HAMISH Sinnott hopes a stint in Carlton's VFL program can help him achieve his dream of reaching an AFL list.
The endurance specialist, still only 18, joins fellow Hampden league export Archie Stevens on the Princes Park-based club's list while Warrnambool product Dan O'Keefe is coach.
Sinnott piqued the interest of AFL clubs as a 17-year-old and was highly-rated through the Greater Western Victoria Rebels program as a hard-running defender.
The Camperdown export is still determined to chase that dream in 2022 and will play as a top-age NAB League prospect while pushing for VFL action.
"It's been a really busy pre-season. Missing out through the draft last year, we decided to go again at the Rebels. We thought that was the best idea," he said.
"I started pre-season at Geelong VFL actually and I did that up until just after Christmas. I realised I was moving to Melbourne and Carlton gave me a call and said 'what are you up to? Do you want to come train with us?'.
"It was the easiest option, obviously moving to Melbourne it's way easier than driving to Geelong or Ballarat twice a week. It was good. I went up there one week with Archie and I just loved it. I've loved every session."
Sinnott said the opportunity to play on AFL-listed players had been "unreal".
"I got to play the two practice matches against Melbourne and St Kilda and obviously they have very good opposition players. I got to play on Jake Melksham which was an unreal experience," he said.
"Playing with Sam Docherty, an AFL captain, was unreal. I was playing on the half-back flank next to him.
"At training I'm learning from guys like Ben Crocker, Ned Cahill, Will Hayes... Their experience is awesome to learn from and it's been really good."
Wherever I'm playing hopefully the recruiters have a look at me and hopefully (it works out). You never know but that's the goal.- Hamish Sinnott
Sinnott said O'Keefe - who spent time on the Sydney list before retiring early and shifting to coaching - had been a massive support. Torin Baker, a former Magpies coach, is also involved while former South Warrnambool mentor Mat Buck is an assistant.
He told The Standard he'd work a part-time role at Rebel Sport while starting a university degree in sports management in August as he pursued the goal of becoming a professional footballer.
"I'm still 18 and I'm that all year so I'm basically taking this as my top-age year," Sinnott said.
"If I have a good start at the Rebels and hopefully get that Vic Country call-up again, you just never know.
"Wherever I'm playing hopefully the recruiters have a look at me and hopefully (it works out). You never know but that's the goal."
In the meantime, further developing his running game and anticipation across half-back are the focus. His stoppage and contested work are also key.
"I've been playing that role at Carlton so intercept marking is something I've really been working on," Sinnott said.
"I feel like I've been doing it pretty well this year, my marking. That contested and intercept marking have been going well but I think my running is something I'm trying to get to another level as well.
"I'm trying to get some midfield time at the Rebels and I feel like if I can use the skills I have, it can go to another level."
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