Athlete has big plans for the future
GAYNDAH sportsman Ryley Drayton spreads his athletic ability across as many sporting platforms as he can but his heart will always lie with rugby league.
"I've been playing rugby league, touch and school athletics with some basketball for a while now," Ryley said.
"If I had to pick one sport it would be rugby league though," he said.
"There are more opportunities with it and I hope to one day get up to the bigger levels and make something of it."
Ryley has already found his greatest success in the rugby league arena.
"I have played in the Wide Bay rep teams, with the South Burnett Eagles and I've played in the Murri Carnival for Cherbourg. My end goal is the NRL and representative footy helps get me more exposure."
Ryley played for Gayndah in the Wide Bay Touch Football Championships at the weekend and spoke about some of the advantages of playing touch and rugby league.
"Focusing on my rugby league is where I am at right now, I'm also good at touch so I do try to focus on both of them as best I can," Ryley said.
"With touch I like being able to try running new lines and drawing people in to put my teammates through good holes.
"It's made easier to work on that when you don't have the risk of getting smashed in a tackle."
Ryley has been an avid sportsman since he was old enough to compete at any level.
"Since I was five years old I've been playing rugby league and athletics started when I was in prep at school," Ryley said.
"Sport is where my main love is at."
Ryley is a play maker in both touch and rugby league and generally will play in the halves and doesn't see restrictions to being in a rural area and making it big in league.
"I see NRL players who have gone from small country football to the big leagues and has shown me that no matter where you are you can make it," Ryley said.
And what advice does Ryley have for anyone else who has a natural ability for athletic endeavours?
"Just play as many sports as you can," Ryley said.
Ryley is set to go to Kingaroy for athletics and will compete in the 100 metres, 200 metres, long jump and triple jump.
He hopes to find his way into another Wide Bay representative sport to continue his progression as a multi sportsman.
"I think that it's handy to be able to play both touch and rugby league because the skills are transferable and I can work on different aspects of my game," Ryley said.
"Which is a big bonus for me and something I will keep doing."
Ryley's mother Kristy Drayton is her son's biggest supporter and was at the touch championships to cheer him on.
"I am always proud of what Ryley does and how he goes about competing," Ms Drayton said.
"He is going away for athletics soon, he really loves his sport and I always support him in that."