Mackay teen bound for South Sydney Rabbitohs
RUGBY LEAGUE: Signing with National Rugby League team, the South Sydney Rabbitohs is a dream come true for Mackay's Sam Johnstone.
"It's a pretty surreal feeling, it's been something I've wanted to do for a long time, pursue a career in the NRL," he said.
"I've been playing since under-8s and always working towards the dream, finally it's starting to happen now."
Johnstone officially signed with the Bunnies last Friday and will move to Sydney by himself in November.
The 17-year-old said there were a few other clubs interested in signing him but he had a good reason to go with South Sydney.
"I've barracked for them since I was about 10-years-old, so the love for the club has been pretty strong," Johnston said.
"Their facilities are amazing, the coaches and support staff around are fantastic too, and they're a successful club."
The Mackay State School student is a man mountain and plays in the front row.
He will play this weekend for the Souths Sharks under-18 team in the qualifying final in the Mackay Rugby League.
Johnstone's coach at Mackay State High School, Craig Monaghan said if anyone could succeed at the top level it would be Johnstone.
"For a kid his age, he's got in gallons, the talent," he said.
"He's a good leader, he's the vice captain at the school, so he's got a lot going for him as well." "He is the kind of kid that will train and do the things that he needs to do to make it."
Johnstone said next year his goal was to make the under-18 Maroons team and play five under-20 games.
"NRL is definitely a goal, it's a long way away, I realise I have to do a lot of work to go there," he said.
"Realistically, it's probably four years away to try and break into the side. The sooner the crack the better, but I'm willing to wait my turn."