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Sam Walsh set to be named AFL Rising Star


But Walsh’s coronation as Carlton’s first Rising Star has been a virtual fait accompli since he secured a nomination in round four.

A smooth-moving midfielder capable of winning his own ball, Walsh has learnt from one of the game’s best in Blues skipper Patrick Cripps.

Cripps had also been the Rising Star favourite in his debut season in 2015 but finished a surprise second to Melbourne’s Jesse Hogan.

The pair are at the forefront of an exciting future for the Blues, who sacked coach Brendon Bolton mid-season but finished strongly under his replacement David Teague.

Walsh – who averaged 25 disposals, five marks and three inside-50s per game – is poised to become just the fourth No.1 draft pick to win the Rising Star award, following in the footsteps of Andrew McGrath (2017), Brett Deledio (2005) and Nick Riewoldt (2002).

Stack is one of three Richmond nominees alongside Liam Baker and Shai Bolton.

Overlooked in the draft in his native Western Australia, the lively defender has become a cult hero for the Tigers in his debut season.

West Coast’s Oscar Allen and Jack Petruccelle, Geelong’s Gryan Miers and Brisbane’s Noah Answerth are among the contenders set to play in the finals.

North Melbourne have the most nominees with Cameron Zurhaar, Bailey Scott, Tarryn Thomas and Nick Larkey all recognised.

The AFL were left scrambling to find a last-minute replacement venue after Central Pier in Melbourne’s Docklands was declared unsafe and immediately closed.

It will instead be held at Melbourne Showgrounds.


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