AFL Rising Star 2022: Nominees, past winners, criteria

It doesn’t have the prestige of some of the game’s other individual honours, but it has marked the beginning of some truly glittering careers.

The NAB Rising Star recognises the talents set to light up the competition for years to come.

2022 Rising Star nominees

Round 23

Nathan O’Driscoll (Fremantle)

Fremantle midfielder Nathan O’Driscoll picked up the final nomination for 2022 as he was rewarded for a solid run of performances.

The left-footer finished with 17 disposals and two goals in the Dockers’ win over GWS on Saturday.

Having made his debut in round two, O’Driscoll played 10 games this season and looks set to add to that tally during the finals.

Round 22

Marcus Windhager (St Kilda)

Young Saint Marcus Windhager was recognised for his tagging role on 2020 Brownlow Medalist Lachie Neale, shutting down the prolific ball winner on Friday night.

Neale was kept to his lowest tally for the year, 16 touches and struggling to have much impact.

Windhager himself gathered 21 disposals and looked up to the task, despite only being 19-years-old.

In his first year at the club, the Sandringham Dragons product has been impressive, playing 17 games and looking like bringing the tagging role back into relevance.

Round 21

Elijah Hollands (Gold Coast)

In just his third AFL game, Hollands was one of Gold Coast’s best in their loss to Hawthorn, collecting 23 touches and kicking two goals.

The 20-year-old, who was drafted as pick seven in the 2020 Draft, has been a consistent performer since debuting and looks to be a star.

Getting in the right spots and finishing off his work, Hollands will be a handy inclusion for the years to come in the Suns side.

Round 20

Noah Cumberland (Richmond)

Richmond forward Noah Cumberland claimed the round 20 Rising Star nomination for his performance against Brisbane on Sunday, as the Tigers clawed back a 42-point deficit to win by seven points.

Cumberland kicked five crucial goals, including the first three for his side and is proving to be a handful for the opposition defence.

In just his fifth AFL game, the 21-year-old has made an immediate impact at the level and is proving to be a valuable player for Damien Hardwick.

Round 19

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan (Western Bulldogs)

Number one pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan showed glimpses of just how much talent he has, kicking five goals in a match-winning performance in the Grand Final rematch.

The Western Bulldogs were able to hold on, but the cherry on top was when Ugle-Hagan bombed the ball from 50 metres out on the boundary, seeking redemption for last year’s loss.

The 20-year-old has been in strong form of late and looks to be growing in confidence every week and could be a wildcard in the finals if the Dogs make it.

Round 18

Josh Ward (Hawthorn)

In his ninth AFL game, Josh Ward was rewarded with a Rising Star nomination after his 34 possessions, six clearance and five tackle effort in the win against West Coast.

Initially dropped after a strong start to the season, Ward has been battling concussion issues that have kept him from the senior side.

However, the young talent has bounced back like the Hawks knew he would, showing glimpses of his talent and why he was selected at pick 7 in last year’s draft.

The 18-year-old is the future for Hawthorn and looks ready to elevate his game each week.

Round 17

Hugo Ralphsmith (Richmond)

Since being drafted in 2019, Hugo Ralphsmith has found it difficult to break into the premiership winning side, but this year he has started to make an impact.

In his 11th game of 2022, Ralphsmith was crucial in the clash with Gold Coast that saw Noah Anderson kick a goal after the siren to win the match.

The 20 year-old had 20 disposals (85 per cent efficiency), five score involvements and four marks in an impressive display.

The young Tiger has slotted into the line-up seamlessly and looks like he’s forging a long, successful career across the half back and wing.

Round 16

Massimo D’Ambrosio (Essendon)

In just his third AFL game, mid-season recruit Massimo D’Ambrosio was rewarded with a Rising Star nominee for his 23 disposal, six mark performance in the win against Sydney.

D’Ambrosio has slotted seamlessly into the Essendon defence, bouncing off half back and adding dare to the backline.

The 19 year old has been super impressive since his debut in round 14 and is the third Bomber nominee for season 2022, joining Nic Martin (round one) and Ben Hobbs (round 14).

Round 15

Lachie Jones (Port Adelaide)

In his 18th game, Lachie Jones was outstanding in the two-point victory against the Gold Coast Suns.

Collecting 16 touches and kicking a major, Jones was everywhere as he also recorded an equal game-high three goal assists to help the Power over the line.

After being selected with pick 16 in the 2020 draft, the Woodville-West Torrens product has slotted seamlessly into the AFL and looks to take on more responsibility as the games roll on.

Round 14

Ben Hobbs (Essendon)

Ben Hobbs arguably had his best game in his short career, collecting 22 touches and five marks in the win over St Kilda.

