OVER the next few Mondays draft guru Callum Twomey will rank the five best NAB AFL Rising Star nominees in each round from 1993, the first year of the award, to 2019. This week we name the best round-six nominees from history.

PICK SIX in the NAB AFL Draft has for some time been considered a bogey selection in the football industry.

And in terms of winning the NAB AFL Rising Star, round six is perhaps the equivalent.

Throughout the coveted award's history since 1993, there has never been a round six nominee who has gone on to claim the honour at the end of that respective season.

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That's not to say there haven't been some quality players within this group, with's ranking of the top five players featuring four premiership players, two Norm Smith medallists and a club captain.

While football faces its COVID-19 shutdown period, we will be reflecting and ranking each round's best nominees.


The rankings will judge the players based on the totality of their careers and not just the performances in the game they were nominated or that season.

Collingwood's Josh Fraser, Freo's Stephen Hill, Cat turned Power forward Steven Motlop and Port newcomer Xavier Duursma are others who have been round six nominations.


No.5: Jack Darling (West Coast)
Nominated: 2011 (5th place overall)
Darling started his career in brilliant form, booting 11 goals from his first nine games with the Eagles. The athletic key forward was a senior regular from the start, finishing with 24 majors in his first AFL season. Was a vital member of the club's forward half in its 2018 flag, booting 48 goals that season.

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No.4: Bradley Hill (Hawthorn)
Nominated: 2013 (Did not place)
After winning the nomination in round six, Hill went on to play in the Hawks' 2013 flag. The brilliant wingman also featured in the club's 2014 and 2015 triumphs, becoming a three-time flag winner by the end of his fourth season. After three seasons with Fremantle, where he won the 2017 best and fairest, Hill joined St Kilda last season.

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No.3: Shannon Grant (Sydney)
Nominated: 1996 (Only winner was announced; did not win)
Grant's breakout 1996 season saw him play in Sydney's Grand Final loss to North Melbourne. At the end of the following season he was traded to the Roos, where he went on to forge a terrific career as a skilful left-footed half-forward. He won the Norm Smith Medal for his 1999 Grand Final effort, and finished his career with 301 games.

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No.2: David Neitz (Melbourne)
Nominated: 1993 (Only winner was announced; did not win)
Neitz is Melbourne's leading games (301) and goals (631) holder throughout the club's long and rich history. The versatile tall started his career as a centre-half back before transitioning into a full forward and the Demons' captain. Won the 2002 Coleman Medal and led his side to the 2000 Grand Final.

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No.1: Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn)
Nominated: 2008 (2nd place overall)
Rioli was narrowly pipped for the NAB AFL Rising Star award in 2008 by Fremantle midfielder Rhys Palmer. But the Hawthorn small forward enjoyed team success weeks later when he was a pivotal player in the Hawks' surprise Grand Final win over Geelong. The brilliant Hawk became a four-time flag winner, three-time Virgin Australia All-Australian and Norm Smith medallist before his early retirement in 2018.

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