Rising Stars

After reading Danni Eid’s article on young football prodigy Matthew Watson, I thought about all the great youngsters of our great game. So far, 12 rounds have passed in the AFL, and 12 babies of the football world have been awarded a NAB Rising Star nomination. And it all started on the first night of the AFL 2010 Season…

Chris Yarran

One of the three Aboriginal forwards in the Carlton forward line, Yarran was taken at pick 6 in the 2008 National Draft. His first season didn’t produce anything special, but from his nine games so far in the 2010 season, he has glimpses of why he was taken so early in the draft. Started the year with a bang, collecting 12 possessions and kicking three goals, as well as applying six tackles in the Blues’ 56 point win over Richmond. Played every game up to Round 9, with Round 6 against Collingwood producing a career-high 18 touches and two goals. Critical to Carlton’s top-four hopes.

Dan Hannebery

After being suspended by the club for egging Xavier College, Hannebery has made amends to that with a sizzling start to his second season at AFL level. The 19 year old collected 23 touches in Round 2 against Adelaide to earn the nomination, but hasn’t stopped there. He picked up 27 possessions in Round 4 against North Melbourne, and stunned the MCG against Hawthorn with 25 disposals, four tackles and three goals. Well deserved favourite to take out the Rising Star Award.

Ryan Bastinac

The North Melbourne speedster has had a terrific start to his AFL career, playing every game in his debut season. His performance in Round 3 against the West Coast Eagles was pivotal to North securing the four points. He gathered 24 disposals and restricted Daniel Kerr, not allowing the champion on-baller any space. Kicked his first two goals in AFL footy against Carlton in Round 12 after 0.7 in his first 11 matches. Definitely a smoky for the Rising Star Award.

Nic Naitanui

The Fijian bombshell has played every game in 2010, and really stood out in Round 2 against Port Adelaide with 21 touches, four tackles and 21 hitouts, but he did not receive a nomination. He had to wait until Round 4 for it, where he gathered 13 possessions, applied five tackles, won 17 hitouts and kicked a goal. His recent form has been concerning though. Can be a bit quite in some games though, and needs to take more marks.

Jack Trengove

The number two draft pick has excelled at AFL level, playing 11 of the 12 games in his debut year. Was right in the thick of the action in his first game, accumulating 23 possessions, and played superbly against Brisbane in Round 5, collecting 24 touches, applying four tackles and kicking two goals in the 50 point win. Has formed a great friendship with Tom Scully, on and off the field. Brownlow Medallist in the making.

Todd Banfield

Has added some much-needed polish and spark to the Brisbane side. The fiery ranga has kicked 15.14 in his first 12 games of AFL, a remarkable feat. Collected 15 disposals and booted three goals against Sydney in Round 6, also laying six tackles, a specialty in his game. Just the man you want roving your feet if you’re Jonathon Brown or Brendan Fevola.

Tom Scully

The number one draft pick has sparkled in the Melbourne midfield, playing every game bar one and putting in a solid contribution each week. Was amazing against the Western Bulldogs in Round 7 in the wet, collecting 39 possessions in a B.O.G effort. One of the contenders for the Rising Star Award so far.

Jake Melksham

The tenacious youngster made a big start to his AFL career, collecting 18 touches under the lights of the MCG against Carlton in Round 3, before shining against Port Adelaide with 21 disposals, three tackles and a goal. His nomination came a week after in Round 8 though, with 14 possessions and a goal against St Kilda. Critical to Essendon’s finals chances this year and beyond.

Nathan Fyfe

Chuck this kid in a U/16’s game and you’d say he was too young and small compared to the rest of his opponents. The small midfielder has been great for Fremantle, making his debut against Richmond in Round 5, picking up 13 touches and kicking 1.4. Was great against Sydney in Round 9 with 23 possessions and five tackles in the 37 point win, but he bettered that a week later with 27 disposals and three goals. If his form continues, could be a strong chance for the Rising Star Award.

Dustin Martin

I had my queries over Martin, thinking he was just a big shot, tough looking Metrosexual footballer, but he’s been terrific in his first 12 games of his career. His disposal count hasn’t dropped under 17 in any of his matches, remarkable but is what would be expected from a number three draft pick. Was instrumental in the first quarter of Richmond’s big win over West Coast in Round 12, collecting 20 disposals and kicking two goals for the match, but his nomination came in Richmond’s only other win for the season so far in Round 10 against Port Adelaide. Martin gathered 21 possessions and laid four tackles. Is ineligible for the award due to copping a reprimand earlier in the season.

Jordan Gysberts

Has made a great transition into AFL football, playing his first game of his career at Skilled Stadium against Geelong, the toughest task in the AFL. He passed in flying colours though, gathering an astonishing 26 possessions to be one of Melbourne’s best, before collecting 27 touches in Round 11 against Carlton in the wet. If he keeps his possession rate up for the rest of the year he’ll be a strong chance.

Ben Reid

Gave the usual cliché response after being nominated for his 22 possession game against Melbourne in Round 12: I didn’t even know I was eligible until I got told this morning that I had received the nomination,” he said with a laugh. Although this did surprise a few, as he has been in the AFL business for some time, and seems to have finally nailed down a position in defence for the Magpies.