Hobbs has been an impressive young player so far, lining up across half forward and through the midfield under Brett Rutten.

The 18-year-old had eight score involvements, including three behinds himself and looked dangerous when he had the ball in hand, playing predominantly in the front half of the ground.

As he gains more experience, Hobbs will eventually go into the midfield and looks ready to rise quickly.

Round 13

Brandon Walker (Fremantle)

Fremantle’s second nominee Brandon Walker was super impressive in the win over Hawthorn on the weekend.

Walker had his best game for club and was instrumental in his 20th game, kicking one goal and collecting 16 touches from the half back line.

The dashing defender also had six score involvements, alluding to his work up the ground and creativity with the ball in hand.

The 19-year-old has been a revelation since making his debut in round 13 last year and has barely missed a beat since.

Walker’s run and carry epitomises the style Justin Longmuir is directing of his backline and is a key reason why they’ve jumped up the ladder.

Round 12

Logan McDonald (Sydney)

Sydney’s Logan McDonald was acknowledged for his efforts against Melbourne, kicking three goals and having nine score involvements.

The young star lifted in the absence of AFL legend Lance Franklin, being the key target up forward alongside veteran Sam Reid.

McDonald has played nine of the possible 12 games in 2022, improving on the previous week and showing signs that he is the future once Franklin retires at the Swans.

The pick 4 in the 2020 draft kicked one of his most significant goals, drawing Sydney back to one point of the reigning premiers midway through the last quarter, which saw the bloods take over from there.

Round 11

Sam De Koning (Geelong)

Geelong’s Sam De Koning was finally recognised for his work down back.

De Koning collected 19 touches while taking nine marks in the backline, while 11 of his disposals were intercept possessions.

The 21-year-old has burst out of the blocks in 2022, playing all but one game and proving to be an asset in defence for Chris Scott.

De Koning has been known for his lockdown ability on key forwards, allowing players like Tom Stewart and Mark Blicavs to peel off their man and impact the contest.

Round 10

Joel Jeffrey (Gold Coast)

Jeffrey was super impressive on the weekend, scoring five goals and adding some highlights to his reel, including a goal that was kicked back over his head.

Along with his majors, the 20-year-old also collected 10 touches and five marks in the Suns’ lost to the Bulldogs.

In his second game for the year, Jeffrey has shown he can play at the level, with his elite speed and clean ball use key features in his game, whilst his versatility to play all over the ground is another attractive aspect.

Round 9

Corey Durdin (Carlton)

The small forward played his best game for the club, as the Blues spoilt Leon Cameron’s party, departing as the Giants’ head coach.

Durdin kicked two goals in the 30 point win, whilst also collecting 19 touches and laying two tackles.

Pick 37 in the 2020 draft, the boy from SA has proven to be a diamond in the rough, with his blistering pace turning pressure into scoring opportunities for the team and himself.

Durdin’s improvement in the off-season is parallel to Carlton’s, with the club reaching new heights in 2022 and aiming for a top four finish.

Round 8

Heath Chapman (Fremantle)

Facing injury in his first year at the club, Docker defender Heath Chapman has quickly become the talent his coaches thought he’d be.

Pick 14 in 2020, Chapman received his first Rising Star nomination in his 12th game, where he amassed 25 touches (92 per cent efficiency), five marks and five score involvements in Fremantle’s 78-point thrashing of North Melbourne.

The 20-year-old’s improvement is parallel to that of his side, with the Dockers sitting pretty at 7-1 after round 8.

Chapman has been a consistent performer throughout the early stages of the year, including the match-winning goal-line spoil against Adelaide in round 1, to secure Fremantle’s first win.

Round 7

Jason Horne-Francis (North Melbourne)

Touted as the best no.1 pick in recent years, Horne-Francis has finally received the recognition among the game’s best young stars with a Rising Star nomination.

In only his 7th AFL game, the 18-year-old Roo was one of North Melbourne’s best in their loss to Carlton, collecting 20 touches (10 contested) along with four clearances and four inside 50s.

The talented number 6 is marked as the future of the Kangaroos, with his spirit being shown when teammate Tarryn Thomas was hurt after being bumped and commitment to this club.

Round 6

Jack Ginnivan (Collingwood)

After courting criticism for his exuberant personality earlier in the season, the 19-year-old Magpie small forward kicked five goals and won the ANZAC medal in only his 10th game of AFL football.

Ginnivan showed his class to kick five goals straight also, with an array of goals from outside 50, on the snap and crumbing front and centre.

