Sinn goes through his pregame warmup with teammate Luca Macnab
'Dragons Tales' is a series of indepth feature stories on some of our top prospects in 2021, exploring their junior careers, their upbringing, the ups and downs of the dealing with COVID complications and more, written by Jonty Ralphsmith. This week we will be focusing on the dashing and versatile Josh Sinn.
Josh Sinn will always be an Old Xavierian.
If an AFL career does not work out, he reckons he will be having a crack at Toorak Park.
Outside of a few preseason training sessions, injury and higher honours kept him from having much association with Old Xavs this year. But in the time he was there, he left a lasting impression on Under 19’s Coach Dan Rush.
“You could just tell he wanted to be kicking the footy as much as he could and he really stood out in preseason,” Rush said.
“The extra 10 metres he could get on his kick, hitting targets not making mistakes and the way he got across the ground all stood out. He’s just a class above.
“I remember coming through with Luke Ball and Jobe Watson, the guys at those levels are just different. They kick it faster, harder, run faster, run better so that’s what I noticed with 'Sinny', he was gliding across the ground with the pill.”
His lethal left boot has long been a point-of-difference for Sinn. His action is easy on the eye, and he has the accuracy to match.
Liberated from the stress of year 12 and seeking to split himself from the pack further, he and 2021 Dragons coach Jackson Kornberg caught up across preseason to enhance different elements of his kicking.
“The beauty about that with Josh is I didn’t have to drive that - he’s really driven in what he wants to do,” said Kornberg.
At the preseason testing, his sub-three-second 20-metre sprint reinforced the burst he would provide out of stoppage. He showed a glimpse of that in the first match against Oakleigh, as he moved into the middle in the second half to help sway momentum the Dragons’ way and chipped in with an important late goal.
The following two weeks he was steady at half-back and brought firepower when given a run in the midfield. But given his work in preseason, he used kicking as his primary criterion to judge the start to his season.
By that measure, he wasn’t where he wanted to be.
“Although I have been getting my hands to the ball a fair bit, it’s just execution and the efficiency with the ball [that's letting me down]," Sinn said.
"The most frustrating part is that I spent a whole month of preseason with ‘Jacko’ (Kornberg) out on the back oval, just us two, training certain kicks and kicking on the run and that’s where my game’s being let down at the moment. I know I’ve put in all the work, it’s just putting it all out there on game day at the moment."
Game-situation demanded he moved into the engine-room earlier than initially envisaged, which turned out to be positive, as injuries limited him to just two more starts for the remainder of the year.
As a 16-year-old, he showed similar talent as a rebounding defender with flare around stoppages, named all-Australian at the national championships.
“I can see him as that Rowelly-mould," Black said.
"He’s engrossed in footy and he’s articulate and smart and I can just see him getting drafted to an AFL side and having that flair, running off half-back and using that speed and having a really successful career.
The draft, now just two weeks away, has been a lingering presence all year as Sinn has tried to enjoy the end of his current chapter.
“My friends know me very well and know I don’t really like talking about what’s going to happen and the draft, so whenever I’m with them it’s normal and with family, it’s the same.
"I’ve said it from the start of this year, I don’t want to talk about it, things get thrown around here and there but it’s just been relaxing. A lot of people would say that being in lockdown with your family, surely you get sick of it and can’t wait to leave them? but nah, it’s always enjoyable with them, relaxing, you don’t have to do much, just sit there and talk, you don’t have to talk if you don’t want to.
"They’re pretty keen for me to get drafted interstate so they don’t have to see me and they’re pretty keen for the next chapter to start!"