Buckley, Cousins, Goodes, Riewoldt, Selwood.
It doesn’t have the prestige of some of the game’s other individual honours, but it has marked the beginning of some truly glittering careers.
The NAB Rising Star recognises the talents set to light up the League for years to come.
2021 Rising Star nominees
Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5 | Round 6 | Round 7 | Round 8 | Round 9 | Round 10 | Round 11 | Round 12 | Round 13 | Round 14 | Round 15 | Round 16 | Round 17 | Round 18 | Round 19 | Round 20 | Round 21 | Round 22
Melbourne midfielder Jake Bowey has been handed the AFL Rising Star nomination after three quality performances since making his debut in round 20.
The 18-year-old has averaged 17.3 disposals since his first match against Gold Coast Suns in Round 20, breaking into the Demons side as the AFL finals fast approach.
Bowey is the son of former St Kilda player Brett Bowey, who played 85 games with the Saints between 1988 and 1994.
He was drafted with pick 21 in the 2020 AFL Draft after catching the eye with the Sandringham Dragons in the NAB League.
Jake Bowey, take a bow 👏
— AFL (@AFL) August 16, 2021
Port Adelaide has nabbed its second AFL Rising Star nomination for the 2021 season with utility Miles Bergman earning the honour after his performance in the Showdown versus Adelaide.
The 19-year-old had 23 possessions, four clearances and four tackles in the win aganst the Crows, his third game of the season with more than 20 disposals.
Bergman was selected with pick 14 in the 2019 AFL draft and has played all 17 of his matches in 2021 after making his debut in round 1.
He has excelled in a wide-range of positions including half-back, wing, midfield and half-forward.
Congratulations, Miles! ⭐️
— AFL (@AFL) August 10, 2021
Dockers defender Hayden Young has put a difficult season cruelled by injury behind him to claim the round 20 Rising Star nomination.
In just his fifth game for the season thanks to a nasty hamstring injury, Young collected 23 disposals and nine intercept possessions in Fremantle’s win over the Tigers.
Young was taken with pick seven in 2019 and the talented left footer looks capable of becoming one of the competition’s most damaging rebounding defenders.
Must have been the retro jumper ⚓️
— AFL (@AFL) August 2, 2021
Now 26 games into his AFL career, Crows midfielder Harry Schoenberg earned his first Rising Star nomination in his side’s win over the Hawks.
Schoenberg was taken with pick 24 in the 2019 draft and after eight games in his first season, the 20-year-old has kicked on further this year.
After setting a new personal best of 24 disposals in round 18, Schoenberg matched that effort against Hawthorn, while also making six tackles.
It’s Harry’s time to shine 🌟
— AFL (@AFL) July 26, 2021
In only his fourth game this season – and sixth of his career – Gold Coast Suns midfielder Jeremy Sharp has clinched a 2021 NAB Rising Star Award nomination.
The 19-year-old had 30 disposals and 10 marks in the Suns’ defeat to the Western Bulldogs on Saturday at Metricon Stadium.
Since coming in to the team in round 15, Sharp has averaged 21.2 disposals as he establishes himself in the Gold Coast engine room.
He was selected by the Suns at pick 27 of the 2019 national draft.
Happy Monday! Jeremy Sharp is the Round 18 NAB @AFL Rising Star ⭐️
Well done Sharpy 👏
👉 https://t.co/GHpWiScKCX pic.twitter.com/590eu9al9b
— Gold Coast Suns (@GoldCoastSUNS) July 19, 2021
Essendon’s young brigade of talent has received another tick with midfielder Archie Perkins nominated for the 2021 NAB AFL Rising Star Award after kicking three goals against Adelaide.
Perkins had six scoring shots among his 18 possessions, with one of his goals a classy banana kick after stepping inside and breaking a tackle.
The 19-year-old was selected by the Bombers with pick 9 in the 2020 national draft – one selection behind his teammate and fellow Rising Star nominee Nik Cox.
Perkins has played 14 games in 2021, averaging 13.5 disposals and three marks.
Congrats, Archie! 👏
The young Bomber is the round 17 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee, thanks to @NAB. pic.twitter.com/kPxmGM2nde
— AFL (@AFL) July 13, 2021
Sydney have got another player in contention for the 2021 NAB AFL Rising Star Award, after young midfielder Justin McInerney was nominated in round 16.
