break forced Marsh into a professional foul and Trinity ran in two tries with the stand-off in the bin.
Johnstone opened the scoring with a spectacular finish in the corner after showing good hands to hold onto a cut-out pass and then Jacob Miller put Tupou through a big gap with Rovers short on numbers out wide.
Marsh’s return did nothing to stem the tide, Finn taking advantage of weak defence to dummy his way over before adding his first goal at the third attempt.
McGuire had been vocal in the opening stages but only came into the game when former Leeds team-mate Shaun Lunt was introduced on 25 minutes.
Basic handling errors prevented the Robins from turning good field position into points and they were out of the match by half-time after Johnstone touched down in the corner from Miller’s pass.
Rovers improved after the break and twice went close as Marsh had a try ruled out for obstruction and Justin Carney was held up over the line.
The home fans eventually had something to celebrate after 56 minutes when McGuire’s lovely cut-out pass put Clarkson over next to the posts.
Rovers never looked like mounting a comeback, though, and Johnstone ended any lingering hope with another spectacular finish in the corner.
Chester, who was sacked by the Robins in February 2016, handed Hampshire his debut off the bench and he rounded off a miserable night for the hosts with a try from dummy half.