AFTER two seasons without football, Tanner Bruhn has been a young man in a hurry – to get back onto a footy field for a competitive match, and to make his AFL debut as soon as possible.
Bruhn ticked off the first of those goals in Greater Western Sydney's pre-season victory over Sydney, when the 18-year-old played just his fourth match in two and a half years, starring with four goals from 11 possessions.
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Now he'll quickly achieve his next goal for the season, when he debuts for the Giants against the Saints on Sunday.
"I've missed a bit of footy the last couple of years, so I really wanted to come in and try to play as many games as I can," said Bruhn.
"I'm super stoked to have actually done it [been selected for his debut], and be able to run out this week with the boys."
Bruhn's eye-catching display against the Swans made it hard for the selectors to leave him out of the round one team, but it is the attitude he has shown since arriving at the club that has most impressed his coaches.
"It's not normal for everyone, but he's come in with the mentality that he wants to play straight away," said Steve Johnson, the GWS forward coach.
"He's just been so impressive. He understands where the list sits, and where he can add value to the team."
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Bruhn was drafted to the Giants with pick 12 in last year’s NAB AFL Draft, as a talented midfielder known for his poise with the ball and skill on both sides of his body.
But he is set to spend most of his time against St Kilda playing across half-forward, as he did against Sydney, after Bruhn and the club saw that as the best way for him to find a way into the team.
He will be part of a new-look GWS forward line that will enter a season without Jeremy Cameron, the club's games and goals record-holder, for the first time since joining the competition in 2012.
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The forward mix will be led by Toby Greene, who has been working closely with Bruhn to help the debutant understand more about the forward craft.
"He's been super for me, and he's such a stellar competitor," Bruhn said about Greene.
"You can see how many years he's been in the system. He's just a gun."
Greene wasn't sure if Giants coach Leon Cameron’s comments after the Sydney match comparing the two players were entirely accurate, but can see plenty of potential brewing.
"Tanner's probably a bit more sensible than I was when I was 18," said Greene.
"He's got all the attributes to be a really good player.
"He'll eventually be a midfielder, I'd say, but I love working with him in the forward line."