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Dion Johnstone living the footy dream

Dion Johnstone is on an indigenous scholarship to Scotch College.
南京夜网

DION Johnstone feels at home on a football field, dazzling in the forward line or filling a hole in defence.

But it took the classy utility time to adjust to his new surroundings when he moved from Warrnambool to take up an indigenous sporting scholarship at Scotch College at the start of the year.

Dion, 16, soon found a niche for himself at his new school — on and off the field.

He established a spot in Scotch College’s firsts, despite being in year 10, and settled into his boarding house.

“It is really good. I like it a lot better now,” he said.

“When I first went there it was a bit daunting going down and not knowing anyone at a big school. But once you know people and make new friends it’s a lot easier.”

Dion is on a scholarship similar to the one three-time Hawthorn premiership forward Cyril Rioli took up when he moved, aged 14, from Darwin in 2004.

The former Brauer College student said he was happy to be given the same chance as the creative Hawk goalsneak.

“I definitely recommend it because not all indigenous kids get an opportunity like this,” Dion said.

“I recommend it to any indigenous kids who want to follow their dreams in any sport.

“If they want to do it, make the right decisions, put your head down and try your hardest.”

Dion, home in Warrnambool this week on work experience at Rodney Ryan’s gym, played a small forward role for Scotch College in his first year. “It was only me and another year 10 who played permanently and a couple were called up for one or two games,” he said of playing for the school’s top team.

Dion, who represented indigenous team Flying Boomerangs at the 2013 AFL under 16 national championships, played for Hampden league club North Warrnambool Eagles when school football commitments allowed.

He notched seven appearances for the Eagles’ premiership-bound under 16 side and made his senior debut in a qualifying final.

“It was a real surprise but I was really happy,” Dion said of the shock senior call-up.

“It was a really big eye-opener and I didn’t know too many of the boys.

“I think I handled it pretty good.”

Dion, who spoke to Merrivale Primary School pupils about his journey on Tuesday morning, is unsure if he will travel home to play for the Bushfield-based club next year.

“I am trying out for Oakleigh Chargers’ TAC Cup team, trying out for the 18s team,” he said. “If I make that I will play up there (Melbourne).”

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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