Former South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) star Andrew McGrath has taken out the 2017 NAB AFL Rising Star award.
The East Brighton Vampire junior has enjoyed a wonderful debut season for the Essendon Football Club after being taken at No.1 in the 2016 AFL Draft, playing 20 games.
McGrath made his mark in Round 21 against Adelaide, keeping small-forward Eddie Betts goalless despite the Crows having 62 inside 50s in their win over the Bombers.
He has has since moved up the ground to a wing and ultimately wants to become an inside midfielder.
“You come into the system pretty optimistic with what you can achieve,” he said upon receiving the prestigious award.
“To have a year like I had, both personally and from a team perspective has been amazing. All the boys are really keen to play finals and give the fans what they’ve wanted for so long.”
Nine of the 11 judges gave McGrath the maximum five votes.
Full Rising Star leaderboard
Andrew McGrath (Essendon) 51
Ryan Burton (Hawthorn) 41
Sam Powell-Pepper (Port Adelaide) 35
Charlie Curnow (Carlton) 27
Eric Hipwood (Brisbane Lions) 10
Sam Petrevski-Seton (Carlton) 3
Lewis Melican (Sydney) 1
Tom Phillips (Collingwood) 1