Luke Brown is the round 23 NAB AFL Rising Star nomination
WITH the retirement of champion defender Michael Doughty, Adelaide's Luke Brown set himself the target of cementing his place in the starting 22.
He has played 21 games this season, averaging 14 disposals a game and his round 23 NAB AFL Rising Star nomination is proof that he has achieved his goal.
The 20-year-old told AFL.com.au the NAB AFL Rising Star nomination would be an honour he would take with him for the rest of his career.
Brown is Adelaide's fourth nominee this year after Brad Crouch, Sam Kerridge and Rory Laird were all named earlier in the season.
In the absence of Doughty, 181cm Brown and fellow small defender Laird have stood up to become vital cogs in the club's machine.
Brown said he had eyed the spot in defence vacated by Doughty and wanted to make it his own.
"I've achieved a fair bit this year, playing every game besides one – that's what I set out to do," Brown said.
"There were a few players going up for the spot and I wanted to compete as hard as I could to try and make it mine.
"I've been able to do that and that's a great achievement for me this year.
"I'm looking forward to next year and what the future holds for me."
Adelaide's four nominees in 2013 followed Daniel Talia being named the 2012 NAB AFL Rising Star and Sam Shaw's nomination in the same season.
Brown said the rise of the club's youngsters would hold it in good stead for next year and beyond.
"I think it's six in two years now - it's a great achievement for the club that the young boys are standing up and able to perform well.
"We're building a close bond and I think as we get to know each other even better we'll be able to perform better together."
The 24-gamer is cool under pressure, makes great decisions for a player of his experience and delivers the ball neatly.
But as he has found more and more of the ball, Brown admitted he wanted to improve the attacking side of his game.
Key to that, he said, would be his kicking penetration.
"I've got a nice kick and everything like that but I want to be a bit more penetrating off the half-back," he said.
"That'll come with more practice over the pre-season and working on the harder kicks more than the easier ones.
"I like to think that I use the ball well, but that's the next step for me."
Crows coach Brenton Sanderson said the youngster's maturity had impressed.
"His ability to quickly adjust to the tempo of AFL football is a credit to his professionalism and desire to learn and improve.
“Despite being in just his second season of AFL football, Luke plays with a maturity well beyond his years and has been very successful in restricting the opposition's most dangerous forward each week."