EVERY week 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 five best round eight nominees from history.
THERE has been only one player in the history of the NAB AFL Rising Star to be nominated in round eight and then go on to win the award that season.
That was Richmond's Brett Deledio, who soared in a brilliant first year to be the first – and only – Tiger to claim the honour in 2005.
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But where does that place Deledio in the all-time round eight nominees?
During the COVID-19 shutdown period, we have been reflecting and ranking each round's best nominees, judging the players based on the totality of their careers and not just in the performances in the game or season they were nominated.
The round eight group feature some brilliant names. Some excellent careers were marginally outside of the top-five, too, including former Dee and Hawk Cameron Bruce, ex-Melbourne and Brisbane midfielder Travis Johnstone and current Kangaroo Shaun Higgins.
Western Bulldogs premiership player and Virgin Australian All-Australian Jack Macrae and Greater Western Sydney's star midfielder Tim Taranto could break into the top group if their respective ascents continue.
TOP FIVE ROUND EIGHT NAB AFL RISING STAR NOMINEES
No.5: Daniel Bradshaw (Brisbane)
Nominated: 1997 (5th place overall)
Bradshaw came of age in his second AFL season, when he kicked 35 goals for Brisbane from 16 games. The deadeye forward's smarts, reliability in front of goal and consistency made him a perfect secondary key forward in the Lions' 2001 and 2003 premierships. After a final season playing with Sydney, the underrated Bradshaw closed his career with 524 goals to his name.
No.4: Brett Deledio (Richmond)
Nominated: 2005 (1st place overall)
Richmond's No.1 pick wasted no time in creating an impression, winning the NAB AFL Rising Star in his debut season. The midfielder's pace, skills and ability to push forward made Deledio a mainstay at Punt Road for 12 seasons before he spent his final three years with Greater Western Sydney. Deledio retired last year after 275 games.
No.3: Andrew Mackie (Geelong)
Nominated: 2004 (Only top three was announced; did not place)
The Cats used pick No.7 in the 2002 NAB AFL Draft on Mackie, who turned out to be one of their great defenders. The versatile defender was a key member of the Cats' 2007, 2009 and 2011 flags, and won Virgin Australia All-Australian selection in 2013. Mackie retired at the end of 2017 after 280 games.
No.2: Michael O'Loughlin (Sydney)
Nominated: 1995 (Only winner was announced; did not win)
The Sydney goalkicker burst onto the scene for the Swans, booting 12 goals in his first six AFL appearances, including four against Carlton in the match he claimed his Rising Star nomination. O'Loughlin went on to be an all-time Sydney great, the star forward regularly producing memorable moments and kicking 52 goals in the Swans' breakthrough 2005 premiership year.
No.1: James Hird (Essendon)
Nominated: 1993 (Only winner was announced; did not win)
Hird's star began to take shape in 1993, when the Essendon forward played a key role in the club's 'Baby Bombers' flag. He booted 31 goals from 16 games, including four goals against St Kilda in his nomination game. Hird went on to be one of Essendon's greatest ever players, captaining the club to its 2000 flag, as well as winning a Brownlow and Norm Smith Medal.