Adelaide Crows defender Daniel Talia became the first member in club history to win the 2012 AFL NAB Rising Star award on Tuesday, but there was someone far more deserving who missed out.
Talia completed a number of impressive lockdown jobs on key forwards this season, a tough position for a young key defender, but had the AFL abolished a contentious rule he wouldn’t have been recognised.
Toby Greene must be filthy. The Greater Western Sydney midfielder should have been the youngster recognised, but a one-match suspension for rough conduct against Brisbane in round eight made him ineligible.
The AFL utilises the same system they have for the Brownlow medal: a suspension makes the player ineligible. More than a few have criticised this notion and the AFL is considering rectifying the criteria for 2013. A sound decision that will come a year too late.
Talia, the 2009 no.13 pick, conceded, on average, just a goal a game in 2012, was top-10 in ‘one-percenters’, and as previously mentioned, shutdown a number of key opposition forwards, including holding the likes of Michael Hurley and Matthew Pavlich to one and two goal games, respectively, late in the year.
Despite Talia’s impressive work, none of that seems to compare to the season Greene had. The 18-year-old averaged a shade under 27 disposals a game, an amazing feat, and increased that to 35 over his last four games. In comparison to previous winners; Joel Selwood averaged 19 disposals when he won in 2007, Brett Deledio 15 in 2005 and Sam Mitchell 17 in 2003.
Obviously, Talia and Greene’s respective roles means they command different amounts of the footy, and one played for a top two side while the other played for the team that took out the wooden spoon, but Toby Greene completed an historically great AFL season and he won’t be recognised because of one ridiculous rule.
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