Of those 12 hopefuls, with 10 still to join, it’s hard to go past the form of Dan Hannebery, Tom Scully and Jack Trengove. They will finish top 3 in the Rising Star, but watch for Ryan Bastinac. He has already carved out a spot in the North Melbourne midfield and the next 10 weeks should be exciting to watch, knowing we’ll see another batch of youngsters awarded with a nomination. But my pick is Hannebery; he’s been outstanding for the Swans, forming well with fellow young guns Lewis Jetta and Gary Rohan, who are yet to be nominated. But we must also pay tribute to the players who were recruited this year and have shown outstanding football skills, but are over the age of 21 years, with Ben Nason and Michael Barlow the standouts. Oh, and what about James Podsiadly? You don’t have to be a teenager to be a young gun.

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Steve Healy says

    Good report, but I’ll have to correct you, Ben Nason isn’t over 21, he has recently turned 21 and is eligible.

    and Nathan Fyfe isn’t a small midfielder

  2. Dustin Martin would win it, if he didnt get those demerit points.

    Nic Nat will be a very good player, no excellent. He has all the natural abilty, but when it comes to ‘footy smart’ he is lost out on the field. Will take a long time to develop these ‘smarts’, as you will see with Karmichael Hunt

  3. Steve’s always on the ball! Was going to correct you myself Barney, but I didn’t even need to. Apart from that, it was an excellent summary Barney.

    I wonder who the remaining 10 nominees will be? My predictions (in no particular order):
    – Tom Rockliff
    – Ben Nason
    – Lewis Jetta
    – Jack Ziebell
    – Michael Hurley
    – Jarrad Grant
    – Phil Davis
    – Cameron Hitchcock
    – Gary Rohan
    – Brad Sheppard

    However, I’d like it if Sam Wright was the nomination this week, simply for the amusement of seeing Reid and Wright next to each other.

    Anyone else want to be a Nostradamus?

  4. Steve Healy says

    Tom Rockliff will definitely get it this week as hes now had 4 games of 25 possessions or more in a row.

    Lewis Jetta needs to add a goal to his record to win one and he probably wont do that when hes not in the team

  5. Dave Nadel says

    Good review, Josh.

    I would guess that Ben Reid was genuinely surprised at his nomination, most Collingwood fans were. Interestingly enough Steele Sidebottom, who I think is Collingwood’s best recruit since Pendles and Daisy, is not on your list and has not been nominated despite some fine games this year. He may have played too many games last year but I don’t think so.

  6. Steve Healy says

    Dave, Sidebottom is infact uneligible. He played 11 games last year, one too many to receive a rising star nomination this year

  7. Dave

    Steele Sidebottom played 11 games last year, but 3 of them were final games. I’m not entirely certain on this, but I think the rule is “fewer than 10 home and away games”, so Steele might be eligible. I’ll do some research.


    Done some research, and apparently it’s 10 games or fewer, regardless of whether they were home and away or finals.
    So Steele is ineligible (and so is Michael Hurley)

  8. ^Why did I bother? Thanks Steve

  9. Dave Nadel says

    Thanks for your research Adam.

    There does seem to be a flaw in the system. Last year Collingwood players Dayne Beams, Jaxon Barham and Brad Dick won Rising Star nominations, This year Ben Reid won one. Sidebottom is a little better than Beames and Dick, quite a lot better than Reid and a whole class above Barham. Yet they have Rising Star nominations and Steele doesn’t!

  10. Danielle says

    9- Dave, it sucks ey?! :(

    p.s i love STEELE!! :)

  11. Steve Healy says

    Dave it didn’t help that Steele’s best game was the semi final against Adelaide last year, from memory he had 25 possessions and 10 tackles so if he got that in the home and away season im sure he wouldnt received a nomination

  12. They should award Rising Star nominations for acts of courage. Ben Cunnington, playing the rest of the game after breaking his nose in a hard-fought contest late in the first quarter yesterday. He only got 10 possessions, but stats don’t matter.

  13. Danielle says

    11- Steele’s highlights of last year can be viewed on youtube- a video called Steele Sidebottom Rustys day out.


    status- homeworkin :(

  14. Steve Healy says

    12- No way, Cunnington only played 62% of the game and if Rockliff doesnt get it its ridiculous

  15. Rockliff’s gonna get another 25 touches next week anyway. He can wait.

  16. Steve Healy says

    well Cunnington’s personal best in nine matches is only 17, and hes averaging 12 possessions this season whereas rockliff is averaging 21

  17. You’re a coaches worst nightmare Steve. It’s not all about possessions. Brad Scott would value 5 touches and 10 tackles over 30 disposals and no tackles.

  18. Steve Healy says

    im not saying it is all about possessions but I know that coaches don’t choose rising star nominations and that they are usually based on performances where a player gets a lot of the ball or kicks multiple goals.

  19. Steve, who picks the nominations?

  20. Danielle says

    19- me! :)

  21. 20: Exactly, a coach.

  22. Steve Healy says

    The AFL pick them.

    Danni go on msn

  23. Danielle says

    22- cant me is studying my rear off.
    btw its going very well, already done a whole chpater for business and started the next! :)

  24. Steve Healy says

    studying your rear off on the almanac site?

  25. Danielle says

    do u want me to post u the 12 double sided pages of work ive done tonight!
    Can’t even take a break without being accused of procastination!
    you’ll just have to learn to live without me for one night lol

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