DYNAMIC Greater Western Sydney forward Cam McCarthy will get his chance to lock down a spot in the Giants' forward line in Jonathan Patton's absence, with the West Australian picked to face St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
With Patton not due to return to the field through the NEAFL until at least round eight after a knee reconstruction, GWS coach Leon Cameron says the man known as 'Sunshine' has earned his spot.
A second AFL game – after a round 22 debut against the Western Bulldogs in the final round of last season - was the perfect birthday gift for McCarthy, who turned 20 on Wednesday.
The exciting McCarthy will provide some much needed support for star forward Jeremy Cameron.
"Cam's been fantastic in his three NAB Cup games and he's taken his opportunity. We rely on a lot of guys hitting the scoreboard, not just Jeremy," Cameron said.
"You want to be a side that can attack not just through the one channel, and we're heading down that track."
GWS co-captain Phil Davis backed his coach's view, and believes McCarthy will be a permanent fixture in the Giants' forward line for years to come.
"He's come out of left field a little bit, his past two months have been enormous. He's got a lot of talent; he's still very raw but is going to be a good player for a very long time," Davis told afl.com.au.
"He's just a beautiful footballer, has a good set of dukes and hopefully it starts coming together for him now."
While the young guns settle up forward, Cameron is most excited by his stocks at the other end, especially with the valuable addition of dual Brisbane Lions club champion Joel Patfull.
Patfull and Davis, along with second-year Giant Heath Shaw, now give the club some big game players down back.
"Our most experienced line is our defence now. I thought the really pleasing thing about our defence in the Swans (NAB Challenge) game was that we kept them to 11 goals and that shows that we're progressing, not just defensively in our back six, but the entire 18 that are on the field at any particular time."
The Giants could be in a rare position as favourites when they meet the Saints, but Cameron played down talk of the tag putting pressure on his side.
"We're into our fourth year and we expect to win games. We expect to win more games than we did last year," he said.
"We come up against St Kilda in a 50/50 game and we haven't beaten the Saints in our three years of existence.
"It's a tough game, round one games are extremely hard to win, but we come in with confidence."