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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 ...

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 ? ...

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 ...

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 ...

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.

HuffPost Australia

AFL 2016

Round 1
Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
BRI vs NTH 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:25ES
FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs COL 13:45MCG
RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
HAW vs STK 14:10AS
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
MEL vs STK 13:45ES
ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 13:10G
CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
STK vs NTH 15:20ES
PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
BRI vs COL 19:25G
RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs ESS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs HAW 13:45G
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
STK vs FRE 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
BRI vs FRE 16:35G
GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 13:10ES
RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WCE 13:40G
FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
GCF vs STK 13:40MS
SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
ESS vs STK 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 15:20ES
BRI vs GWS 16:40G
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs STK 19:25ES
GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
BRI vs PTA 19:25G
NTH vs STK 19:25ES
Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 19:50ES
Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CAR 13:45G
HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs SYD 19:25ES
PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
COL vs GCF 19:25ES
PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
BRI vs GEE 15:20G
ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
STK vs BRI 12:00ES
ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
View All Fixtures
AFL 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D % Pts
Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
View all
 

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