LESSONS learned the hard way have left new Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles signing Karl Johnson convinced he can fulfil his dream of playing in the NRL.
New Sea Eagle Karl Johnson says his goal is to succeed with the Sunshine Coast, but he would love to play in the NRL.
Officially unveiled as the Sea Eagles' latest recruit yesterday – although he played his first game with the club last weekend – the giant centre has come to the Coast after almost three seasons with Rockhampton's Central Comets.
The 102kg and 190cm Kiwi had stints with Manly, North Queensland and Newcastle but played only in trials.
At 26, he says his party days are now behind him and he sees the Coast as the perfect place to prosper.
“I was young and wanted to party a little bit. I wish I knew what I know now,” Johnson said.
“If I could do it all again, I'd change a lot of different things.
“I was always training hard, but I was partying hard as well. It was mainly off-the-field stuff that was holding me back.
“I've addressed that now. I've sort of grown up now.”
Johnson, who has lived in Australia for seven years and also played for North Sydney, had an up-and-down season with the struggling Comets and is happy to have a fresh start on the Coast.
He said Sea Eagles coach Brandon Costin contacted him on Monday last week and the Comets decided to release him.
“It's been hard trying to find some form. I've been playing solid, but apparently it wasn't good enough,” he said.
“I was very, very surprised (to be approached by Costin) and also very happy.
“Rocky is sort of running in a dead end, football-wise – it's just been a tough year up there.
“It's good getting an opportunity to come down here and find some form.”
The Comets are second last on the table with only four wins from 15 games.
Reigning premier Sunshine Coast, which meet Souths Logan away on Saturday, is in seventh place after posting seven wins and will need Johnson to fire as it chases a finals spot.
Johnson was cited for a dangerous tackle in the Sea Eagles' 38-12 loss to East Tigers in the last round, but escaped with a caution.
He said Costin had told him to do his job and he should do well.
“At the moment my goal is playing with the Sunny Coast and working hard with them, but if an opportunity (to play NRL) comes up at the end of the year, I'll take it,” he said.
“I want to get back in there full-time, in that full-time training environment.
“I think that's what every league player is aiming to achieve.”