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O'Meara named Rising Star

Nick Bowen   September 4, 2013 2:41 PM

Rising Star wrap A full report from the NAB AFL Rising Star function at Crown in Melbourne
GOLD Coast's Jaeger O'Meara has capped off an outstanding debut season by winning this year's NAB AFL Rising Star Award from Adelaide's Brad Crouch, with Port Adelaide's Oliver Wines finishing third.
 
O'Meara polled 44 of a possible 45 votes to win by 13 votes from Crouch, with Wines finishing on 26 votes ahead of North Melbourne's Aaron Mullett and Sydney Swan Tom Mitchell who tied on 11 votes in equal fourth.

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O'Meara was the strong favourite heading into Wednesday's Rising Star announcement in Melbourne after a stellar debut season when he played all 22 of the Suns' games and averaged 21.6 disposals and kicked 16 goals.
 
The 19-year-old West Australian and Crouch entered the AFL under plenty of fanfare this year after the pair were the respective No.1 and 2 picks in the 2011 GWS mini-draft.
 
O'Meara more than lived up to the hype, with Essendon great Tim Watson so impressed he declared the young Sun could eventually become "the greatest midfielder that's ever played the game".
 
It's high praise indeed, especially given O'Meara plays alongside a player many think will go down as the best midfielder ever – Suns captain Gary Ablett.

Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna said O'Meara's debut season was one of the best he had seen.
 
"For a player to come into a senior side and do what he has been able to do this year is unique, to do it at a football club in our position with so many inexperienced players is purely phenomenal," McKenna said on Wednesday.
 
McKenna said O'Meara was so "grounded" he had no concerns he would suffer a case of second-year blues.
 
"I know he'll be happy with his year but I got a text from him throughout the course of the year saying, 'Hopefully I can find my form this week.' And I'm thinking, 'What form's that?'" McKenna said.
 
"He might have dropped from 19 possessions down to 18, but he still wants to be the best he can."
 
O'Meara preferred to talk about Gold Coast's improvement in 2013 rather than his own "pretty good year".

But he said joining the club at the end of 2011 and spending a year with its reserves team in the NEAFL had helped his transition into the AFL.
 
"It was really beneficial for me. I got to get in the gym a year earlier, I obviously got to learn Bluey's game plan and getting to know the boys was really important," O'Meara said.
 


But O'Meara is the complete midfielder.
 
Quick, agile and strong-bodied, he can win the hard ball at stoppages and is just as damaging in the open with his run and carry.
 
At 182cm, he is deceptively strong overhead and kicks well on both feet.
 
Crouch's AFL career got off to a slow start with injuries and indifferent form limiting him to just four games in the first half of this season.
 
However, the 19-year-old Victorian did not miss a game from round 14, producing a stellar run of form in which he did not dip below 22 possessions in a match.
 
In 14 games, he averaged 24.5 disposals and, like O'Meara, showcased a rare combination of hardness at stoppages, outside run and elite foot skills.
 
Wines, who does not turn 19 until next month, was pick No.7 in last year's NAB AFL Draft and heading into this season looked the player most likely from that group to make an immediate impact at senior level.
 
Strong-bodied and a natural inside ball-winner, Wines did just that, winning the round one Rising Star nomination after racking up 24 possessions and kicking a goal on debut.
 
Wines cemented himself in Port's midfield over the season, playing all 22 home and away games and averaging 19 possessions, and should make his finals debut on Saturday night against Collingwood.

Final 2013 Voting

Jaeger O'Meara (Gold Coast) - 44
Brad Crouch (Adelaide) - 31
Oliver Wines (Port Adelaide) - 26
Aaron Mullett (North Melbourne) - 11
Tom Mitchell (Sydney Swans) - 11
Nick Vlastuin (RIchmond) - 7
Lachie Whitfield (GWS) - 3
Brodie Grundy (Collingwood) - 1
Sam Mayes (Brisbane Lions) - 1

The selectors’ votes were as follows:

Andrew Demetriou
5 – Jaeger O’Meara
4 – Brad Crouch
3 – Oliver Wines
2 – Tom Mitchell
1 – Aaron Mullett

Luke Darcy
5 – Jaeger O’Meara
4 – Brad Crouch
3 – Oliver Wines
2 – Tom Mitchell
1 – Brodie Grundy

Mark Evans
5 – Jaeger O’Meara
4 – Oliver Wines
3 – Nick Vlastuin
2 – Aaron Mullett     
1 – Lachie Whitfield

Danny Frawley
5 – Jaeger O’Meara
4 – Brad Crouch
3 – Oliver Wines
2 – Tom Mitchell
1 – Aaron Mullett     

Glen Jakovich
5 – Jaeger O’Meara
4 – Oliver Wines
3 – Aaron Mullett
2 – Brad Crouch
1 – Nick Vlastuin

Cameron Ling
5 – Jaeger O’Meara
4 – Brad Crouch
3 – Nick Vlastuin
2 – Tom Mitchell
1 – Aaron Mullett

Mark Ricciuto
5 – Brad Crouch
4 – Jaeger O’Meara
3 – Oliver Wines
2 – Tom Mitchell
1 – Aaron Mullett

Kevin Sheehan
5 – Jaeger O’Meara
4 – Brad Crouch
3 – Oliver Wines
2 – Lachie Whitfield
1 – Sam Mayes

Twitter: @AFL_Nick