Billings the next Rising Star nominee


Former Oakleigh Chargers player Jack Billings has joined the long list of TAC Cup graduates nominated for the NAB AFL Rising Star award, with a Round 14 nomination for his exceptional performance for St Kilda.  


Last weekend Billings booted three goals in the first 20 minutes of the match against the West Coast Eagles at Etihad Stadium. 


His 25 disposals and 100 percent efficiency rate from the half-forward line was his best performance for the Saints since his debut in Round One. 


Selected by St Kilda at pick three in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, Billings has been named in the best players in seven of his 10 AFL games so far. 


Oakleigh Chargers Talent Manager Mark Smart is not surprised to see Billings do so well at AFL level. 


During his time at Oakleigh Chargers Billings was also part of the AIS-AFL program, a Vic Metro representative and played school football with Scotch College.  


“We always believed that Jack would thrive in a full-time AFL environment after having to manage being a part of 4 different football programs during his 17th and 18th year.” 


Billings’ strong marking and clean disposal from either side of the body has excited St Kilda fans. It was these skills that stood out early to Smart, who sings high praise for Billings’ ability to hit a target. 


“Jack is blessed with elite football talent and is the best kick I have seen come through our club. In any game situation Jack is so effective with his kicking ability.” 


His ability to step up and perform on the big stage at such a young age also impressed Smart.


“Jack has consistently proven to be a big game player and this was demonstrated in the 2012 TAC Cup Grand Final when the game was tight in the last quarter and he put himself in the centre square to try and win us the game as a 17 year old.  


“He was certainly pivotal late in the game and was instrumental in our Premiership victory that day at Etihad Stadium.” 


Smart echoed the sentiments of all those involved in the TAC Cup who take great pride in seeing players developing and progressing in their football careers.  


“It really is a great time for all the TAC Cup clubs when any of our past players get drafted, debut or are nominated for awards like the Rising Star.  


“We are all very proud of Jack’s nomination for this award, it was a breakout game for him and an example of what Jack is capable of. He really seems to be thriving with the Saints and embracing the values and work ethic that the club is trying to build on for the future.”


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