Main content

Speed Demon 'could be the best young player in the comp'

Petrie speaks, chasing Jaeger, Bombers smiling Footy Feed with Matt Thompson
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 06: Jayden Hunt of the Demons in action during the 2016 AFL Round 20 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 06, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Jayden Hunt has been a revelation for the Demons this season

MELBOURNE defender Jayden Hunt's failure to receive a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination is a "travesty" that highlights the flaws in the system, coach Paul Roos says.

A fired-up Roos believes the dashing young defender has been in the top six young players eligible for the award this season.

The Demons coach made a strong suggestion that Hunt should receive one after the side's game against Geelong at Simonds Stadium on Saturday.

All the latest NAB AFL Rising Star news

"He's had an incredibly good year. There's one game to go and it would be an absolutely travesty if he didn't get a nomination for the Rising Star because ... he could be our best young player, potentially, this season," Roos said.

"He should be in the top three or four (young) players in the comp and hasn't been nominated.

"It just shows you the flaws in the system. He could be the best young player in the comp this year and not get a nomination."

Roos said he believed Hunt could even finish higher in the club's best and fairest award than Rising Star nominees Clayton Oliver, James Harmes, Christian Petracca and Oscar McDonald.

After shaking off some serious injury issues over the past two years, Hunt has been a mainstay in Melbourne's defence and has improved in every game he has played in 2016. 

The 21-year-old has played 18 games, averaging 15.4 disposals and almost three rebound 50s per game. 

But Hunt's stats don't accurately reflect the impact he has made on the team this season.

His lightning speed, his sharp decision-making and his competitiveness in one-on-one contests all point to the makings of a very good player.

The Demons love the way Hunt backs himself to take the game on, illustrated by his sensational running goal against Carlton last weekend, and his ability to pressure the opposition into mistakes.


Roos, who will coach his final game on Saturday against Geelong before handing the reins to Simon Goodwin for 2017, he said his first task might be to have a chat to the Rising Star judges.

"I don't know how you can have a player who is clearly in your six best young players in the comp and hasn't been nominated," Roos said.

"It's ludicrous, so I'll fix that when I finish on Monday."

Richmond's Oleg Markov and the Brisbane Lions' Rhys Mathieson are also among those players unlucky not to receive a Rising Star nomination yet this season.