COULD a six-disposal appearance as a tactical substitute be the catalyst for a Gold Coast small forward to reach his potential?
Malcolm Rosas jnr certainly hopes so.
The fleet-footed 21-year-old thought he was on the verge of being dropped after the Suns' round six win over North Melbourne, but coach Stuart Dew selected the Northern Territorian as the 23rd man to face Richmond the following week.
Rosas jnr came on during the third quarter against the Tigers at Marvel Stadium and immediately made an impact.
The stats sheet didn't show a lot – six disposals and three tackles – but it was the vibrance in defence and his sidestep and quick-give in the middle of the ground to set up a goal that caught the eye.
It was a flair that continued into Saturday night's game against Melbourne, where Rosas jnr kicked a career-high four goals in the narrow five-point loss.
Speaking to AFL.com.au, Rosas jnr said he had a hard think about his game following his quiet outing against the Kangaroos.
"I reflected on last year when I played raw and played with confidence and didn't really care if I made a mistake," he said.
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"During the week before the Richmond game, I thought I should bring my flair back and take the game on.
"I brought that out and it set me up really. I think I've still got more to give.
"It comes back to playing to my strengths ... playing with confidence, using my speed to either defend or damage in offence."
Rosas jnr confessed he was "not a really confident person" but thrived from the feedback of teammates like Mabior Chol, Levi Casboult and Jack Lukosius.
Friday night's game against West Coast will be his eighth consecutive in the line-up, the longest streak of his 26-game career.
The speedy left-footer played 15 games in 2022, kicking 14 goals, and started to look at home in the AFL, but missed some time late this pre-season.
He said he has a simple mindset ahead of facing the Eagles.
"Millsy (forwards coach Brad Miller) has told me if I play with confidence, I'll play well ... and it helps everybody else too," he said.
"If I have that energy, it can spark a lot of our players as well."