The Gold Coast is fast becoming a home away from home for Northern Territory recruit and SUNS Academy graduate Lloyd Johnston.

The athletic defender joined the SUNS on the final day of the 2022 NAB AFL Draft period after impressing for both the SUNS VFL side and for the Allies at the 2022 NAB AFL U18 National Championships.

The move to the Sunshine State has been tough, but the support of his new housemates – fellow Indigenous teammates Jy Farrar and Joel Jeffrey, has the proud Yanyuwa man loving every minute in his new home.

“Moving away from home has been the biggest challenge for me so far. All my family are up in the Northern Territory so moving away from them has been a challenge,” Johnston told SUNS media.

“Being with Joel & Jy, I knew them from up in Darwin, so they’ve made me feel like I’m at home.

“I don’t really worry about home when I’m with them.”

The 18-year-old, who returned to the Territory over the break to see family and friends, says he’s had plenty of support from across the club since making the move with the experienced Sean Lemmens playing a leading role.

“Lemmo’s the best. I look up to that guy, he’s a great character,” Johnston added.

Now heading into the third week of pre-season preparations following the Christmas break, the intensity isn’t waning at SUNS training, but Johnston is loving every minute of it.

“It is hard, I’ll tell you that, but I’m getting through it. The boys are super motivational, they keep me up and about, make sure I get through it all,” Johnston continued.

“The intensity is non-stop, you have to keep your energy up at all times.

“I’m absolutely loving it on the Gold Coast. I don’t think I could go to any other place, this place is #1 in my books.

“Being around these boys in this environment is amazing too.”