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Josh Kelly caps off Giants' Rising Star dozen

Kelly a new Giant star Watch Josh Kelly in action during the Giants' round three win over Melbourne
Josh Kelly poses during the GWS Giants 2014 portrait session at Olympic Park, Sydney on February 04, 2014. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media) (Editors note: A digital filter has been applied to this image)
Josh Kelly earned the NAB AFL Rising Star nomination for round three
It's a bit of recognition for all your hard work over pre-season … it really wasn't something that I expected
Josh Kelly
GREATER Western Sydney's No.2 draft pick Josh Kelly has become the 12th player in the club's short history to be nominated for the NAB AFL Rising Star award.

The 19-year-old midfielder earned the honour after a brilliant performance in his first full AFL game – the Giants' 32-point win over Melbourne in round three.

He collected 17 disposals in wet conditions – including seven contested – and booted two classy goals in the final term to help seal GWS' second win for the season.

Kelly's poise in the heat of battle drew high praise from Giants coach Leon Cameron and attracted the attention of the Rising Star judges. 

"It was good to kick a couple of late goals ... our mids really stepped up in that last quarter," Kelly told AFL.com.au on Monday.

"To get that second win for the club was great, we were stoked."

High draft picks always attract added scrutiny, but the Rising Star nomination has helped Kelly feel like he belongs at AFL level.

"I think it definitely does, and it's a bit of recognition for all your hard work over pre-season," the Sandringham Dragons product said.

"It was a pleasant surprise. It really wasn't something that I expected."

Kelly swells the list of GWS' Rising Star nominees – which includes All Australian forward Jeremy Cameron, Stephen Coniglio, Tomas Bugg, Devon Smith and Lachie Whitfield.

It's a fearsome prospect for the years ahead, especially when you consider the rest of the Giants' squad.

Callan Ward (Bulldogs), Phil Davis (Adelaide) and Tom Scully (Melbourne) were nominated at their previous clubs, while top draft picks Jonathon Patton and the yet-to-debut Tom Boyd are tipped to set the competition alight in future.

So it's understandable that Kelly, who picked up 11 touches in his first game after coming on as the sub against St Kilda in round two, recently re-signed until the end of 2017.

"It's a really exciting time for the club, it's really good that we're starting to get results for a lot of hard work that's gone in," he said.

"Everything about the club's been great so far. There's a brand-new facility, great playing group and fantastic coaches."

Although the hype from Sydney's west continues to grow, the Giants - and Kelly - aren't getting ahead of themselves.

"We don't have a specific number of games we want to win, we just want to win certain aspects," Kelly said.

"Contested possessions is one of those areas; we want to be a hard, in-and-under team.

"I just want to keep training hard and putting my hand up for selection."

GWS' Rising Star nominees: Jeremy Cameron, Tomas Bugg, Stephen Coniglio, Dylan Shiel, Toby Greene, Adam Treloar, Devon Smith, Dom Tyson (now at Melbourne), Lachie Whitfield, Adam Tomlinson, Zac Williams and Josh Kelly.