The teenager has kicked at least a goal in all five of his games this season, while he picked up 21 disposals in the win over Adelaide in round two.

Round 5

Jai Newcombe (Hawthorn)

The 20-year-old from Poowong has excelled in his second AFL campaign after being picked up in the mid-season draft last year.

After a solid start to 2022, hitting 15-plus disposals in three games, Newcombe has dominated the past two matches, with 23 possessions against the Saints and a career-high 31 in the win versus Geelong.

The inside midfielder looks set to be a key cog in Hawthorn’s rebuild under Sam Mitchell.

Round 4

Josh Rachele (Adelaide)

After a blistering start to his AFL career, Rachele is finally rewarded for his performance in the heart-stopping loss to Essendon for his three-goal, nine-mark, 19-touch outing.

The classy forward deserved a round 1 nomination for his five-goal performance, but was nudged out by fellow rookie Nic Martin, who also kicked five in his debut game along with 27 disposals.

Rachele has kicked 10 goals so far this season and looks like being an asset for the Crows for many years to come.

Round 3

Nick Daicos (Collingwood)

He came to the club with plenty of expectations, but Nick Daicos looks every bit the player he was touted to be so far.

The son of club great Peter, the smooth-moving 18-year-old picked up 26 disposals against the Cats, including a very classy finish for his first goal in the AFL.

Averaging 25 touches across his first three games, the Pies’ future looks to be in safe hands.

Round 2

Jake Bowey (Melbourne)

Melbourne’s Jake Bowey has squeezed plenty into his nine AFL games so far.

The Dees defender has managed to fit two Rising Star nominations, either side of a premiership, in his young AFL career.

Bowey finished with 34 disposals, 24 kicks and nine marks in Melbourne’s win over the Suns in round two.

Round 1

Nic Martin (Essendon)

It was a pretty dirty day for Essendon in round one but debutant Nic Martin did more than enough to earn the first Rising Star nomination of the season.

While there were several standout performers around the competition, Martin’s five goals from 10 marks and 27 disposals was the pick of the bunch.

Rising Star odds

Odds via Sportsbet prior to market being closed.

Player (Nominated) Price
Nick Daicos (Round 3) $1.01
Sam De Koning (Round 11) $26
Jai Newcombe (Round 5) $34
Nic Martin (Round 1) $501
Jack Ginnivan (Round 6) $501
Jake Bowey (Round 2) $501
Ben Hobbs (Round 14) $501
Heath Chapman (Round 8) $501
Corey Durdin (Round 9) $501
Josh Rachele (Round 4) $501
Logan McDonald (Round 12) $501

What is the Rising Star?

Established in 1993, the Rising Star is awarded to the best young player in the AFL.

Each week, a panel of experts nominates one eligible player across the competition based on their performance in that round or their body of work across the season so far.

At the end of the home-and-away season, the panel votes 5-4-3-2-1 for the young players adjudged to have had the best seasons, with the Rising Star being awarded to the player with the most votes.

The winner is traditionally announced following the final round of the regular season.

Rising Star criteria

Players must be 20 or younger and have played fewer than 10 games at the start of the season.

Like the Brownlow Medal, players who are suspended are ineligible for the award, though they can still be nominated.

Past winners

AFL Rising Star winners

Recipient Club Votes Year
Nathan Buckley Brisbane Bears NA 1993
Chris Scott Brisbane Bears NA 1994
Nick Holland Hawthorn NA 1995
Ben Cousins West Coast NA 1996
Michael Wilson Port Adelaide 27 1997
Byron Pickett North Melbourne 30 1998
Adam Goodes Sydney 33 1999
Paul Hasleby Fremantle 33 2000
Justin Koschitzke St Kilda 31 2001
Nick Riewoldt St Kilda 34 2002
Sam Mitchell Hawthorn 33 2003
Jared Rivers Melbourne 45* 2004
Brett Deledio Richmond 42 2005
Danyle Pearce Fremantle 42 2006
Joel Selwood Geelong 44 2007
Rhys Palmer Fremantle 44 2008
Daniel Rich Brisbane 45* 2009
Dan Hannebery Sydney 45* 2010
Dyson Heppell Essendon 44 2011
Daniel Talia Adelaide 43 2012
Jaeger O’Meara Gold Coast 44 2013
Lewis Taylor Brisbane 39 2014
Jesse Hogan Melbourne 49 2015
Callum Mills Sydney 49 2016
Andrew McGrath Essendon 51 2017
Jaidyn Stephenson Collingwood 52 2018
Sam Walsh Carlton 54 2019
Caleb Serong Fremantle 48 2020
Luke Jackson Melbourne 51 2021

*Denotes maximum votes

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