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Your club's NAB AFL Rising Star contenders

Dees tackle bullies, star Crow's future in doubt Nat Edwards with all the latest news

Best chance: Chayce Jones (BetEasy odds: $41)

The Crows had high hopes for the 19-year-old Tasmanian when he was taken with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NAB AFL Draft. He's lived up to those expectations by forcing his way into the club's best 22. Jones was rewarded for strong form in the JLT Community Series with a round one debut against Hawthorn. His speed across the ground, tackling pressure, composure and ability to hit targets by foot have been the standouts of his early performances.

Other chances:  Darcy Fogarty (10 games), Myles Poholke (nine games), Tyson Stengle (two games)

None of the trio are in the senior side, but are only an injury or two away from another opportunity. Fogarty, 19, and Poholke, 20, got a taste of the elite level with 10 and nine games respectively last year. Stengle, 20, adds small forward depth after playing two games with Richmond in 2017.

Other eligible players: Elliott Himmelberg (one game), Jordon Butts, Will Hamill, Ned McHenry, Andrew McPherson, Lachlan Sholl (all yet to debut) - Lee Gaskin

Chayce Jones has been a standout for the Crows in his first two matches. Picture: AFL Photos

Best chance: Brandon Starcevich (BetEasy odds: $67)

With a settled team and a bit more experience sitting on the outside waiting to break in, it's hard to see too many eligible Lions playing a big role in 2019. Starcevich was in-line to play round one before his recent hamstring injury and although he's a few weeks away from returning, still looks the best bet. Showed his versatility in four senior games last year and trained all pre-season in defence. The West Australian is strong over the ball, composed and should get his chance once fit.

Other chances: Connor Ballenden (yet to debut), Tom Berry (yet to debut), Connor McFadyen (yet to debut), Ely Smith (yet to debut).

Aside from Ballenden, who played in defence during the JLT Community Series, the other three players are all first-year players. Berry and Smith also played JLT matches while McFadyen is just back playing after a long-term foot injury.

Other eligible players: Jacob Allison (eight games), Sam Skinner (one game) - Michael Whiting

Best chance: Sam Walsh (BetEasy odds: $2)

The No.1 draft pick is the current favourite for the NAB AFL Rising Star – and with good reason. Walsh has started his AFL career in typically professional fashion, winning 24 and 25 disposals in his first two matches. His work ethic, ability and willingness to provide an overlap and his ball use by hand and foot is that of a seasoned veteran. In Walsh, Carlton has a genuine A-Grade prospect on its hands. 

Other chances: Will Setterfield (four games), Liam Stocker (yet to debut)

Setterfield is a dark horse in the Rising Star race and has made a serviceable start to his Carlton career. Expect his output to continue improving as he gets more games under his belt. Stocker might also be a sneaky chance, should he soon earn an AFL debut.

Other eligible players: Patrick Kerr (four games), Kym LeBois (yet to debut), Harrison Macreadie (eight games), Finbar O'Dwyer (yet to debut), Angus Schumacher (yet to debut), Ben Silvagni (yet to debut) - Riley Beveridge

WHO MAKES FINALS? Do the 2019 Ladder Predictor

Best chance: Isaac Quaynor (Beteasy odds: $51)

With his maturity and professionalism, the Pies' first pick at No. 13 in last year's draft is often referred to by teammates as a "ready-made" AFL player. A graduate of the Pies' Next Generation Academy, the dashing defender trained at a high level over summer, earning a spot in a scratch match against Melbourne and also his first official appearance for the club in the first JLT Community Series game against Fremantle in Perth. That was Quaynor's most recent appearance at senior level, so he is unlikely to match teammate Jaidyn Stephenson's effort of winning the award last year.

Other chances: Nathan Murphy (2 games)

The rangy Murphy, who is a lovely kick and is perhaps best suited to a half-back flank, played the opening JLT game and has been upskilling to provide a third tall defensive option. Suffered a minor calf injury but should return in the VFL at the weekend.

Other eligible players: Atu Bosenavulagi, Tyler Brown and Will Kelly. - Ben Collins

Collingwood defender Isaac Quaynor is seen as a ready-made AFL player. Picture: AFL Photos

Best chance: Jordan Ridley (BetEasy odds: $51)

Ridley was impressive in the JLT Community Series and played in round one, before he was unlucky to be omitted for last week's clash with St Kilda. He is a classy user of the ball from half-back and can make the play from that area of the ground. Ridley, who has suffered injury setbacks in his time at Essendon, played three senior games last season, including an impressive 25-disposal debut against Geelong.

