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 10 nominees from history.
Richmond fans, this one is going to be hard to split.
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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.
But choosing between favourite sons Dustin Martin and Matthew Richardson this week proved a difficult task.
This week we did that as we ranked the best ever round 10 NAB AFL Rising Star nominees, with both Tigers champions receiving the honour in their respective seasons.
A number of quality players also sat outside of our top five. West Coast premiership player Daniel Chick, Melbourne Brownlow medallist Shane Woewodin, Adelaide high-flyer Brett Burton, Carlton and North Melbourne forward Jarrad Waite and Blues and Crows mifielder Bryce Gibbs were all under consideration.
And give it a couple more years of his excellence and 2013's round 10 nominee – Giant Lachie Whitfield – will also likely be in the top rung.
TOP FIVE ROUND NINE NAB AFL RISING STAR NOMINEES
No.5: Taylor Walker (Adelaide)
Nominated: 2009 (Did not place)
The former Adelaide skipper's breakout performance of five goals in his 10th game saw him claim his Rising Star honour. Walker's impressive debut season – he booted 23 goals from 14 games – was a primer of things to come. He came of age in 2012 with 63 goals, and has now kicked 428 majors from 190 games. He needs only 13 more goals to surpass Tony Modra as the Crows' leading goalkicker.
No.4: Travis Cloke (Collingwood)
Nominated: 2005 (Did not place)
Cloke was nominated for the Rising Star in his sixth game, but it wasn't until his third season that he really found his feet as one of the premier goalkickers in the competition. The hulking left-footer was a central player in the Pies' 2010 flag, and he hit his best form after that by booting 69, 59 and 68 goals in consecutive years. He finished his career with 452 goals from 256 games.
No.3: Chad Cornes (Port Adelaide)
Nominated: 2000 (Did not place)
Cornes won his Rising Star nomination after three goals and 20 disposals against Geelong in 2000, and the first chunk of his career was played as a marking forward. Although he would continue to spend time in attack thereafter, Cornes' became one of the game's best centre-half backs with his marking and skill level. He was a key member of Port's 2004 flag, when he won his first All-Australian jumper and finished third in the Brownlow Medal.
No.2: Matthew Richardson (Richmond)
Nominated: 1993 (Only winner was announced; did not win)
The athletic key forward and Richmond Team of the Century member finished his 282-game career with 800 goals next to his name – making him the 12th leading goalkicker in football history. A three-time All-Australian, Richardson was a brilliant mark and carried the Tigers' forward line throughout his career. He has been inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
No.1: Dustin Martin (Richmond)
Nominated: 2010 (was ineligible)
Martin was disqualified from winning the NAB AFL Rising Star in 2010 after accepting a reprimand from the AFL's match review panel, and he would have been a very strong chance to take home the award after a brilliant debut season. He's made up for it since, becoming one of the most significant figures in Richmond's history. The damaging midfielder is a two-time premiership winner and Norm Smith medallist, a Brownlow medallist and a three-time All-Australian.