There are few things more exciting for an AFL fan than your team unearthing a hidden gem, but that may be what St Kilda have got in Josh Bruce.
Recruited as a defender from Greater Western Sydney in exchange for a draft pick the Giants didn’t even use, Bruce played the game of a lifetime on Saturday against Gold Coast.
Lining up in the Saints’ forward line for the second match running, Bruce tore the Suns apart as he picked up a career-best six goals in the 28-point win at Metricon Stadium.
The long-haired 22-year-old had only kicked nine goals in his past 25 games but kicked four alone in the second term as the Saints ran rampant over the Suns.
Bruce’s majors were highlighted by strong contested marks on Suns’ defenders Rory Thompson, Steven May and Sam Day while he threw in a couple of left-footed checkside goals as well.
In total Bruce snared eight marks – six contested – and even used some clever hands to feed Jack Sinclair for the youngster’s first AFL goal.
The hope now is Bruce will be able to help lift the burden on Saints captain Nick Riewoldt in the forward line.
Riewoldt’s lone hand for the Saints in recent times is highlighted by Bruce’s haul being the most goals by a St Kilda player other than the skipper since Stephen Milne’s eight goals in round 18, 2011.
“I didn’t even notice during the game,” Bruce told AAP.
“They just kept kind of falling my way. It was just one of those days.
“Hopefully I can keep giving a good contest week-in, week-out and hopefully take a few more.”
After being largely frustrated by his defensive role at the Giants, Bruce says he’s determined to make his move forward a permanent one.
“I probably feel more comfortable forward,” he said.
“Obviously I can give a good contest down back but I feel I can naturally feel my game up forward.
“It’s a work in progress but making good steps.”