THE PARALLELS in the trajectory of the careers of Oscar McDonald and older brother Tom are almost uncanny.
In 2012, Tom, in his second season, became a mainstay in Melbourne's defence as the club decided to promote and develop the young defender as it took a view to the future.
This season Oscar, 20, in his second season, has been entrusted with holding down a key defensive post ahead of experienced pair Lynden Dunn and Colin Garland.
Tom received a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination after 13 senior games in round 13, 2012.
Oscar has followed his older brother's lead, achieving the individual accolade in his 15th game (his 13th of the season), playing a key role in the Demons' 40-point victory over Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
That the McDonald brothers, who originate from the Edenhope-Aspley Football Netball Club, were selected with pick No.53 in their respective draft years – Tom in 2010 and Oscar in 2014 – makes that comparison more remarkable.
"We live together and have done ever since I moved down," Oscar McDonald told AFL.com.au.
"At the start he was there to help me with things like the schedule, but now it's about on-field things."
"He helps me a lot with technique and contest stuff. (Defensive coach) Jade Rawlings, Tom and I do a lot of work with our marking and spoiling craft.
"We work together a fair bit in training to try to get better at those things and he's been a big help to me."
Oscar McDonald, who signed a new two-year deal until the end of 2018 alongside Tom last week, has made massive strides throughout the season and is getting better with every game he plays.
His equal career-high 23 disposals against the Power is testament to his development as he starts to have more of an attacking influence on games.
"It's been a lot to do with confidence and working out when to come off your man and attack and when to hold back and maintain your shape behind the ball," McDonald said.
"I remember in the pre-season I didn't think I was on anyone's radar at the club. I was hoping to get a NAB Challenge look in and just try to prove to everyone I could be an asset to the team.
"After playing in round one (against Greater Western Sydney) I gained confidence in myself that I could play at the level, and I think the coaches had that faith in me all along but it was just about marrying those things up."
Oscar McDonald said it was "special" to be in the position of leading Melbourne's defence alongside the person he had looked up to his entire life.
"I understand it's pretty special but I think it'll be more special when we look back in 20 years time and think, we did play x amount of games together," McDonald said.
"At the time it's business and you get there and you do it and you celebrate afterwards but I do understand it's pretty surreal and it doesn't come by all that often for many people."
McDonald joins Melbourne teammates Clayton Oliver (round one), James Harmes (round seven) and Christian Petracca (round nine) in receiving Rising Star nominations this season.