WHO’S the next big thing?
That’s what punters are hoping to predict when they bet on who will win the AFL’s Rising Star Award.
The Rising Star is awarded to the best player under 21 years of age who had played less than 10 AFL games on January 1 of that season.
Similar to the Brownlow Medal, Rising Star winners must not have been suspended by the AFL tribunal, but they can still get away with being reprimanded and remain eligible.
The best player that fills the award’s stipulations is selected each round and, at the end of the season, a panel of experts votes on who will be the winner.
The current selection panel includes AFL chief executive officer, Gillon McLachlan, AFL Football Operations Manager Mark Evans, AFL National Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan, and former players, Kevin Bartlett, Luke Darcy, Danny Frawley, Glen Jakovich, Cameron Ling, Matthew Richardson, and Warren Tredrea.
It’s an award that is a guide to future champions.
Brownlow medallists like Nathan Buckley – the inaugural winner – Ben Cousins and Adam Goodes and Premiership heroes like Joel Selwood, Dan Hannebery and Sam Mitchell are among winners of the prestigious award.
Eight teams haver produced two winners each, with only Collingwood, Carlton, Western Bulldogs and Greater Western Sydney yet to have a Rising star winner. Fitzroy also did not have a winner during the short time it existed in the AFL.
Essendon leads the way for nominees, with 37, one ahead of Melbourne with 36 and the West Coast Eagles are another one back on 35.
Despite not producing a winner, GWS had eight nominees in 2012, a season record.
When it was first coined in 1993, it was known as the Norwich Rising Star, a naming rights deal that lasted until 1999 when Ansett Airlines took over. That deal only lasted two years, with National Australia Bank stepping in from 2002, remaining the current sponsor.
The medal is named after celebrated former AFL administrator Ron Evans, who died of cancer in 2007.
If you know your footy and know the next generation of stars, this is a great award to bet on throughout the season.
Here are a few tips to help you pick a winner.
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2017 AFL Rising Star betting market
GWS second-year player Jacob Hopper and Brisbane Lion rookie Hugh McCluggage lead a wide-open betting field for the Rising Star award ahead of the 2017 AFL season.
Hopper and McCluggage are both paying $10 and have another six players following close behind at $11 and $12 in the market.
A trend to look out for in Rising Star betting is to identify interstate talent. Whether the AFL wants to admit it or not, the medal has been weighted towards clubs outside of Victoria over the last decade.
Eight of the last 11 Rising Star Award winners have come from interstate clubs – often in controversial or heavily-debated results.
While both Hopper and McCluggage fill the requirement, there are other players to keep an eye on in the field.
GWS first-year player Tim Taranto has been talked about as a round 1 inclusion that has immediately found his place in a premiership-favourite side. He’s paying $12 and will have it easy in a packed midfield.
Sam Powell-Pepper carries a name everyone will remember and looks a certainty to play at least 15 games in 2017. he’s paying $17 and represents value.
If you think a Victorian player will perform at a level too high for voters to ignore, you have options.
The AFL number one draft pick, Andrew McGrath is paying $11 and will carry the hopes of Essendon in a feel-good season for the club.
Carlton recruit Caleb Marchbank will be forced to do a big job for his new club every week and has the benefit of having played a lot of senior football already – he’s paying $26.
Betting tips for punting on the AFL Rising Star
Look across the whole spectrum of positions – except ruck men: Unlike the Brownlow Medal, players outside of the midfield have a genuine chance of winning the Rising Star. While it is true to say that more midfielders have won the award than any other spot on the field, key position players have had more than their fair share. Only last year, beastly Melbourne key forward Jesse Hogan won the award with a dominant season up front for the Demons. Key defender Daniel Talia, big man Jared Rivers, and towering St Kilda stars Nick Riewoldt and Justin Koschitzke have also taken home the award. But forget about the ruckmen. No dedicated ruck man has ever won the award, although Adam Goodes did take it home in 1999 when he was playing between the position and the forward line.
Follow the draft: High draft picks who come in and make an impact straight away tend to be the men who win this award.
Follow the form: It is easy to see which players are making an impact. They are the ones who perform, week in, week out, whether their team wins or loses. And they are the ones who make the voting panel sit up and take notice.
