Young St Kilda forward Jack Lonie has received the Rising Star nomination for Round 14.
The small forward was rewarded for his 18 disposals, five inside 50s and one goal in the Saints’ 110-point demolition of the Bombers on Sunday.
Playing in one of the toughest roles in the game, Lonie has impressed with his liveliness and pressure in the front half and craftiness around goals, as seen by his goal-of-the-year contender from the pocket on Sunday.
Lonie is also ranked the seventh best player in the competition for applying pressure inside forward fifty – ranked number one at the club – highlighted by his smother on Jake Melksham in the third quarter when the game’s result was beyond doubt.
The 174cm forward has played 12 matches, averaging 12 disposals, three tackles, and kicked 10 majors in his debut season in 2015.
“‘Richo’ said to me that if I keep applying that forward pressure and getting involved on the scoreboard and bringing that energy, then I’ll be getting a game” – Jack Lonie
Selected with pick 41 in the 2014 national draft – a steal given his form so far in his short career – Lonie’s season includes a career-high 20 disposals, four inside fifties, and two goals in Round 5, also against the Bombers. He’s missed only one match for the year – unusual for a third-round draft pick in his first season.
Speaking to afl.com.au, Lonie said continuing to play his role effectively will lead to getting a game each week in the eyes of their coach.
“Being a small forward, ‘Richo’ said to me that if I keep applying that forward pressure and getting involved on the scoreboard and bringing that energy, then I’ll be getting a game,” Lonie said.
“I’ve tried to own that forward pressure role and be the best I can be at it.”
The left-footer is the cousin of former Hawthorn and Port Adelaide player Nathan Lonie and former Magpie Ryan Lonie and is blessed with the family’s penetrating foot skills.
Drafted from the Dandenong Stingrays, Lonie was a standout junior and was Vic Country’s Most Valuable player throughout the Under-18 carnival, booting 21 goals from 15 matches during the TAC Cup last season.
He said his rapid development has a lot to do with the tutoring from one of the more experienced small forwards over the last decade, teammate Adam Schneider.
“He’s someone who has got a great footy brain and I’ve sought as much advice from him as I can.
“He’s been great in teaching me the structures and everything that goes along with it. He’s made sure I’ve fitted in really well and I’m enjoying playing with him.”
Lonie is the 22nd St Kilda player to be nominated for the Rising Star since the award’s inception in 1993, with the club registering two winners – Justin Koschitzke in 2001 and Nick Riewoldt in 2002.
Lonie follows teammates Luke Dunstan and Jack Billings as the third Saints player to be nominated in the last two seasons.
RISING STAR NOMINEES FOR 2015
Round 1 – Kamdyn McIntosh (Richmond)
Round 2 – Mitch Honeychurch (Western Bulldogs)
Round 3 – Isaac Heeney (Sydney Swans)
Round 4 – Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
Round 5 – Adam Saad (Gold Coast SUNS)
Round 6 – Cory Gregson (Geelong)
Round 7 – Billy Hartung (Hawthorn)
Round 8 – Cameron McCarthy (GWS Giants)
Round 9 – Jesse Hogan (Melbourne)
Round 10 – Angus Brayshaw (Melbourne)
Round 11 – Tim Broomhead (Collingwood)
Round 12 – Tom Boyd (Western Bulldogs)
Round 13 – Charlie Cameron (Adelaide Crows)
Round 14 – Jack Lonie (St Kilda)