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The class of 2012

Date

Garry Lyon

1 DANIEL TALIA (Adelaide) First at Adelaide and fourth in the AFL for spoils inside defensive 50. Third at the Crows for defensive-50 intercept possessions.

1 DANIEL TALIA (Adelaide) First at Adelaide and fourth in the AFL for spoils inside defensive 50. Third at the Crows for defensive-50 intercept possessions. Photo: Getty Images

THERE is always an element of “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to the non-Victorian teams. It is a product of the Victorian public's insatiable appetite for the game and the exhaustive media coverage we are afforded in this state.

That's not to say we are any more parochial or passionate than our interstate friends and colleagues, but with 10 of the 18 sides playing in the competition based here, we can easily satisfy our appetite for all things football without necessarily extending that focus beyond our borders.

The NAB Rising Star winner will be announced on Wednesday, and once again we have been blessed with an outstanding list of candidates. The fact that 13 of the 22 candidates play with non-Victorian clubs demands that we take a far more “nationalistic” view than we may otherwise have.

2 JEREMY CAMERON (GWS) Has kicked 29 goals, 14 more than any other GWS player. Averages 1.9 marks inside 50 a game ? 23rd in the AFL of players to have played 10 or more games and fourth among players from the bottom five teams.

2 JEREMY CAMERON (GWS) Has kicked 29 goals, 14 more than any other GWS player. Averages 1.9 marks inside 50 a game ? 23rd in the AFL of players to have played 10 or more games and fourth among players from the bottom five teams. Photo: Getty Images

Adelaide's super-impressive centre half-back, Daniel Talia, is a perfect case. He has been on a slow build here in Victoria, in terms of recognising what has been a superb season.

With Nathan Bock deciding that life on the Gold Coast held more appeal than life in Adelaide, and Phil Davis following suit the next year, preferring a new home with Greater Western Sydney, the Crows all of a sudden had a gaping hole in the defensive post.

Ben Rutten continued to provide great service at full-back, but he needed support, and with Bock and Davis absconding, Talia was given an opportunity and he has not looked back.

3 MITCHELL WALLIS (WB) Fourth at the Bulldogs for tackles, contested possessions and disposals per game.

3 MITCHELL WALLIS (WB) Fourth at the Bulldogs for tackles, contested possessions and disposals per game. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

After injuring his Achilles in his first year, he managed to work his way back into the Adelaide side and played the last eight games in 2011. This year he has played every game and has emerged as the brightest key-position defender in a long time.

The modern era has seen a complete midfield domination come awards season at the end of the year. The Brownlow Medal, best and fairests, AFLPA Most Valuable Player awards, even the coaches' association's best player. The lack of recognition for anyone that plays outside of the centre square has been quite alarming in recent times.

We have such a fascination and predilection for statistics that we all, and I am guilty as well, fail at times to look beyond the number of possessions won. And at a time when it is easier than ever to rack up big numbers, with the focus on maintaining possession, extra numbers in the back half and the terribly lop-sided nature of some games, it is even more imperative that we look to dig a little deeper than that.

4 ADAM TRELOAR (GWS) Has averaged the 12th most disposals and the third most effective short kicks of any player in the competition since round 17. Over the season he ranks fourth at the Giants for disposals per game and first for effective kicks.

4 ADAM TRELOAR (GWS) Has averaged the 12th most disposals and the third most effective short kicks of any player in the competition since round 17. Over the season he ranks fourth at the Giants for disposals per game and first for effective kicks. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Which is why I have Talia as my Rising Star this year. At 20, and in just his second season, he has gone out each week and played one-on-one football against the best key forwards in the competition. And on the majority of occasions he has emerged victorious.

There is nowhere to hide when you are playing in one of the key defensive posts. You don't get the luxury of pushing into the back half for easy possessions. Of being on the end of an exceptional passage of play that hands you a goal.

You are effectively rated on your ability to quell the influence of the opposition's most damaging and talented footballers. You know that they are going to be the target of most forward thrusts; you know it is going to be a test of strength, will and endurance, and you know you are going to be tested from the opening bounce to the final siren.

5 STEVEN MOTLOP (Geel) Has kicked 25 goals for the year, fourth at Geelong and equal 17th in the competition of small/medium forwards.

5 STEVEN MOTLOP (Geel) Has kicked 25 goals for the year, fourth at Geelong and equal 17th in the competition of small/medium forwards. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Talia has stood next to, and beaten or broken even with, such players as Nick Riewoldt, Sam Reid, Jack Riewoldt, Michael Hurley, James Podsiadly, Chris Dawes and fellow rising star contender, Jeremy Cameron.

His finest performance may well have been against current Coleman Medal favourite Matthew Pavlich. The Pav was in a rich vein of form, and was coming off bags of five, six, seven and eight goals in the previous four rounds, with the latest tally notched against arch-rival West Coast.

Talia was outstanding that day, keeping him to just two goals, and prompting Crows coach Brenton Sanderson to declare after the game that “he just wins” the Rising Star award.

I first sat up and really took notice of him in the Crows' gutsy win over St Kilda back in round 12. There has been no harder-working centre half-forward in the past 10 years than Nick Riewoldt, but on this night Talia ran with him every step of the way, keeping him to nine possessions and two goals.

It was his athleticism and ability to run past Riewoldt on one occasion that gave you a sense you were watching a pretty special athlete in action. His powers of concentration, composure and willingness to compete define him as a footballer and should see him crowned just the second key-position defender to win the award in the 19 years since its inception.

