Katherine's Young Citizen of the Year hasn't been in town for long, but he's already made his presence felt in multiple local sports.
Nathaniel MacKinnon is a fighter, Aussie Rules and Rugby League fan, but he won his award through his coaching and mentorship of young people in Katherine.
Originally from the Gold Coast, Nathaniel arrived in Katherine in 2020 to work at St. Joseph's Catholic College as a teacher.
His job has opened up coaching opportunities where students and players tend to overlap.
"I coach the under twelve Bulldogs [Rugby League] and I coach the under twelve school side [Australian Rules]. They hadn't had one for a few years so I had to start that one back up again," he said.
"And I coach a couple of the [Muay Thai] fighters... who are kids I teach from school."
He loves coaching and sees the award he won at yesterday's Australia Day ceremony as a bonus on top of enjoying his work.
"I was very surprised to be nominated... it was nice enough to be noticed... but to win, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it to be honest," he said.
Nathaniel focuses on getting kids out of the house and at training as often as possible by making the sessions as fun as he can.
"A lot of the coaching courses I've done, they emphasise game based stuff... it helps get the kids involved and gets them to come back," he said.
He sees more value in sport than physical fitness though and said the kids can learn many life lessons.
"It does go beyond sport, sport allows for a lot of things.
"The friends they make from sport, the respect you build with it, the commitment and discipline you develop."
He said the town has embraced his efforts as parents look for a social and sporting outlet for their children, and he credits the parent's acceptance as contributing to his award.
"Sport here in Katherine, it's a big deal especially sports for kids," Nathaniel said.
"If you're a newcomer who embraces it I guess the town is going to want to celebrate that."
A lifelong sports fan, Nathaniel still has competitive fire which has driven him to enter the Muay Thai ring for amateur fights.
"I played rugby league for about eight years growing up in Queensland, played AFL for a few years as well," he said.
"I did kick-boxing when I was at uni, and taekwondo when I was a kid but I started [Muay] Thai when I was here... I had two fights last year."
Nathaniel doesn't plan on slowing down in 2021. His schedule is already packed with his eye set on improving his coaching skills and a long-term goal of starting a school academy, so young people can pursue athletic and sports-related careers.
"I'm going to uni, I'm going to do a graduate diploma in sport coaching and leadership, at the end of the year I'll be able to do my next lot of coaching courses for AFL and NRL," he said.
"Hopefully I get to go ringside and fight more this year.
"But the long term plan is I'd love to start a sporting academy at a high school, I don't care what sport it is... have an academy set up where they can explore careers in nutrition, personal training, sports administration, just anything like that."
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