Coach pays tribute to Rookie of the Year
RUGBY UNION: Gladstone Goats and Tannum Sands Seagulls prop Dylan Johnson has had a busy season.
The 18-year-old has juggled the 13 and 15-a-side codes this season with his impact felt greatly at the Goats after picking up the club Rookie of the Year award.
Gladstone Goats' coach Sam Carey believes season 2017 is only the beginning for Johnson after playing juniors for the Goats.
"Dylan certainly came into his own and if he sticks with rugby I believe he'll be one of our next successful players to go onto bigger and better things,” Carey said.
"He's got all the makings and he's just starting to find himself and assert himself against some much more experienced guys in the competition.
"He's certainly one to watch for the future.”
Johnson played seven games of league with Tannum this season (two A-grade, one reserves and four under-20s matches) and played eight times for the Goats.
While other coaches might push Johnson towards the path of one particular code over the other, Carey approaches it differently.
"I'd never want to put those pressures on anyone and we're only talking bush footy here. It's what the player wants to do that gives them fun on the weekend,” he said.
"The moment you start doing those sort of things on guys you put unnecessary pressure and expectations on them.
"They're still young and they'll do what they want to do - we've just got to make it as fun and enjoyable as we can when they come down and hopefully that sways their decision for themselves.
"We're not playing for sheep stations at the end of the day... obviously we'll welcome anyone who wants to play rugby with open arms.”
Johnson isn't the only player Carey is looking forward to seeing run around in 2018.
"Another guy who we're looking forward to seeing next year is Jaylyn (Tanoi),” he said.
"He broke his leg just as our season was about to start and we had high expectations to see how he'd unfold but next year (2018) he'll be back.
"We'll be keen to see how he plays around the inside backs.”