The 20-year-old produced 22 disposals for the second week in a row, as well as taking three marks and making two tackles in Sydney’s win over West Coast.
McInerney has played 13 games in 2021, averaging 17 disposals and four marks.
He became the fourth Sydney player to receive a nomination in 2021 and the fifth player to add a 2021 nomination to one they received last season.
Congratulations to Justin McInerney on being named the Round 16 nomination for the @NAB AFL Rising Star Award 🌟 pic.twitter.com/1mV7ex1MSR
— AFL (@AFL) July 5, 2021
Deven Robertson has become the first Brisbane Lion Rising Star nomination after impressing in a midfield role over the past few matches.
The 19-year-old kept Geelong legend Joel Selwood to only 13 possessions in last week’s win against the Cats, while also picking up 16 disposals of his own.
In seven of his 11 games this season, Robertson has gathered 14-plus touches, with the Lions looking like they have another midfield gem on their hands, to add to the likes of Lachie Neale, Dayne Zorko and Jarryd Lyons.
Robertson has only played 12 games – with 11 of them this campaign – after being selected with pick 22 in the 2019 National Draft.
Congratulations to Deven Robertson on his Round 15 nomination for the @NAB AFL Rising Star Award 👏 pic.twitter.com/3wGynuFUy5
— AFL (@AFL) June 28, 2021
While Nik Cox might have been getting all the attention, Bombers teammate Harrison Jones was quietly going about putting together a very impressive debut season.
The forward has played every game, kicking 16 goals, including two three-goal hauls, while a two-goal, 14-disposal effort in the win over the Hawks earned him a nomination.
Jones was originally taken with pick 30 in the 2019 draft and had to wait before getting his first taste of senior football but he’s certainly making up for lost time.
The Dons have something special in Harrison Jones 🌟
The young Bomber has been nominated for the @NAB AFL Rising Star Award 👏 pic.twitter.com/Vlbft1LGQP
— AFL (@AFL) June 21, 2021
The young Crows tall missed out in round six both he and Jacob Koschitzke kicked five goals in the same match, but he wouldn’t be denied this time around.
Thilthorpe booted three goals, including a spectacular over-the-head match winner, in Adelaide’s round 13 win over the Saints.
Last year’s number two pick has now kicked 16 goals in eight games this season.
Now here’s a young star on the rise 🤩
Congrats again to Crow Riley Thilthorpe, the round 13 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee, thanks to @NAB 👏 pic.twitter.com/9zKIXAgLLW
— AFL (@AFL) June 15, 2021
There you go, Bombers fans, your man finally gets the nomination.
Versatile tall Nik Cox has played every game so far this season and, despite being 200cm, has impressed with his skills as well as footy smarts.
After a string of good performances, the eight pick in last year’s draft sealed a Rising Star nomination with a 23-disposal, eight-mark, one-goal game in Essendon’s loss to Richmond.
Bomber fans wanted it and now they’ve got it ⭐
Congratulations to Nik Cox on being award the round twelve nomination for the @NAB AFL Rising Star Award. pic.twitter.com/FLOk9k7DkN
— AFL (@AFL) June 7, 2021
Having played nine games last season, Melbourne backman Trent Rivers just squeezes in the eligibility criteria for this year’s Rising Star.
The smooth-moving defender has played every match so far in 2021, showing his versatility to play both small and tall.
Rivers picked 19 possessions, 10 of them contested, as well as three marks in Melbourne’s big win in their top-of-the-table showdown with the Bulldogs.
Top of the table and unleashing yet another young talent 😈
Congratulations to Trent Rivers in being named the @NAB AFL Rising Star nominee for Round 11. pic.twitter.com/4Czzzjjapc
— AFL (@AFL) May 31, 2021
With the Dogs humming along nicely, there hasn’t been a whole lot of places up for grabs, just ask number one draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, but Cody Weightman is one player who has managed to force his way into the team.
The small forward has played just two games for the season but has already made a mark, kicking three goals in round nine and two more this week.
