Moama's Aidyn Johnson’s AFL dreams have been hamstrung this year – he managed just five games.
But not where he wanted to be, on the field with Port Power.
Instead he got a start with Port Adelaide, the club’s SANFL side, before his season was cut short by a hamstring injury.
Picked at number 45 in last year’s AFL national draft via the Bendigo Pioneers, Johnson might have had hopes of following top 10 pick Clayton Oliver straight into the big time.
That never really got a chance to get off the ground but Johnson said what he has already seen and done has given him a taste for a big pre-season and even bigger 2017.
Moving from the Moama Magpies to SA’s premier black-and-white team seemed like a seamless transition for the talented speedster.
After the season had died down, Johnson has had time to reflect on the hurly burly of the big show.
“It was an awesome experience and a massive eye-opener to see the standard you have to be at to play AFL,” Johnson said.
“Especially being around guys I’ve looked up to in the past couple of years like Chad Wingard and Robbie Gray,” he said.
“It definitely didn’t sink in until the first few months of being there.”
So no AFL yet, but how did the rising talent find part of the season running out for the Magpies in the SANFL – still wearing Moama’s black and white?
“It was good to get a feel of a new competition.
“I only got a few games due to injury, which was unfortunate, but it was good to be out there playing football.
At Moama Johnson had been used as a winger who went forward but had to slot into any available slot at his new team to get a game.
“In my under 18 season I played predominantly on the wing, and would then would go forward,” he said.
“In the South Australian league I’d play predominantly as a half-forward.
“Next year I’d obviously love to play AFL, but before then I just have to get my body right and start playing some good footy, even if it does start in the SA league.
“But I’d always have my goal as an AFL debut.”
Johnson said apart from staying a Magpie, there has been one other factor which has played a big role in making him feel comfortable.
And that has been a very familiar face.
“Ollie’s (Ollie Wines) been great in making me feel welcome into the club,” Johnson.
“This started from when he came to greet me at the airport when I got into Adelaide – it was really good to see a familiar face in an unknown city.
“But really, the whole thing since I was drafted has been great, it’s been a good feeling to be a part of it.
“The fans here are very enthusiastic, which is good.
“And being a first-year player means I can probably fly under the radar a little bit with the increased media and fan following when you have guys like Ollie Wines playing.”
Truth be told though, Johnson probably won’t mind being picked up on everyone’s radar as long as it is on the field next to Wines and the rest of the Power – even if the uniform is no longer black and white.