Other chances: Josh Begley (eight games), Kobe Mutch (three games), Dylan Clarke (one game)

Begley showed some good signs as a powerful forward last year before his season-ending knee injury on Anzac Day. Mutch and Clarke could be given more opportunities in the midfield this season if the Bombers' senior side continues to struggle. 

Other eligible players: Sam Draper, Noah Gown, Brayden Ham, Jordan Houlahan, Tom Jok, Irving Mosquito, Trent Mynott, Brandon Zerk-Thatcher (all yet to debut) - Callum Twomey

Best chance: Sam Sturt (BetEasy odds: $81)

Most of the Dockers' young guns – such as Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra, Brennan Cox and Sean Darcy – have played too many games to qualify for the Rising Star, so Sturt is the standout contender. The former gun cricketer is full of potential and has drawn comparisons to a young Nat Fyfe, but he has never completed a football pre-season before this year and is coming from a long way back. If the lanky youngster can string some games together for Peel early in the season he might surprise a few and find a spot in the senior line-up, more than likely across half-forward.

Other chances: Stefan Giro (10 games), Mitch Crowden (nine games), Luke Valente (yet to debut)

Giro and Crowden have some experience under their belt and could receive a nomination if they enjoy a breakout performance. Former SA under-18s captain Valente has plenty of ability but a restricted pre-season due to groin trouble will make it tough to play many AFL matches.

Other eligible players: Jason Carter, Hugh Dixon, Lloyd Meek, Tom North, Tobe Watson (all yet to debut) - Travis King

Already nominated in 2019:  Charlie Constable (round two)

Best chance: Constable (BetEasy odds: $17)

Not often a second-year player forces Joel Selwood and Gary Ablett out of centre-bounce stoppages. Constable has collected 21 and 31 disposals in his first two outings, including a crunch goal in the season opener to take his opportunity in both hands. While the knock previously was his ability to cover the turf, the 19-year-old has fitted in seamlessly to the increased pace after a full year in the VFL. With Scott Selwood injured, the inside midfield position looks his for the taking.

Other chances: Jordan Clark (two games), Gryan Miers (two games), Esava Ratugolea (10).
It's not a matter of if, but when Clark gets nominated. A lock in the Cats' back six, the dashing half-back has all the qualities of an elite defender. Ratugolea has threatened to single-handedly burst open a game, but until he does, he will sit behind Constable and Clark in Geelong's chances.

Other eligible players:  Jamaine Jones (seven games), Sam Simpson (six) - Mitch Cleary

Charlie Constable was the round two nominee for the Rising Star. Picture: AFL Photos

Best chance: Wil Powell (BetEasy odds: $41)

Played seven games last year as a small forward and took a huge step during the pre-season. Powell has played the opening fortnight on a wing, racking up 23 and 21 disposals. Still lightly built, the 19-year-old has a huge aerobic capacity that allows him to get back and help his team's defence as well as drift forward to help in attack. He is also courageous beyond his build, an excellent ball user and should play plenty of matches.

Other chances: Jack Lukosius (two games), Ben King (yet to debut), Jez McLennan (yet to debut), Izak Rankine (yet to debut)

Lukosius has played the first two games and shown small flashes of his potential, although it's a big ask to expect a young key forward to dominate. Once he overcomes a recent hamstring injury, Rankine might be the best chance from this lot after showing his explosiveness and goal-sense during the JLT Series.

Other eligible players: Brayden Crossley (10 games) Brad Scheer (10 games), Jacob Heron (eight games), Jacob Dawson (three games) - Michael Whiting

FULL INJURY LIST Who's ruled out and who's a test?

Best chance: Sam Taylor (BetEasy odds: $21)

The young key defender was outstanding in eight games last year until a hamstring injury ended his season in round 20, and started 2019 in similar fashion against Essendon in round one. Taylor is a ruthless competitor, reads the play brilliantly and has stepped into the AFL system seamlessly. The West Australian is athletic enough to play on talls and smalls and is highly rated by the Giants because of his ability to shut down opponents while also creating his own offence.

Other chances: Aiden Bonar (four games), Jye Caldwell (yet to debut), Jackson Hately (yet to debut)

Hately looks the best equipped to have an impact here after a solid JLT Community Series, and he should be given a chance soon. Bonar has played well in the NEAFL so could be seen at senior level early in the season, while Caldwell is out at the moment battling groin soreness.

Other eligible players: Brent Daniels (nine games), Isaac Cumming (two games), Nick Shipley (two games) - Adam Curley

Sam Taylor was outstanding last season and against Essendon in round one. Picture: AFL Photos

Best chance: James Cousins (BetEasy odds: $21)

Coming into 2019, Cousins had played seven games across two seasons, and has already added to that tally by playing both games this year so far. The inside midfielder has showed some real promise, having kicked three goals and averaged 20 touches a game.

