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Two Blues share AFLW Rising Star nomination

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 3: Bella Ayre of the Blues (right) hugs Tilly Lucas-Rodd of the Blues during the 2017 AFLW Round 01 match between the Carlton Blues and the Collingwood Magpies at Ikon Park on February 3, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Tilly Lucas-Rodd (l) and Bella Ayre (r) celebrate a Carlton goal

TWO CARLTON players are the round five nominees for the NAB AFL Women's Rising Star award, icing on the cake for the team after its important six-point win over the Western Bulldogs.

Key forward Bella Ayre and speedy midfielder Tilly Lucas-Rodd are the nominees, the club's first in the AFLW competition.

Ayre is one of the youngest players in the competition, having turned 18 only in December. She represented Vic Country in the AFL youth girls’ national championships four times.

She was drafted at No. 51 last year from Bendigo Thunder, where she won the VWFL best first-year player award and was the Premier Division's leading goalkicker.

On Saturday against the Dogs, she had eight disposals and kicked two goals from four shots in the Blues' win, a performance coach Damien Keeping called "encouraging".

"We understand Bella's a long-term prospect. Her understanding of her strengths and how they play out at this level is really starting to progress, and it's really exciting," Keeping said.

Lucas-Rodd was everywhere, finishing with a team-high 17 disposals, plus six marks and three tackles.

The St Kilda Shark has steadily been growing in confidence throughout the competition after being drafted at No. 99 last year.

The 20-year-old played her early football for Richmond Juniors before moving to East Malvern during her teenage years. She has an award named after her at Richmond, given to the player who demonstrates skill and determination.

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.