By Jonty Ralphsmith
Guernsey #55 found space and converted a 35-metre snap from the boundary in the third quarter of the practice match against Coburg on Friday night to give a glimpse into his talent.
The major extended Frankston’s lead, causing a rally of cheers on the hill under the SkyBus Stadium lights.
But many supporters were quick to question who the mysterious, yet evasive and skilful ‘blondie’ was.
His name is Josh Stern.
A late inclusion coming down from Sydney just last month to try to win a spot on Frankston’s list, he moved in with teammate Bailey Lambert and got himself a position on the supplementary list.
Having come through the Sydney Swans academy and played for Sydney University in the NEAFL in 2019, he was gearing up for another season of NEAFL footy before his local club Pennant Hills and one of their alumni, Danny Ryan, got in touch.
Like many of his Sydney mates, Stern didn’t come through the traditional footy pathway, playing soccer throughout his youth, so has been struck by the footy-centric way-of-life in Melbourne.
“Everyone breathes footy down here so I’ve loved being around it a bit more,” Stern said.
“The speed and intensity when you’re out on the field is a bit more consistent [than Sydney footy].
“Sydney footy was good.
“There’d be patches where they’re good but for a full game it just lacks a bit of that consistency so that’s the challenge I’m looking forward to.”
Frankston are stacked with small forward options including Bailey Lambert, Jack Mentha, Blake O’Leary, Ash Krakauer and Josiah Duncan making competition for spots fierce; if Stern’s unable to crack into the side, he’ll be applying pressure and producing magic for Noble Park in the EFL.
Off the field, Stern delivers sport and wellbeing programs for schools and is starting a warehousing job this week.