Weightman, 20, also finished with six tackles and 14 possessions to claim this week’s nomination.
Cody Weightman has made his mark in the Bulldogs forward line 🐶
The young Dog has been awarded the round 10 nomination for the @NAB Rising Star Award 🌟 pic.twitter.com/zEqgb3jvgI
— AFL (@AFL) May 24, 2021
The GWS midfielder became the fourth player in the opening nine rounds to pick up a second Rising Star nomination, adding it to the one he collected in round four last season.
A big-bodied on-baller, Green certainly has the physical capabilities to compete at senior level and now appears to be putting it together consistently.
The 20-year-old finished with 24 touches, one goal and four tackles in the Giants’ narrow loss to Richmond.
It continued a solid three-match run which has him averaging 25 disposals and a goal per game.
The Grandson of a Richmond legend, Tom Green made a statement in orange 👊
The young Giant has claimed the round nine nomination for the Rising Star award, thanks to @NAB 🌟 pic.twitter.com/dyPvMHV0RL
— AFL (@AFL) May 17, 2021
The Melbourne midfielder was rewarded for his strong start to the season with the round eight Rising Star nod.
Jordon picked up a career-high 23 disposals to go with his eight tackles in the Dees’ win over Sydney at the MCG on Saturday night.
Originally selected with pick 33 in the 2018 Draft, Jordon has made the most of his chances so far this season.
Two in two weeks for the Demons 🌟
James Jordon impressed with 23 touches against the Swans and he picks up the round eight nomination for the Rising Star Award, thanks to @NAB 👏 pic.twitter.com/tYsiAOaVqs
— AFL (@AFL) May 10, 2021
The Melbourne big man became the third player this year to recieve a second career nomination, backing up the one he picked up in round 10 last year.
Jackson, 19, picked up a career-high 22 disposals in the Dees’ win over North Melbourne, also finishing with seven hit outs and a goal.
While Max Gawn still has plenty of good footy left in him, Melbourne fans will be comforted knowing their ruck stocks are in safe hands.
The future looks bright for Luke Jackson 🌟
After a breakout performance against the Roos, the young Demon claims the round seven nomination for the Rising Star Award thanks to @NAB 👏 pic.twitter.com/bZLgf0f8Hv
— AFL (@AFL) May 3, 2021
The Rising Star panel was spoilt for choice out of the Hawthorn-Adelaide game on Anzac Day with both Jacob Koschitzke and Riley Thilthorpe booting bags of five goals.
In the end, the Hawks forward got the nod for his 14 disposal, nine mark, 5.3 performance in the three-point win in Launceston.
Taken with pick 52 in the 2018 draft, the cousin of former St Kilda star Justin Koschitzke, made his debut in round one this year, missing just one match so far.
Five goals from Jacob Koschitzke helped Hawthorn stage a stunning come-from-behind victory over Adelaide 👏
The young Hawk has been named as the round six Rising Star nominee thanks to @NAB 🌟 pic.twitter.com/AHDMJxABnl
— AFL (@AFL) April 26, 2021
Port Adelaide forward Mitch Georgiades became the second consecutive nominee to claim a nomination having earned one in 2020.
Following in Lachie Sholl’s footsteps, the 19-year-old added the round five nomination to the one he picked up in round nine last year.
Georgiades kicked three goals from 15 possessions and five marks in Port’s win over Carlton, taking his tally to 10 majors from four matches this season.
He’s got a bright future ahead of him ⚡️
Mitch Georgiades is the AFL Rising Star nominee for Round 5, thanks to @NAB 👏 pic.twitter.com/Ggi2TNTVIe
— AFL (@AFL) April 19, 2021
Adelaide youngster Lachie Sholl joined the exclusive club of players to have received more than one Rising Star nomination.
The 21-year-old added the round four nod to his nomination from round 18 last season.
A 31-disposal performance in the Crows’ win over the Roos included 25 kicks as Sholl showed off his silky footskills.
25 kicks from 31 disposals 😮 Lachie Sholl turned it on against the Roos 💪
The young Crow has earned himself the AFL Rising Star nomination for round four thanks to @NAB 👏 pic.twitter.com/9h3pEoOZlH
— AFL (@AFL) April 12, 2021
Sydney made history by becoming the first team to have three nominees in a row, all coming in the opening three rounds of the season no less.
