BEING labelled Melbourne's 'Great White Hope' doesn't thrill NAB AFL Rising Star nominee Jesse Hogan, but learning to live with an unwanted nickname is nothing new for the boom forward.
In the early rounds of 2014, Hogan was dealing with a stress reaction in his back – an injury that would eventually sideline him for the entire season.
But while there was uncertainty about his return date, his teammates injected some levity into Hogan's frustrating rehabilitation.
"Because the timeframe was never really locked in, it was pretty hard. It was always four-to-six (weeks), that was my nickname for half the year -Jesse 'Four-To-Six' Hogan," the young gun told AFL.com.au.
Fast forward a year and Demons fans and players could not be happier Hogan has consigned that moniker to the past.
Amid much hype from outside the club, the 20-year-old made his debut in round one and immediately showed the excitement was justified.
Hogan booted two goals and took seven marks in an upset win over Gold Coast and – with 16 majors in eight games – is yet to go goalless in a match.
Hogan’s contested marking has stood out in his first year in the AFL, with the young Dee averaging the equal-second most per game (2.4) across the League, having claimed the fifth most in total (19).
On Saturday in Alice Springs, the hulking 195cm, 97kg youngster kicked two goals, took eight marks and collected 16 touches in a hefty 61-point loss to Port Adelaide, earning himself the round nine Rising Star gong.
However, it speaks volumes about the West Australian's personality that he believes teammate Angus Brayshaw (21 disposals, eight tackles, five clearances) was more deserving of the nomination.
"I was probably a bit stiff to take the nomination away from him this week to be honest, I thought he played better (than me)," Hogan said.
"I thought my first half wasn't too bad (but) it wasn't one of my better games.
"Angus has taken straight to (AFL), he's got that competitive edge. Christian Petracca and all the rest of (Melbourne's young players) have a red-hot crack and all the talent, so it's a very exciting prospect over the next couple of years."
Competitiveness is one of Hogan's most appealing traits as a footballer, which he owes to his brother, Jake, who is 10 years his elder.
"Ever since I was a little kid, having an older brother, losing was never really an option. It was never fun. I'm super-competitive with everything," Hogan said.
Having to watch an entire season from the sidelines last year – after winning the Casey Scorpions' best-and-fairest in 2013, when he was too young to be picked by Melbourne – only fuelled his determination to prove himself at the elite level.
But it also made him a more professional and mature player, one who appears at this early stage of his career to have the tools to cope with his new nickname.
"Obviously you try and avoid that stuff as much as you can, especially before I'd played (because) I didn't really know what I was capable of or where I was at," Hogan said.
"It's hard to block it all out, but you obviously don't want to get too caught up in it. At the Dees there's a lot of high draft picks who have been through similar situations, so I try to feed off them.
"As long as you're playing all right, (it's not) too negative. It's been not too bad so far, so don't get (caught) up in it, that's what I'm trying to do."
Hogan is the Demons' fourth Rising Star nominee since 2012, following in the footsteps of Tom McDonald, Sam Blease (now at Geelong) and Jack Viney.
Jesse Hogan’s junior club: Marist JFC in the Claremont DFDC League.