DION Johnstone has not given up on playing at the country’s top level just yet.
The ex-North Warrnambool Eagle was delisted by Melbourne at season’s end after two seasons at the Demons since being drafted with pick 64 in the 2016 national draft. The 20-year-old, who didn’t play an AFL game, was given the chance to continue his career at stand-alone VFL club Port Melbourne on Friday.
Johnstone, who was drafted as a small forward before being switched to defence, said he was eager to make a big impression in the state league and stamp his claim to be redrafted in 2019.
“I obviously want to have a good year next year in the VFL and hopefully put my name up for getting drafted again,” he said. “That’s another thing that Port was willing to do. They want to work hard with me and develop me into hopefully getting picked again after next season.”
Johnstone said fellow south-west export Sam Dwyer, an ex-Collingwood midfielder and now assistant coach at Port Melbourne, was a key factor in him joining the Borough.
“He (Sam) caught up with me in my first meeting with the club and it was good to have someone down from that (south-west) way,” he said. “I thought I could build a strong relationship with him and have a good connection coming from the same sort of area.”
Johnstone said he was keen to get into training and was also looking forward to improving his skills as a utility in the Gary Ayres-coached side.