Taylor the NAB AFL Rising Star
Former Geelong Falcon Lewis Taylor has been named the 2014 NAB AFL Rising Star.
The 19-year-old played all 23 games in his debut season for the Brisbane Lions, averaging 17 disposals a game.
Taylor won the Rising Star award – the Ron Evan Medal - with 39 votes, one vote clear of fellow 2013 TAC Cup draftee Northern Knight Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs) and former Oakleigh Charger and Werribee Tigers player Luke McDonald on 32 (North Melbourne).
Lewis spent the season developing as a small forward for the Lions kicking 12 goals, also rotating in the midfield.
AFL Victoria’s Geelong Falcons Talent Manager Mick Turner believes a number of AFL clubs will ask the question why they did not select Taylor earlier, with the former Falcon and Terang-Mortlake Football Club player picked at selection 28 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft.
“In my mind I always thought he was a top 10 draft pick,” Turner said.
“I was surprised he went out to pick 28 last year in the draft, but that has happened before as Allen Christensen, who is now a premiership player at Geelong, went at pick 40.
“I rate him (Taylor) as one of the best players that has been through the program, and I think he has proved that.”
Turner believes his size – at just 173cm – may have had an impact on him sliding down the draft selections last year, but his ability has always been unquestioned.
“I think sometimes the taller players are selected before the smaller ones.
“Size does not matter, you are always drafted on ability and I think some clubs will look back and think ‘who did we select before pick 28?’”
Taylor captained Vic Country in the 2013 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships and named in the 2013 Under-18 All-Australian team. He was a member of the 2012 AIS-AFL Academy – Level Two squad.
Geelong Falcons coach Andrew Allthorpe believed his workrate has been what has always set him apart.
“His effort during his time in the TAC Cup program was fantastic; especially his level of resilience and commitment to improve in his football is unquestioned.
“To see him achieve a Rising Star nomination so early in the season was no surprise to us, and we are wrapped he is loving his football at Brisbane, and working hard to improve again at the next level.”
With 17 former TAC Cup and Victorian community league players receiving Rising Star nominations, it was no surprise to see the top three filled by Victorian players
Taylor now joins the likes of Chris Scott, Adam Goodes, Sam Mitchell and Joel Selwood as former TAC Cup players that have received the Rising Star award.