North East Australian Football League
Rising Star Nominees


The NEAFL Rising Star is awarded to the most promising young talent in the NEAFL competition. Prior to 2014, the Northern and Eastern Conferences each presented their own Rising Star awards.

Last year's winner was Redland ruckman Paul Hunter, with our newest Rising Star to be crowned at the NEAFL Awards Ceremony on August 30.

Read more about the nominees for 2015 below.




Gold Coast Suns Academy member Dyson Budarick won the final Rising Star Nomination of the 2015 NEAFL season.

The Queensland Under-18s representative showed off his potential with 14 disposals, including five inside 50s, and a goal in the Suns’ 89-point win over Brisbane. Originally from the Labrador Tigers, Budarick has played seven matches for the Suns this year and was also invited to the AFL State Combine.


Riverina product Jock Cornell rose to the occasion in front of a home crowd at Robertson Oval in Wagga in Round 17, kicking five majors for the UWS Giants against Eastlake.

The Giants Academy member and cousin of Essendon Bombers player Joe Daniher has been a part of the program since its inception in 2011. He can play at either end of the ground but has also spent time through the midfield, earning an invitation to this year’s AFL Draft Combine in October.


Former Tasmanian Under-18s vice-captain Tim Jones has reaped the rewards of moving to Queensland with a dual role at Southport and as a top-up for the Gold Coast Suns.

The midfielder threw himself into draft calculations last year and despite interest from 10 AFL clubs, his opportunity never came at the AFL Draft and he was soon snapped up by the Sharks.


An experienced Sydney University squad has been the perfect platform for emerging defender Mitch Mahady.

An inaugural member of the GWS Giants Academy four years ago, Mahady grew up in Albury before making the move to Sydney where he has thrived at the Students this year. The 190cm and 99kg utility can play in a variety of roles, but it has been his performances as a key position defender that has stood out.


NT Thunder livewire Michael Hagan wasted little time making his presence felt with two goals, 22 possessions, seven marks and four inside-50s in his debut NEAFL match in Round 14.

The slightly-built 17-year-old was coming off a solid National Under-18 Championship campaign for NT which led to his senior selection, and he has grabbed the opportunity with both hands.


Emerging Aspley ruckman Nick Jackson was rewarded for a consistent season with the Round 13 nomination after playing every match this season for the defending premier.

The 196cm and 92kg defender reads the play exceptionally well, can take a strong mark overhead, and has great ability to find targets accurately by foot.


Eastlake’s Brydan Hodgson took his first few NEAFL games in his stride and earned a nomination after 30 disposals and five clearances against NT Thunder in Round 12.

A hard-working forward and midfielder who attacks the ball with intent, Hodgson moved to Canberra this season to allow a dual role of representing the ACT Rams in the TAC Cup while also furthering opportunities at senior level.


James Holland’s performance against Redland in Round 11 saw the Gold Coast Suns Academy graduate join a rare selection of players to have been nominated for the award twice after first receiving a nod in Round 18 last year while playing for the Suns.

Holland made his NEAFL debut as a 16-year-old 2013 for Broadbeach and has been a regular contributor in a half-forward role in all of the Sharks this season.


After balancing Queensland Under-18 and Brisbane Lions Academy commitments for the past two years, Miller has flourished in his new role as a small defender this season.

He has played in every match so far and it was a breakout performance against Gold Coast in Round 10 with 24 disposals, seven marks and seven rebound 50s which earned the 18-year-old Redland’s second nomination of the year.


Liam Griffiths has bounced back from the disappointment of missing out on last year’s AFL Draft with several top performances for Ainslie this year.

A member of the GWS Giants Academy for the past few seasons, Griffiths earned a Rising Star nomination after polling eight NEAFL MVP votes in Round 8 against Eastlake.


The Brisbane Lions Academy produced its third NEAFL Rising Star nominee in the first seven rounds of the season when teenage forward Eric Hipwood shone or the Lions against Aspley.

The 200cm key forward made his senior debut last season and, like Keays, followed up his nomination with National Under-18 All-Australian selection.


Stephen Camp’s transition from fringe player to regular senior contributor has taken a big step forward this year.

After playing 17 NEAFL games in four years between 2011-2014, Camp switched clubs to Eastlake where the 21-year-old running midfiedler has taken his game to a new level.


Thunder defender Ryan Nyhuis was among his side’s best players in his first two NEAFL games when he held his own against two high-quaility opponents.

The 19-year-old lined up against GWS Giants forward Jed Lamb in his debut match, but it was a key shut-down role on Aspley star and NEAFL representative Eddie Sansbury in Round 5 that caught the eye.


Draft prospect Ben Keays made his mark before the start of the National Under-18 Championships with a best-on-ground performance for the Lions early in the season.

The star midfielder won the Queensland MVP Award at the National Under-16 Championships and followed on with his Rising Star nomination with a Hunter Harrison Medal and All-Australian selection at this year’s Under-18s Nationals.


Young Redland utility Matt Uebergang is proving to be the complete package after a switch to defence has breathed new life into his career.

The Ipswich-raised 194cm key position player has come through the Brisbane Lions Academy where his athletic traits stood out. He collected 18 disposals, seven marks and six rebound 50s – polling the most NEAFL MVP votes for the Round 3 match against NT Thunder – to be one of the top contender’s this season.


There is never a lot of expectation of a 16-year-old playing his first senior game, but Brisbane Lions Academy member Jack Rolls impressed with 17 disposals as a running defender to earn a nomination.

The Morningside junior was identified for his potential as a 14-year-old and began training with the Lions Academy last year.


Eastlake midfielder Nick Fothergill, 19, was thrown into a baptism of fire in his first NEAFL game when he took on defending premier Aspley on their home turf in Brisbane, but he was one of the Demons best to pick up the first nomination of the season.

The country Victorian co-captained Numurkah last year - when he was still a teenager - and was rated so highly at his new NEAFL club that he was voted into Eastlake’s leadership group by his peers before the season commenced.