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Two Rising Stars named in AFLW draw

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 18:  Erin McKinnon of the Giants is challenged by Kelly Clinch of the Dockers during the Women's round three match between Greater Western Sydney Giants and Fremantle Dockers at Blacktown International Sportspark on February 18, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Giant Erin McKinnon impressed against the experienced Kelly Clinch

TWO PLAYERS from the same match are the NAB AFL Women's Rising Star nominees for round three – Greater Western Sydney's ruck Erin McKinnon and Fremantle forward Ashley Sharp.

McKinnon was strong in the ruck against the experienced Kelly Clinch, winning 31 hit-outs to 18.

Having turned 18 only last December, she also has the unusual honour of being both the youngest and tallest player (at 189cm) on AFLW lists. 

Drafted from the Sydney University Bombers with pick No.48, McKinnon represented NSW/ACT in youth girls’ carnivals from 2013-16 after starting in an under-12 side with friends at the Mosman Swans.

She was told of the nomination in an unusual team meeting. 

"The team sat down in the players' lounge, and then the staff came in, which was odd, and some cameras, so we were a bit confused as to what was happening," McKinnon said. 

"Then Tim (coach Tim Schmidt) told me I had the nomination and the girls all got around me. I only found out a few minutes ago, so I'm still on a bit of a high. 

"I wasn't expecting the nomination. We had a good performance on the weekend, kept improving, but it was a bittersweet feeling when the siren went [and the game had ended in a draw]."

McKinnon finished year 12 at Mosman High School last year, and will be starting a degree in sports and exercise science at Sydney University next month. For now, she's enjoying being in an elite sporting environment and investigating potential careers. 

"My course will work well with footy [giving me] exposure to different pathways out there. I'm thinking about physiotherapy, but you never know what I might end up doing," she said. 

Fremantle's Sharp was dangerous up forward, using her speed and agility to kick three goals from four scoring shots. The 19-year-old also finished with eight disposals and four tackles. 

Sharp was nominated by the AFLW captains as favourite to win the Rising Star award before the season started.

She was drafted at pick No.20 from Swan Districts, Fremantle's third selection. 

Two players will be nominated per round for the Rising Star award, with the winner chosen from the 14 nominees and announced at season's end.

Docker Ashley Sharp bagged three goals in the historic draw. Picture: AFL Photos