AFL Rising Star Award

This annual award is presented to one of the best young players in the Australian Football League and has become highly valued thanks to the quality of the recipients.

From inaugural winner Nathan Buckley in 1993 to the likes of Sydney’s Adam Goodes, St Kilda’s Nick Riewoldt and Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell, it has heralded in champions of the game. Indeed, three of the winners of this award, Buckley, Goodes and Ben Cousins, have gone on to take the highest individual award in the game, the Brownlow medal.

It has been a popular addition to futures betting on the AFL season, with fans keen to back their judgement on which youngsters are about to burst on to the scene.
And, as our table below shows, unlike the Brownlow Medal, this award is not all about the midfielders, though they have still taken most honours.

How the Rising Star Award winner is decided

Unlike the Brownlow Medal, which is decided by voting from the umpires, the result of the Rising Star is decided by a panel of nine AFL experts (well, administrators and former players anyway).

To qualify for the Rising Star Award a player must be:
• Under the age of 21 as at January 1 in the year of the award; and
• Have played 10 or fewer senior AFL matches at the start of that season.

After each round of AFL action, one youngster from across the league is nominated for the award. A player who has been suspended during the season can be nominated but is ineligible to win the overall award.
Come the end of the season, the nine-person panel of experts will award their votes on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis for their top five picks from the pool of nominees.

The player with the most votes after this process is the winner and joins a list of past and future legends of the game.

Rising Star Award winners plus positions

Year Winner (club) Team Position Total games Total goals
2018 Jaidyn Stephenson Collingwood Forward/mid 26* 38
2017 Andrew McGrath Essendon Defender/mid 41* 6
2016 Callum Mills Sydney Defender 55* 2
2015 Jesse Hogan Melbourne Key forward 71* 152
2014 Lewis Taylor Brisbane Midfielder 107* 85
2013 Jaeger O’Meara Gold Coast Midfielder 71* 44
2012 Daniel Talia Adelaide Key defender 164* 6
2011 Dyson Heppell Essendon Midfielder 151* 55
2010 Daniel Hannebery Sydney Midfielder 208* 95
2009 Daniel Rich Brisbane Lions Midfielder 183* 102
2008 Rhys Palmer Fremantle Midfielder 123 95
2007 Joel Selwood Geelong Midfielder 272* 152
2006 Danyle Pearce Port Adelaide Midfielder 258 127
2005 Brett Deledio Richmond Utility 259* 191
2004 Jared Rivers Melbourne Defender 194 18
2003 Sam Mitchell Hawthorn Midfielder 329 71
2002 Nick Riewoldt St Kilda Key forward 336 718
2001 Justin Koschitzke St Kilda Ruck/forward 200 247
2000 Paul Hasleby Fremantle Midfielder 208 131
1999 Adam Goodes Sydney Utility 372 464
1998 Byron Pickett North Melbourne Midfielder/defender 204 177
1997 Michael Wilson Port Adelaide Midfielder/defender 192 51
1996 Ben Cousins West Coast Midfielder 270 217
1995 Nick Holland Hawthorn Key position 179 239
1994 Chris Scott Brisbane Bears Defender 215 79
1993 Nathan Buckley Brisbane Bears Midfielder 280 284

* Active players at start of 2019 season