Youth leader's special feat
Ballina local Indigenous teenager George Johnson is an impressive achiever that has twice been recognised within the NRL as a leader of youth.
George rarely has the opportunity to attend NRL games but, for the Titans Indigenous Round match against the Roosters on Monday night, he was a special guest.
Johnson was invited to the game along with his Nan, Pop and two brothers to officiate the coin toss.
“The atmosphere was amazing and I really think that my family and I had an excellent time,” George said. “It was the first NRL game my little brother has been to so it was awesome to see him having fun.”
This wasn’t Johnson’s first experience as a ‘coin tosser’ at an NRL match as he was given the honour at the NRL All Stars match earlier this year at Suncorp Stadium. Johnson was one of the Titans’ representatives at the youth summit held in Brisbane as a part of the All Stars week.
He was crowned the male All Stars Youth Ambassador for 2016, the first time a Titans participant has won this award since its inception.
Being named an All Stars Youth Ambassador is no easy feat. The NRL club representatives must submit a written job application satisfying specific criteria and from their the top 10 male and females are selected to the interview stage.
The interview panel was made up of NRL staff, facilitators and corporate partners who asked a series of questions to which only two male and females advance to the presentation stage. Participants present their speech in front of all attendees to the Youth Summit and at the conclusion their peers vote the top male and female to be named the All Stars Youth Ambassadors.
After being named the male All Stars Youth Ambassador, Johnson and his female counterpart met the All Stars captains as they took up the coin toss duties for the match. It was an experience Johnson said he will never forget.
“The youth summit was the best experience of my life to date. I really can't say enough how much fun I had during that week and being named male ambassador by all of the other students was an absolute honour,” he said.
“Meeting the All Stars was just a dream come true, as a rugby league player myself, meeting those players was incredible.”
Johnson is now completing his year 12 certificate at Southern Cross K-12 in Ballina. When asked what his next big plans were after an exciting start to the year he responded: “Well for the rest of the term, the main focus is just to make sure that I get all my assignments in on time and done to the best of my ability.
“After school I am really hoping to do something in health, maybe nursing, pharmacy or just a health worker, something where I can help Indigenous Australians to become better.”
He is a Titans supporter his family, peers and this club are very proud of.