JAIDYN Stephenson has become the first Collingwood player to claim the NAB AFL Rising Star award.

The Magpie sensation, pick No.6 in last year's NAB AFL Draft, polled 52 votes to take home the prestigious Ron Evans Medal from Adelaide's Tom Doedee (42 votes) and Brisbane's Alex Witherden (32 votes).

Stephenson kicked 34 goals for the season – 11 more than the next-highest return for a player eligible for the award, Sydney's Ben Ronke (23).

Stephenson was one of four Pies to kick more than 30 goals for the season, with the 19-year-old's speed and creativity in front of goal a crucial factor in Collingwood's return to finals and its eventual finish in the top four.

The 19-year-old, the red-hot favourite to take home the award, joins coach Nathan Buckley, who was the inaugural winner as a Brisbane player in 1993.

"I certainly didn't think I was a sure thing. I haven't been too nervous in the days leading up but today it hit me a little bit," Stephenson said.

"I'd done the best I could and I couldn't change the outcome anymore, so I just had to relax a little bit."

Stephenson also pointed out in his press conference that Collingwood women's player Chloe Molloy won the NAB AFLW Rising Star in March.

Stephenson bagged a career-high five goals in the Magpies' 48-point victory over Adelaide in round four to receive his nomination, going on to play every game in his debut season.

Despite long being considered a star draft prospect with the Eastern Ranges and Vic Metro, just weeks out from last year's Draft clubs were informed about a heart condition that could have affected the longevity of Stephenson's AFL career.

Some clubs were wary and took him off their draft boards, with the Magpies only receiving medical clearance to pick the exciting forward five hours before last year's Draft.

"There was a time there where I thought I might not get drafted, and I was a little bit nervous," Stephenson said.

"But for Derek Hine and his recruiting team and (president) Eddie McGuire to show faith in me, and all those involved, to take the risk on me and the chance on me I do owe them a lot."

Stephenson takes a tablet three times a day to help manage his heart condition.

"I've been able to do all the training and I haven't missed a beat. I'm just like anyone else who has to take a tablet every day," Stephenson said.

Stephenson paid special tribute to the bond he has with his grandfather Max, who used to throw socks at him as a three-year-old to help hone his hand-eye coordination.

"That slowly progressed into kicking. He unfortunately got dementia and we all know what dementia does to the body, but I'd go into the hospital and he wouldn't know my name, he wouldn't know who I was," Stephenson said.

"I'd bring out a footy and he'd still kick the footy with me, so that was unbelievable."

The NAB AFL Rising Star nominees of 2018. Picture: AFL Photos
Rising Star

After biding his time in the SANFL in his first two seasons, Doedee produced a breakout season in inheriting Jake Lever's role in 2018 – averaging 2.2 intercept marks and 18 disposals per game before breaking his collarbone in round 22.

No Rising Star nominee averaged more than Witherden's 22.4 disposals down back, with coach Chris Fagan believing his charge would have been a worthy overall winner.

West Coast's Tom Cole and Jake Waterman, and Greater Western Sydney's Sam Taylor, remained in Perth and Sydney respectively as they gear up for their finals campaigns, while Geelong's Jack Henry arrived at the function late after completing his training commitments in the morning.

Collingwood's Sam Murray was not in attendance as he awaits the results of an ASADA investigation after he recorded an elevated reading in a post-match drug test recently.

Final votes

52 Jaidyn Stephenson (Coll)
42 Tom Doedee (Adel)
32 Alex Witherden (Bris)
11 Jack Higgins (Rich)
10 Jack Henry (Geel), Ollie Florent (Syd)
4 Cameron Rayner (Bris)
2 Ben Ronke (Syd)
1 Aaron Francis (Ess), Ed Richards (WB)

NAB AFL Rising Star winners: 1993-present

Year Player Club Votes Recruited from
2018 Jaidyn Stephenson COLL 52 Eastern U18 (VIC)
2017 Andrew McGrath ESS 51 Sandringham Dragons (VIC)
2016 Callum Mills SYD 49 North Shore (NSW)
2015 Jesse Hogan MELB 49 Claremont (WA)
2014 Lewis Taylor BL 39 Terang-Mortlake (VIC)
2013 Jaeger O'Meara GCFC 44 Perth (WA)
2012 Daniel Talia ADEL 43 Calder Cannons (VIC)
2011 Dyson Heppell ESS 44 Gippsland Power (VIC)
2010 Daniel Hannebery SYD 45 Kew (VIC)
2009 Daniel Rich BL 45 Subiaco (WA)
2008 Rhys Palmer FRE 44 East Fremantle (WA)
2007 Joel Selwood GEEL 44 Bendigo U18
2006 Danyle Pearce PORT 43 Sturt (SA)
2005 Brett Deledio RICH 43 Kyabram/ Murray U18
2004 Jared Rivers MELB 45 North Adelaide (SA)
2003 Sam Mitchell HAW 33 Mooroolbark/ Eastern U18
2002 Nick Riewoldt STK 34 Southport (Qld)
2001 Justin Koschitzke STK 31 Albury (NSW)/ Murray U18
2000 Paul Hasleby FRE 33 East Fremantle (WA)
1999 Adam Goodes SYD 33 Horsham/ North Ballarat U18
1998 Byron Pickett NMFC 30 Port Adelaide (SANFL)
1997 Michael Wilson PORT 27 Port Adelaide (SANFL)
1996 Ben Cousins WCE  - East Fremantle (WA)
1995 Nick Holland HAW  - North Adelaide (SA)
1994 Chris Scott BL  - Eastern U18
1993 Nathan Buckley BL  - Port Adelaide (SANFL)