2022 Rising Stars In The AFL
The AFL Rising Star award is given out to young players deemed to be the best of the season. It is only for players who are under the age of 21 before January 1st of the season year and they must have played only 10 games or less. It was first awarded in 1993 to Nathan Buckley and since 2007, recipients have been given the Ron Evans Medal named for the former AFL Commission chairman.
A panel of experts nominates a player each round and a player can only be nominated once for that season. Then at the end of the season, the stats of each player nominated are tallied and the winner is decided.
The main contenders for 2022
Nick Daicos, who was nominated in Round 3 and plays for Collingwood, is the son of legendary Collingwood player Peter Daicos. His play so far this year has been full force in his position of midfield and was nominated for the game against the Geelong Cats. Nick is the number one contender so far but is closely contended by Jason Horne-Francis who plays for North Melbourne. He was last year’s number 1 draft pick and kicked two goals in his debut game against the Sydney Swans from 16 disposals and is expected to rise to great heights during his AFL career.
Josh Rachele who plays for the Adelaide Crows is also a top favorite for the Rising Star Award. His debut game in Round 1 led him to kick 5 goals against Fremantle, although Fremantle did manage to win by one point. Still, the Adelaide Crows sure sat up and took notice of this impressive debut so no doubt he will be one of the AFL Rising Star nominations this year.
Next is Jake Bowey who has already been nominated in Round 2. He plays for the Melbourne Football Club and has had an impressive run so far. He was a Rising Star nominee and played on the Premiership side in 2021 and is recognized as a good, dependable half-back player to look out for.
Essendon’s Nic Martin earned a Rising Star nomination in Round 1 for his impressive debut against the Geelong Cats. He had 27 disposals and kicked 5 goals, although not enough to help win the match, potential has been shown which was reflected in the nomination.
Josh Ward was picked up by Hawthorn last year being draft pick number 7 and this seems to have paid off. His goal in the 3rd quarter of the Round 2 match against Port Adelaide helped solidify Hawthorn’s brutal win by 64 points. He was named one of the best on ground, and has thus become a serious contender for an AFL Rising Star nomination if he keeps up his brilliant performance.
Jai Newcombe is another Hawthorn player who is a serious contender for an AFL Rising Star nomination. His impressive debut last year with the Hawks showed why he was picked up so quickly by the team from their affiliates, the Box Hill Hawks, where Newcombe had shown some serious skill. In his first game, he broke the record for the most tackles in a debut match, with 14. He should have a shining future with Hawthorn going forward.
All of these players and more are in serious contention for this award, but it remains to be seen if these players can continue their flair for the game going forward.