List of rising star winners
Callum Mills (2016) – The Sydney Swans youngster was able to fit straight into a team that finished first on the ladder and was a popular winner – a long-term gun in the making.
Jesse Hogan (2015) – The Melbourne brute is considered to be the next great dominant AFL forward and it is hard to argue when you see him play.
Lewis Taylor (2014) – Burst onto the scene as a smart, goal kicking small forward, but has not kicked on as Brisbane hit struggle street.
Jaeger O’Meara (2013) – The Gold Coast Rolls Royce has had his short term career cruelled by injury. Will he end up back in Melbourne? Time will tell.
Daniel Talia (2012) – A key defender for the Adelaide Crows who routinely takes on and beats the opposition’s best forward. One of the best in the business.
Dyson Heppell (2011) – Currently on suspension after the Essendon supplements scandal, when in few flight, there are few tougher players than the blond dreadlocked star.
Dan Hannebery (2010) – At the pointy end of AFL midfielders. Just a gun who finds a mountain of the footy and uses it well. A key figure for the Swans.
Daniel Rich (2009) – Would not be fair to say Rich has regressed, but his role has changed somewhat from major midfielder to more running half back. We’d like to see him in the guts at Brisbane more.
Rhys Palmer (2008) – Found a mountain of the footy as a rookie for Fremantle, but injury in his second season seemed to have robbed him of something. Still a serviceable player at Greater Western Sydney, but no longer the player he once was.
Joel Selwood (2007) – An absolute superstars and one of the best players on this list. Premierships, courage and leadership underline this man’s skills as one of the greatest midfielders to have played the game.
Danyle Pearce (2006) – The Port Adelaide and now Fremantle running half back has quietly built a solid career across 237 games.
Brett Deledio (2005) – Was arguably the Tigers best player when he won the award in 2005 and that is still the case. They can’t win games without him. Has leadership and x-factor all rolled into the one muscular, fleet footed package.
Jared Rivers (2004) – Former Geelong and Melbourne defender Rivers retired at the end of 2015 after being ravaged by injuries. At his best, was one of the best stoppers in the game and his use of the football was first rate.
Sam Mitchell (2003) – Hard to find words to describe Mitchell, but his nickname as the ‘Extractor’ perhaps does him most justice. One of the hardest players in the AFL, just knows how to find the football and knows how to win, as his four premierships with attest.
Nick Riewoldt (2002) – One of the greatest Saints and greatest centre half forwards to play the game. No big forward has ever had a motor quite like this man. He grinds his opponents into the dust and is one of the best contested marks ever to play the game. A man among men.
Justin Koschitzke (2001) – Might have been one of the greatest, were it not for Daniel Giansiracusa caving his face in. Was never the same after the sickening injury, but still carved out a solid career as a forward cum ruck man.
Paul Hasleby (2000) – Was perhaps Freo’s greatest player until Matthew Pavlich took the title. A solid midfielder who got as much out of himself as humanly possible.
Adam Goodes (1999) – Another all time great. Perhaps the most versatile player ever to play the game. Key forward, ruck, midfield, defence, it didn’t matter, on his day, Goodes dominated.
Byron Pickett (1998) – If any one hit harder than Byron Pickett, we never saw them play. Just ask Brendan Krummel. Hard nosed defender who genuinely instilled fear in opponents.
Michael Wilson (1997) – A key figure in Port Adelaide’s formative years, Wilson played in the club’s first flag in 2004.
Ben Cousins (1996) – The Ben Cousins story is well documented. A glittering AFL career, exclaimed by Brownlow Medals and Premierships, tarnished by the scourge of illicit drugs.
Nick Holland (1995) – Dutchy was a Hawks fan favourite. His vice like marking was a highlight. His poor kicking was not.
Chris Scott (1994) – Now coaches Geelong, Scott and his brother Brad were both hard nosed running defenders in Brisbane.
Nathan Buckley (1993) – As a coach, he was a wonderful, wonderful football player. That’s being a bit harsh, but Bucks’ best work was certainly done on the footy field. Is Magpie royalty, despite never winning a premiership.