Main content

Small Swan continues trend with Rising Star nomination

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 3:  Tom Papley of the Swans celebrates after kicking a goal during the 2016 AFL Round 02 match between the Carlton Blues and the Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on April 3, 2016. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media)
Tom Papley has been an impressive find for the Sydney Swans

SYDNEY Swans forward Tom Papley has struck another blow for supposedly undersized players, earning the round five nomination for the NAB AFL Rising Star award.

Papley was rejected by every club before being drafted as a rookie by the Swans at the end of 2015, and he is repaying his club's faith in spades this season.

The 177cm forward has played every game and produced his best effort against West Coast on Saturday, kicking two goals to go with 20 possessions, six inside 50s and eight marks in the wet.

His rise has been rapid after spending 2015 as an overage player in the TAC Cup with the Gippsland Power, kicking 33 goals from 15 games.

The 19-year-old also broke into the Casey Scorpions VFL team last year, earning senior experience and convincing the Swans that he could be a valuable asset this season as a small forward.

"It was a bit of disappointment being passed over in the draft but I went to work the next day and kept positive," Papley said earlier this year.

"It’s a dream come true to play in the AFL and for the Sydney Swans."

The young goalkicker's recognition comes just a week after Western Bulldogs midfielder Caleb Daniel earned the Rising Star nomination in round four.

Papley (177cm), and even more so Daniel (168cm), have earned opportunities despite being considered too short to make it at the highest level.

After making an impressive three-goal debut against Collingwood, Papley earned more fans by pulling in a Mark of the Year contender in round two.

The Bunyip product bravely ran with the flight of the ball going inside 50 and took a courageous grab between two Blues opponents.

Papley has strong family connections to the Swans, with both his grandfathers – Max Papley and Jeff Bray – playing for South Melbourne in the 1960s.

Want more?

• Find 2016's nominees and vote for the winner at the NAB AFL Rising Star hub

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