A five-goal-to-one last quarter has powered Sandringham to a thrilling win over the Oakleigh Chargers in their Easter Monday clash at RSEA Park.
Co-captain Josh Sinn, who started solidly off half-back, was deployed further up the field in the second half as the Dragons searched for midfield speed.
And he delivered, finding plenty of the Sherrin in the last quarter and kicking a clutch goal to help drag his side home.
“The plan always has been to put him in the midfield at some stage, [but] it probably happened a little bit quicker than I envisaged,” coach Jackson Kornberg said of Sinn.
“We just needed to inject some speed in the midfield so we did that after halftime.
“I thought his contest stuff, to be able to win the ball around stoppage and get the ball moving forward and be that aerial presence when he went forward was super.”
Moments after Sinn’s goal, Eren Soylemez, who looked potent inside 50 all day finishing with three majors, converted a free kick to give Sandy a lead they would never surrender.
The Dragons looked at their best when they moved the ball quickly through the centre, something they failed to do initially, by Kornberg’s admission.
“I think we lacked a bit of composure early, we got a lot of the footy and were panicking into handballing too much," he said.
“Once we got more composure with the ball, we got the game back on our terms."
Oakleigh got off to a rapid start, with four goals on the board within 13 minutes, looking dangerous each time they went forward, as Sandringham over-possessed.
The Dragons wrestled back momentum in the second quarter, kicking three goals with the wind to draw within two points, as Finn Callaghan influenced proceedings with his run and poise on the outside.
In between clean handball chains and quick transitions, Sandringham were hemmed in their defensive 50 for parts of the third quarter, entering three-quarter-time with a 10-point deficit, thanks in part to some Dragons inaccuracy.
The intensity lifted in the last quarter.
Oakleigh’s best-on-ground and potential number one draft pick Nick Daicos kicked his third, extending the Chargers’ lead to 16 points to start the last quarter.
But it was all one-way traffic after that.
Sandringham kicked five in a row to finish the match, winning 11.16 82 to 10.5 65 in front of a packed RSEA Park to kickstart their season.
Blake Howes, Marcus Windhager, Luke Nankervis and Soylemez each showed promising glimpses up forward and co-captain Darby Hipwell was evasive and strong inside the midfield especially in the second quarter.
Sandringham have a five-day break, playing fellow round 1 victors Northern Knights on Saturday afternoon at Preston City Oval.
Sandringham Dragons 1.3 4.7 6.10 11.16 (82)
Oakleigh Chargers 5.1 5.3 9.4 10.6 (66)
Goal Kickers: E. Soylemez 3, L. Young 2, J. Edwards 2, B. Howes, L. Nankervis, J. Sinn, T. Blamires
Best: Riley, Sinn, McKay, Callaghan, Benton, Howes