GUN Greater Western Sydney youngster Tim Taranto still pinches himself at the star power surrounding him and he is taking full advantage of it in his debut season.
Taranto, the Giants' first selection and second overall at last year's NAB AFL Draft, has stepped straight into senior footy without fuss in 2017, playing nine of the club's first 10 games.
The 19-year-old came to GWS as a star inside midfielder from the Sandringham Dragons, but like he did with Vic Metro at last year's national Under-18 titles he has impressed across half-forward for the Giants, with his toughness and ability to find the footy shining through.
He has had several decent teachers to help him work on his forward craft, with Taranto telling AFL.com.au that club champion Toby Greene, Devon Smith and Steve Johnson have contributed to help his transition into senior footy.
"When I first walked in the door I noticed how good Toby was, he'd tear it apart at training," he said.
"I just think he's an absolute stud, and the best one-on-one player in the competition with his marking and the way he uses his body.
"Devon has been really helpful to me. We live close to each other, so he takes me to games and gives me a lot of advice.
"Then there's Stevie, who is still teaching me how to kick, his leadership and knowledge is just invaluable, and he's always in the right spot at the right time.
"There's a lot of talent here and you'd be silly not to try and learn as much as possible from them, and put it into your own game."
The only player taken ahead of Taranto at last year's draft was his Vic Metro and 2016 Dragons premiership teammate Andrew McGrath, who was taken by Essendon. The pair could be set for an on-field catch-up in Saturday's clash at Spotless Stadium.
They were two of five Sandringham players to be taken inside the top 11 draft selections, the others being Will Setterfield (GWS, pick five), Jack Scrimshaw (Gold Coast, pick seven) and Oliver Florent (Sydney, pick 11).
McGrath has also enjoyed a solid start to his career playing mainly across half-back, so Taranto, who has played against or with the Bomber since he was a kid, looms as his possible opponent – not that he expects too much banter.
"He's a bit more of a professional like that. I don't reckon there'll be too much communication on the field, he'll just keep it quiet and get the job done," he said.
"After the game we'll talk but during the week and while we're out there I don't think there'll be much chat.
"I catch up with Oli Florent here in Sydney pretty regularly and keep an eye on all the Dragons boys, but when we talk and catch up it's about other things. We don't talk much footy to be honest."