ROSS TUNGATALUM'S name was not even in the program but he put on an eye-catching display with three exciting goals in the GWS Giants reserves' 15-point win over the Gold Coast Suns yesterday.
GWS brought up its third win of the season, 13.12 (90) to 10.15 (75), in the NEAFL curtain-raiser at Manuka Oval.
Tungatalum, from the Northern Territory, was brought in as a top-up player by the Giants as a zone player.
He has been playing with Sydney Hills Eagles in the NEAFL season, after forming an important part of the NT Thunder's premiership-winning campaign last year.
Giants coach Brett Hand was impressed by not just Tungatalum but also fellow top-up player Chris Robinson, who usually plays for Tuggeranong as a defender.
''Ross is a skilful footballer and he kicked three goals so that was good to see. But he got on the end of a lot of hard work from our boys so if he gets the ball in his hands he's going to finish with some goals,'' Hand said.
''It was good to see a top-up could come and do that for us.''
But it was that work further up the ground that pleased Hand, with the run through the middle and off the half-back flank.
Stephen Clifton played his first game after a broken wrist, while Jonathon Patton continued his recovery from a knee injury but suffered cramp late in the game.
Gold Coast's Jaeger O'Meara burst onto the scene with a brilliant display in the pre-season NAB Cup but he is too young to play in the AFL. He had a quieter game in the NEAFL yesterday as he was well held by a hard tag.
Giants forward Nathan Wilson kicked four goals and Liam Patrick booted three for the Gold Coast.
''I was rapt with Sam Reid's game. He took Jaeger O'Meara out of the game in the second half, played a really hard tagging role on him and then kicked a goal. He was fantastic for us,'' Hand said.
''[Sam] Schulz and [Anthony] Miles were very good inside as well. Wilson kicked four goals and he used it well when he went through the middle … but it was probably the drive from [Sam] Darley and [Matthew] Buntine off the half-back line that really gave us most of the ball today.''