SYDNEY Swans defender Callum Mills has won the NAB AFL Rising Star award, becoming the first academy player from any club to take out the title.

He is also the first New South Wales-born player to win the Ron Evans Medal, which he received in a presentation at Crown Palladium on Tuesday.

2016 NAB AFL Rising Star winner Callum Mills with his girlfriend Tiffany Browne

Mills finished with 49 votes, which meant he received maximum scores from all but one member of the voting panel, Geelong premiership captain Cameron Ling, who gave his top vote to Caleb Daniel.

Western Bulldogs midfielder Daniel finished second with 41 votes after a season that saw him line up in all but two matches.

 The 2016 NAB AFL Rising Star Award as it happened

Carlton defender Jacob Weitering was third on 26 votes.

Mills used to play rugby union but began playing AFL when he was 13, with one aspect in particular drawing him to the sport. 

"The 360 dimension of the game, it's so different every game. It's exciting, it's fast and there's so many more skills that you can use," Mills said upon taking out the award 

"In rugby, I used to kick the ball too much so my coach used to get angry, so I thought AFL was the game for me."

He has become known for his courage and seemingly has no issues running back with the flight of the ball.

"It seems reckless at the time but when you're on the field and you see how much support they (teammates) give you, it's quite easy to listen to what they say and do it," Mills said.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan chats to the Rising Star nominees. Picture: AFL Photos

Swans recruiting manager Kinnear Beatson believes the Rising Star winner could get even better once the club can find room in its midfield for him.

"Callum, in time, will push up and play through the midfield, which is where he played a lot of his junior football. We think there's still room for improvement in that area," Beatson said.

Essendon's Darcy Parish finished fourth (19 votes) and Collingwood forward Darcy Moore was fifth with nine votes.

Four other players received votes: Demon Christian Petracca (2), St Kilda's Jade Gresham (2), Melbourne's Clayton Oliver (1) and Fremantle's Lachie Weller (1).

2016 NAB AFL Rising Star

Callum MillsSYD49
Caleb DanielWB41
Jacob WeiteringCARL26
Darcy ParishESS19
Darcy MooreCOLL9
Jade GreshamSTK2
Christian PetraccaMELB2
Clayton OliverMELB1
Lachie WellerFRE1

Mills was drafted at No. 3 last year after Melbourne initially placed a bid for him at that position.

After the Swans matched the selection, the Demons selected Oliver.

Demons James Harmes, Oscar McDonald and Clayton Oliver catch up at the ceremony. Picture: AFL Photos

With the Swans finishing on top of the ladder, the 19-year-old could become just the second player to win a premiership in his rising star year, joining Geelong captain Joel Selwood (2007) on that list.

Mills has slotted seamlessly in to the Swans defence, and his hardness and reliability have impressed football observers.

Recruited from North Shore, he is the third Swan to win the award after Dan Hannebery (2010) and Adam Goodes (1999).

Mills missed the final game of the season with a corked calf but has been in full training for the past week and is expected to face Greater Western Sydney in the Swans' qualifying final on Saturday afternoon at ANZ Stadium.

Daniel was drafted at No. 46 in 2014 because of concerns he was too short (168cm) but has cemented a spot in the Dogs' side.

NAB AFL Rising Star winners: 1993-present

YearPlayerClubVotesRecruited from
2016Callum MillsSYD49North Shore (NSW)
2015Jesse HoganMELB49Claremont (WA)
2014Lewis TaylorBL39Terang-Mortlake (VIC)
2013Jaeger O'MearaGCFC44Perth (WA)
2012Daniel TaliaADEL43Calder Cannons (VIC)
2011Dyson HeppellESS44Gippsland Power (VIC)
2010Daniel HanneberySYD45Kew (VIC)
2009Daniel RichBL45Subiaco (WA)
2008Rhys PalmerFRE44East Fremantle (WA)
2007Joel SelwoodGEEL44Bendigo U18
2006Danyle PearcePORT43Sturt (SA)
2005Brett DeledioRICH43Kyabram/ Murray U18
2004Jared RiversMELB45North Adelaide (SA)
2003Sam MitchellHAW33Mooroolbark/ Eastern U18
2002Nick RiewoldtSTK34Southport (Qld)
2001Justin KoschitzkeSTK31Albury (NSW)/ Murray U18
2000Paul HaslebyFRE33East Fremantle (WA)
1999Adam GoodesSYD33Horsham/ North Ballarat U18
1998Byron PickettNMFC30Port Adelaide (SANFL)
1997Michael WilsonPORT27Port Adelaide (SANFL)
1996Ben CousinsWCE -East Fremantle (WA)
1995Nick HollandHAW -North Adelaide (SA)
1994Chris ScottBL -Eastern U18
1993Nathan BuckleyBL -Port Adelaide (SANFL)

Want more?

• Full coverage at the NAB AFL Rising Star hub

 24 years of Rising Star winners in pictures

• How does the Rising Star Award work and who is eligible?

Listen to the Road to the Draft podcast, recorded live at the 2016 NAB AFL Rising Star Awards: