He came to the Gold Coast SUNS as a scrawny young Indigenous footballer out of Darwin, and 18 months later Malcolm Rosas Jnr will run out onto Metricon Stadium to make his AFL debut.

Self-described as “not the most confident bloke”, the Malcolm Rosas Jnr we see on the field today is a vast improvement on the one who was selected by the SUNS as the first player to come through the club’s Academy zone in Darwin in 2019.

He always had the talent and the flair, but now he has the confidence and consistency to make his mark on the big stage.

“Last year I wasn’t very developed and I just wasn’t ready,” Rosas Jnr told SUNS Media.

“I was still a bit raw and just didn’t really know what I could be capable of. I was trying to see what I could do and figure myself out at this level.

“I was still in that development stage, and I’m still developing now but I think I’m ready to take the big step.”

Rosas Jnr had a solid first season with the club, playing in the SUNS reserves scratch matches against rival AFL clubs.

But it wasn’t until post-season discussions with the coaching staff when things started to fall into place.

“I chatted with most of the coaches and mainly the forwards coach Tim Clarke and Stuey on what I needed to do to play AFL,” Rosas Jnr said.

“It’s about how I need to keep my talent there but focus on playing consistent footy and just keep bringing the heat.

“I worked a lot on just bringing my pressure and improving my work-rate as well (throughout pre-season).

“My pressure has probably been the best I've ever had it right now. I just want to keep doing that and keep bringing my talent.”

The 19-year-old has also made some key changes off-field.

He’s close to fellow Indigenous players Jy Farrar and Izak Rankine, with the latter playing a role in helping Rosas Jnr come out of his shell and let his football do the talking.

“I’ve worked a lot with Izak on how I need to be more confident,” Rosas Jnr said.

“I’m not the most confident bloke, I just go with the flow normally but having that confident mentality is good.

“He sees that I’m not the most confident bloke so he’s trying to help me reach my potential.

“We go out for dinner a lot and hang out outside footy which has really helped.”

Rosas Jnr said to run out on Metricon Stadium for his first match alongside his mates Farrar and Rankine on Saturday afternoon was the opportunity he had been waiting for.

“It means a lot,” he said.

“It’s be good to see more Indigenous boys playing in our team, especially while we’re still young and developing.

“Building that chemistry now will be good for us in the years to come.”

The SUNS play the Brisbane Lions in the QClash at 4:35pm on Saturday afternoon at Metricon Stadium. Click here for tickets and match day information.