ESSENDON'S first NAB AFL Rising Star nominee has come in the last round of the season, with speedy defender Orazio Fantasia rewarded for his strong performance in the Bombers' win over Collingwood.
Fantasia had a career-best 27 disposals at 82 per cent efficiency in his club's three-point win over the Magpies on Sunday.
His pace and dash from half-back helped energise the Bombers' unit, and he had four rebound 50s in his fifth game of the season after suffering several injury concerns.
It was a positive way to end the season for Essendon and Fantasia, who completed his second season with the club after being taken with pick 55 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft.
Essendon's development manager Mark Neeld said Fantasia, who recently signed a two-year contract extension, could take confidence from the honour.
"Orazio is one of an exciting group of young players on our senior list, he has a tremendous work ethic, hunger to develop, and we believe this combination of attributes lays the foundations for a bright future at Essendon," Neeld said.
Fantasia is the first Bombers to receive the nomination this season after two Bombers, Zach Merrett and Joe Daniher, were selected last season.
This year's Rising Star winner will be announced on Wednesday, with Carlton midfielder Patrick Cripps and young Melbourne spearhead Jesse Hogan the clear favourites.