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 12 nominees from history.

THE STAR factor for the round 12 batch of NAB AFL Rising Star nominees was high.

So much so that Port Adelaide gun Robbie Gray, two-time Adelaide flag winner Kane Johnson and 2012 winner Daniel Talia all didn't make top five of all time.

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.

Within the top five we settled on, there are 11 premierships, a Brownlow Medal and a Norm Smith Medal.

Among the other notable round 12 Rising Star nominees were brothers Ben Reid and Sam Reid – nominated in the same round a year apart – Essendon spearhead Joe Daniher, retired Western Bulldogs flag hero Tom Boyd and last year's recipient North youngster Tarryn Thomas.


No.5: James Kelly (Geelong)
Nominated: 2002 (Did not place)
The versatile Cat finished with 313 games after crossing to Essendon for the final two seasons of his consistent career. Kelly could play anywhere but was mainly a half-back who set up the play or a smart and classy midfielder. A great decision-maker who was a big part of the Cats' success in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

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No.4: Cameron Ling (Geelong)
Nominated: 2001 (Did not place)
Ling finished his career at Geelong at the end of 2011, having captained the Cats to that season's flag. He also played in the club's 2007 and 2009 wins, a key member as one of the competition's best taggers. Ling managed to stop the opposition's best players as well as gather the ball at will.

Cam Ling celebrates Geelong's 2011 premiership win. Picture: AFL Photos

No.3: Trent Cotchin (Richmond)
Nominated: (Third place overall)
Cotchin will forever hold a special place in Richmond history after skippering the Tigers to their drought-breaking 2017 premiership and then again in 2019. The Tigers' No.2 draft pick in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft has won three best and fairests at the club, was an All-Australian in 2012 and also retrospectively was awarded the Brownlow Medal for that season.

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No.2: Glenn Archer (North Melbourne)
Nominated: 1993 (Only winner was announced; did not win)
Deemed the 'Shinboner of the Century' at North Melbourne for his courage, attack on the contest and physicality, Archer was a defender who fought above his height. But his Rising Star nomination came after a big day at the other end of the ground, when he kicked five goals against West Coast in 1993. He is a two-time premiership winner and claimed the 1996 Norm Smith Medal for the Roos, finishing his career after 311 games.

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No.1: Ben Cousins (West Coast)
Nominated: 1996 (First place overall)
An outstanding debut season saw Cousins become the Eagles' first – and only – winner of the Rising Star award. The young midfielder/forward kicked 34 goals from 20 games in 1996, averaging 14 disposals. Cousins grew into one of the finest midfielders of his generation with his brilliant hard running and skills. He captained the Eagles, won the 2005 Brownlow Medal and played in the club's 2006 flag.

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