Here are the rest of my top five picks:

2ND JEREMY CAMERON (GWS)

Freakish talent who is still working out just how good he could be. Only started playing football at age 15 and in his first year at senior level kicks 29 goals and does some things that only the truly gifted are capable of. His marking was a delight to watch and considering that he spent most of the year as the Giants' primary forward target, his ability to overcome the odds against the very best opposition stamps him as a star of the future.

3RD MITCH WALLIS (WB)

Have really admired the way this young man carries himself and he stands out as a leader at this club in just his second year of AFL football. He has been able to maintain a very high standard in a team that has struggled for most of the year, and despite the ugliness of the scoreboard at times, his approach hasn't wavered.

Has shown a distinct appetite for the harder aspects of the game and that is evident in his tackle and contested-possession numbers. Has a wonderful role model in Matthew Boyd to learn from, and in a couple of years I expect him to be leading the way in the middle for the Dogs — and continue for many years to come.

4TH ADAM TRELOAR (GWS)

Was absolutely delighted to see the development of this young man as the season progressed. Has been an elite talent throughout his junior football days, but the move to GWS was always going to be a challenge for him. His back half of the year demonstrates a growing maturity and understanding of what it takes to succeed at this level, and in the past five weeks or so he has elevated himself into the “very good” category of AFL midfielders. If he continues to work hard, and educate himself in the art of modern footy, this will be the tip of the iceberg for him.

5th STEVEN MOTLOP (Geel)

With the injury to Travis Varcoe, a spot opened up in the Geelong forward line and Motlop, having played four games last year, grabbed it. Has genuine pace and a tricks bag that was always going to entertain once he became more established. But it's not that which will determine how far he goes as a footballer. It's his attention to the things that don't come easy or natural to him that won him his place and will become so critically important in the next couple of weeks. The ability to lay tackles and put pressure on in the Cats' forward 50 is what the senior players at Geelong love. The 25 goals this year have been a very nice bonus.

AFL 2015

Round 1
Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE ($2.15)vs RIC ($1.70) 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
COL ($1.22)vs CAR ($4.35) 13:45MCG
WBU ($1.73)vs PTA ($2.10) 14:10ES
BRI ($2.45)vs GCF ($1.55) 16:35G
GEE ($2.15)vs SYD ($1.70) 19:20SS
WCE ($2.20)vs HAW ($1.67) 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL ($3.80)vs NTH ($1.27) 13:10MCG
GWS ($1.33)vs ESS ($3.35) 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK ($3.70)vs FRE ($1.28) 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD ($1.25)vs COL ($3.70) 19:50SCG
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS ($2.50)vs ADE ($1.50) 13:45ES
NTH ($1.28)vs STK ($3.50) 14:10BA
PTA ($1.25)vs GWS ($3.70) 16:35Adelaide Oval
GEE ($4.30)vs HAW ($1.20) 19:20MCG
BRI ($1.70)vs CAR ($2.10) 19:20G
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC ($1.15)vs GCF ($5.00) 13:10MCG
WBU ($1.33)vs MEL ($3.15) 15:20ES
FRE ($1.87)vs WCE ($1.87) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW ($1.18)vs PTA ($4.60) 19:50ES
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
COL ($2.35)vs RIC ($1.55) 13:45MCG
GWS ($3.50)vs SYD ($1.28) 14:10Spotless Stadium
GCF ($1.40)vs ESS ($2.95) 16:35MS
STK ($2.80)vs GEE ($1.40) 19:20ES
ADE ($1.08)vs BRI ($6.75) 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH ($2.00)vs FRE ($1.75) 13:10ES
CAR ($2.25)vs MEL ($1.60) 15:20MCG
WCE ($1.18)vs WBU ($4.60) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
GEE ($1.50)vs COL ($2.50) 19:50MCG
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
GWS ($1.22)vs CAR ($3.70) 13:45Spotless Stadium
HAW ($1.01)vs BRI ($13.00) 14:10AS
NTH ($1.70)vs WBU ($2.10) 16:35ES
ESS ($5.00)vs RIC ($1.15) 19:20MCG
GCF ($2.50)vs PTA ($1.50) 19:20MS
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
ADE ($2.95)vs WCE ($1.38) 13:10Adelaide Oval
STK ($3.80)vs SYD ($1.25) 15:20ES
FRE ($1.07)vs MEL ($7.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
COL ($1.50)vs ESS ($2.50) 00:00MCG
RIC ($1.70)vs NTH ($2.10) 00:00ES
HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($13.00) 00:00MCG
GEE ($1.50)vs ADE ($2.50) 00:00SS
SYD ($1.05)vs GCF ($8.00) 00:00SCG
MEL ($1.87)vs GWS ($1.87) 00:00ES
BRI ($3.05)vs WBU ($1.35) 00:00G
PTA ($2.15)vs FRE ($1.65) 00:30Adelaide Oval
WCE ($1.06)vs STK ($8.00) 02:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Fremantle 17 15 2 0 127.06 60
West Coast Eagles 17 13 3 1 154.43 54
Hawthorn 17 12 5 0 164.23 48
Sydney Swans 17 12 5 0 115.86 48
Western Bulldogs 17 11 6 0 113.12 44
Richmond 17 11 6 0 112.43 44
North Melbourne 17 10 7 0 107.19 40
Geelong Cats 16 9 7 0 102.42 38
View all
 

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