Warner backed up a 20-disposal, two-goal game in round two with the exact same stat line in the Swans’ big win over Richmond at the MCG in round three.
The Western Australian who was taken with pick 39 in the 2019 draft made his debut in round six last year, playing two games for the season.
Warner has played all three games so far in 2021, adding a point of difference to Sydney’s midfield with a powerful, all-action game style.
Sydney go back-to-back-to-back!
For the first time ever we have three consecutive AFL Rising Star nominations from the same club.
Congratulations Chad Warner on your nomination for round three, thanks to @NAB 🌟 pic.twitter.com/eOW4mAYX0r
— AFL (@AFL) April 6, 2021
The Swans made it two from two when another Academy product in Braeden Campbell picked up the round two RIsing Star nomination.
Taken with pick five last year, the left-footer has been deployed in defence and after a solid showing in round one, stepped up again in Saturday’s clash with the Crows.
Campbell finished with 25 disposals, 21 of them kicks as he showcased some of his elite footskills as he picked up over 700 metres gained.
“Braeden’s been good, he hasn’t played a heap of footy down back but it’s a wonderful way to learn,” coach John Longmire said after round two.
“He competes hard, he’s quick and his kicking is obviously good but he competes well.”
The young bloods keep firing as Braeden Campbell is named as Round 2’s Rising Star nominee thanks to @nab
Plenty for Sydney to get excited about with Campbell’s 25 disposals, 21 kicks and 6 marks 👏 pic.twitter.com/g3urtzyEub
— AFL (@AFL) March 29, 2021
Sydney debuted three 2020 draftees in their upset win over Brisbane in round one but it was pick 32 Gulden who stole the show.
Playing as a small forward, the left footer finished with three majors, three goal assists and nine score involvements among his 19 disposals, while his tally of 10 marks was a team high.
The Swans Academy product’s composure and skill by foot was a particular feature, often setting up teammates for a chance at goal to help them knock off the Lions at the Gabba.
How about Errol Gulden!
The young Swan booted three goals and dished out three assists from his 19 touches 🌟
He is the round one AFL Rising Star nominee thanks to @NAB 👏 pic.twitter.com/PlkVoCENRN
— AFL (@AFL) March 22, 2021
MORE: Errol Gulden on his ‘biggest supporter’ and playing with Buddy
Rising Star odds
Odds via Sportsbet at 2/8.
|Tom Green (R9)||$2|
|Luke Jackson (R7)||$3.50|
|Justin McInerney (R16)||$13|
|Mitch Georgiades (R5)||$15|
|James Jordon (R8)||$18|
|Nik Cox (R12)||$26|
|Cody Weightman (R10)||$26|
|Errol Gulden (R1)||$34|
|Lachie Sholl (R4)||$51|
|Harry Schoenberg (R19)||$51|
|Archie Perkins (R17)||$51|
|Trent Rivers (R11)||$51|
|Jeremy Sharp (R18)||$51|
What is the Rising Star?
Established in 1993, the Rising Star is awarded to the best young player in the AFL.
Each week, a panel of experts nominates one eligible player across the competition based on their performance in that round or their body of work across the season so far.
At the end of the home-and-away season, the panel votes 5-4-3-2-1 for the young players adjudged to have had the best seasons, with the Rising Star being awarded to the player with the most votes.
The winner is traditionally announced following the final round of the regular season.
Rising Star criteria
Players must be 20 or younger and have played fewer than 10 games at the start of the season.
Like the Brownlow Medal, players who are suspended are ineligible for the award, though they can still be nominated.
|Nathan Buckley||Brisbane Bears||NA||1993|
|Chris Scott||Brisbane Bears||NA||1994|
|Ben Cousins||West Coast||NA||1996|
|Michael Wilson||Port Adelaide||27||1997|
|Byron Pickett||North Melbourne||30||1998|
|Justin Koschitzke||St Kilda||31||2001|
|Nick Riewoldt||St Kilda||34||2002|
|Jaeger O’Meara||Gold Coast||44||2013|
*Denotes maximum votesInternet Explorer Channel Network