Gold Coast Suns young gun Lloyd Johnston is feeling refreshed and ready to make an impact at AFL level in 2024.
After spending the pre-Christmas training period back home due to cultural reasons, Johnston said he is excited to be back into it and that his mind and body is feeling 'perfect' ahead of his second season at the club.
"I want to play a lot more (AFL) this year," Johnston told the Suns' media team.
"Since I've been back I have been in the club every day, I've been working on my running, doing my kicking and doing my craft with the coaches every day."
The 19-year-old from Borroloola in the Northern Territory was added to the Suns' list at the end of the 2022 season via the club's Darwin Academy Zone.
He caught the attention of scouts after an impressive debut season for Wanderers, which saw him win the Northern Territory Football League's Rising Star award in 2021/22.
That same season, Johnston also represented the NTFL in a clash against SANFL outfit Woodville West Torrens.
Described by the Suns as an eye-catching, speedy defender, Johnston broke through for an AFL debut against Carlton in Round 23 last year and retained his spot for the game against North Melbourne the following week.
He played 19 games at VFL level, averaging 13 disposals per game, and was a member of the Suns' grand final winning team against Werribee.
Johnston said the VFL flag and taste of AFL last season has given him plenty of motivation heading into the season.
"Winning that VFL grand final has pushed me a lot to make the AFL and hopefully make it into the finals this year to play on the biggest stage," he said.
'It's a very fast sport, you have to be switched on for all minutes of the game, it's very different to VFL."
The Garawa man also said that he enjoys being a role model for young kids who aspire to play at the elite level.
"One of the best things about being an AFL player is giving back to the community, going out to schools," he said.
"Being a young kid and having higher players come out to my school, it was exciting to see that, it gives you that motivation to want to be where they are."