Other chances: Conor Nash (seven), Jack Scrimshaw (six), Mitchell Lewis (two)

Former Sun Jack Scrimshaw is probably the next best chance, with a move giving him a much-needed fresh start. He’s slotted in nicely to Hawthorn’s back six. A classy player, if he can stay fit he'll grow in confidence week to week.

Other eligible players: Oliver Hanrahan, Harrison Jones, Dylan Moore, Mathew Walker (all yet to debut) - Nat Edwards

Best chance: Tom Sparrow (BetEasy odds: $101)

Sparrow was a late inclusion for Jordan Lewis in round one and has made the most of his opportunities in the senior side with several injuries to key players. The young Demon kicked a goal on debut against Port to go with 14 disposals and had eight disposals on a torrid night for Melbourne against Geelong on Saturday night. The 18-year-old, pick No.27 in last year's draft, was compared to Patrick Dangerfield by some at Melbourne over the pre-season for his power out of the contest and physical readiness to play.

Other chances: Harrison Petty (one game), Oskar Baker (yet to debut)

Petty is a chance to play in the coming weeks after displaying strong form at Casey in the VFL. The key defender is a quick learner and has impact aerially. Baker is on the comeback trail from a serious hamstring injury but has the type of pace the Demons could do with in their line-up. Was close to making his debut midway through last year.

Other eligible players: Toby Bedford, Kade Chandler, James Jordon  (all yet to debut) - Ben Guthrie

Tom Sparrow made his debut as a late inclusion in round one. Picture: AFL Photos

Already nominated in 2019: Bailey Scott (round one)

Best chance: Luke Davies-Uniacke ($17)

The No.4 pick from the 2017 NAB AFL Draft is making up for lost time this year. 'LDU' played only seven games in his debut campaign – far fewer than his top-10 draft peers – but impressed in the 2019 JLT Community Series to earn his senior spot. He was only solid in the opening round before an outstanding round two display on Sunday, complete with 26 disposals (15 contested) and five clearances. Davies-Uniacke is a prototypical big midfielder who looms as Ben Cunnington's successor as the Roos' main man in the middle.

Other chances: Cameron Zurhaar (nine games), Tom Murphy (four games), Bailey Scott (two games), Tarryn Thomas (one game)

Scott's the only one with a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination so far, but a bout of gastro left him flat in round two. He's adapted wonderfully to the AFL environment and should play double-digit games. Thomas made his senior debut at the weekend as a late inclusion and showed some promising signs, while Zurhaar and Murphy are playing in the VFL at the moment.

Other eligible players: Will Walker (four games), Nick Larkey (two), Joel Crocker, Kyron Hayden, Tom McKenzie, Red Og Murphy, Curtis Taylor, Declan Watson, Tristan Xerri (all yet to debut) - Marc McGowan

Luke Davies-Uniacke is making up for lost time in his second season. Picture: AFL Photos

Best chance: Zak Butters (BetEasy odds: $17)

The 12th overall pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft, the 18-year-old has oozed class since arriving at Alberton in late November. Butters has all the attributes the Power are looking for with their new up-tempo game style. He's quick, anticipates what's going to happen and most importantly, he's fearless. Butters had 22 disposals and kicked 1.1 in the Power's round two win against Carlton last weekend. He's stepped up to the level beautifully and it's hard to see him slipping out of the side.

Other chances: Todd Marshall (12 games), Willem Drew (two games), Xavier Duursma (two games), Connor Rozee (two games)

The Power have five legitimate Rising Star nominees this year. Behind Butters, Duursma and Drew have been the other two standouts. Rozee's shown plenty of potential in his two games, while Marshall has started slowly, but is capable of kicking a big bag of goals.

Other eligible players: Kane Farrell (five games), Joe Atley (three games), Tobin Cox, Martin Frederick, Joel Garner, Riley Grundy, Sam Hayes, Peter Ladhams, Jake Patmore, Kai Pudney, Boyd Woodcock (all yet to debut) - Lee Gaskin

Best chance: Ryan Garthwaite (BetEasy odds: $34)

With Alex Rance requiring a knee reconstruction after rupturing his ACL, Garthwaite is expected to play the vast majority of the season. He has missed the first two games after suffering an Achilles injury in the pre-season, but is building match fitness in the VFL. A young key defender on the rise, Garthwaite has benefited from two years away from the spotlight, developing his game in the twos while training with star defenders Rance, David Astbury and Dylan Grimes.

Other chances: Liam Baker (three games), Noah Balta (one game), Riley Collier-Dawkins (yet to debut), Jack Ross (yet to debut)

Nippy small forward Baker has good awareness but is probably just out of the best 22. Balta's versatility at either end of the ground means he is likely to add to his first senior game in round one, while draftee midfielder Ross and Collier-Dawkins should play AFL this year.

Other eligible players: Shai Bolton (nine games), Callum Coleman-Jones, Derek Eggmolesse-Smith, Luke English, Ben Miller, Patrick Naish, Sydney Stack, Fraser Turner (all yet to debut) - Sarah Black

Ryan Garthwaite looms as Alex Rance's replacement in defence this season. Picture: AFL Photos

Best chance: Josh Battle (BetEasy odds: $34)

There's been a steep learning curve for Battle this year. He trained with the backline during the pre-season after having previously been a forward, and it looked like he would struggle to be picked. Injuries to Jake Carlisle (back) and Dylan Roberton (heart) changed everything though. Battle was selected in round one, basically out of necessity, but has acquitted himself reasonably well. His aggression and reading of the play mean he has the attributes to succeed in defence.

Other chances: Ed Phillips (seven games), Max King (yet to debut)

Last year's No.4 draftee, King won't be back from a right knee reconstruction for about another couple of months. The Saints need more presence in the air so if he can fire in the VFL, there could be a spot for him. Phillips is an elite runner who knows how to find the footy. However, they're both very long shots to win.

Other eligible players: Nick Coffield (10 games), Ben Paton (three games), Jack Bytel, Oscar Clavarino, Doulton Langlands (all yet to debut) - Dinny Navaratnam 

Best chance: Nick Blakey (BetEasy odds: $26)

The boom Swans Academy product has shown some exciting signs in his two games so far with his athleticism and quality left foot on show. Playing as a permanent forward could be a tough task for Blakey all season, so the Swans are expected to throw him up the ground at some stage to give him some freedom. Blakey flies for his marks aggressively and will give Sydney fans plenty of highlights this year.

Other chances:  Justin McInerney (yet to debut), James Rowbottom (yet to debut)

Draftees Rowbottom and McInerney both have plenty of developing to do but showed during the JLT Community Series that they have the competitiveness to make their debut this year. Both will likely come into the midfield mix and spend time on the wing.

Other eligible players: Jordan Dawson (six games), Ryley Stoddart (two games) - Adam Curley

Nick Blakey has show great promise in his two games in the AFL. Picture: AFL Photos

Best chance: Oscar Allen (BetEasy odds: $23)

You won't meet many more mature 20-year-olds, and Allen's natural ability coupled with his understanding of where he fits in West Coast's forward line means the former Larke medallist should play plenty of football this year. The mobile tall has been brilliant since game one of the JLT Community Series and has already slotted five goals this season, while his ability to play as a third marking target alongside Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy looks like working in the Eagles' kicking system.

Other chances: Jack Petruccelle (five games), Jarrod Brander (two games), Xavier O'Neill (yet to debut)

Petruccelle might not be a high possession winner but his blistering pace and tackle pressure has already added another element to West Coast's forward line. Brander is developing nicely but might be a year or two away from playing regularly. 

Other eligible players: Brayden Ainsworth (three games), Hamish Brayshaw, Jarrod Cameron, Harry Edwards, Luke Foley, Josh Rotham, Bailey Williams (all yet to debut) - Travis King

Best chance: Bailey Smith (BetEasy odds: $34)

The Western Bulldogs' prized No.7 pick from the 2018 NAB AFL Draft has already shown glimpses in his first two games at AFL level. The 18-year-old's pace and poise in the midfield was evident against Hawthorn, with 13 touches at 92.3 per cent efficiency – the best on the ground. Three years in a row Joel Selwood (2007), Rhys Palmer (2008) and Daniel Rich (2009) took Rising Star honours from the seventh selection in the draft. Are we watching number four blossom?

Other chances: Lewis Young (10 games), Rhylee West (yet to debut)

Young is a developing option in defence and was a late inclusion for Bailey Williams on the weekend. A solid deputy as he hones his craft, but he might struggle to string together consistent games. Father-son selection West is an exciting s. There's no rush for the inside midfielder, who played a strong hand in the VFL on Saturday with 19 disposals.

Other eligible players: Buku Khamis, Callum Porter, Laitham Vandermeer, Rhylee West, Lachie Young (all yet to debut) - Paul Bastin

Bailey Smith has already shown glimpses of his talent in his two AFL appearances. Picture: AFL Photos

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs