Tigers youngster Ben Lennon is the second-last Rising Star nominee for 2015.
The second-year Tiger collected 16 disposals and nine marks – two contested – in the club’s 27-point win against Essendon on Saturday night at the MCG to be awarded the Round 22 gong.
Lennon has featured in eight games this season but has played the last seven consecutively after developing his game at VFL level in the first half of the year.
Since his second match of 2015 in Round 16, the 20-year-old has averaged 13 disposals, six marks, two inside 50s and kicked six goals, with a 22-disposal, five-inside 50 effort against Gold Coast in Round 20 and three majors against St Kilda in Round 16.
“Brett Deledio told me he thought I had all the skills in the world, but I’ve just got to work harder… Since then I’ve tried really hard to run hard at training. I think that’s translated into games and I’m starting to see the benefits of that now.” – Ben Lennon
Lennon, who has tried to base his game on Hawthorn forward Jack Gunston’s, made his debut last season, playing seven matches after being drafted with pick 12 in the 2013 draft.
He played the 2013 season with the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup, averaging 25 disposals across the year and gaining Under-18 All-Australian honours as a half-forward following the national junior championships.
Known for his elite kicking, the Macleod JFC product has worked hard on the defensive aspects of his game in his two years at AFL level and plays taller than his 188cm would suggest.
Sharing similar traits to fellow half-forward Brett Deledio, Lennon told Fox Footy his vice-captain provided the words of wisdom to spur him back into the senior side.
“Brett told me he thought I had all the skills in the world, but I’ve just got to work harder,” Lennon said.
“Since then I’ve tried really hard to run hard at training. I think that’s translated into games and I’m starting to see the benefits of that now.
“I’ve been thrown around a little bit in my two years at Richmond. But I was drafted as a half-forward, so it’s been nice to play some senior footy there and show off what I can do.
“If that means I get a spot in the finals, hopefully I can take it with both hands.”
Lennon is the Tigers’ 32nd nominee since the award’s inception in 1993 and is the club’s eighth nominee since the Damien Hardwick era began in 2010.
He also joins Kamdyn McIntosh as the second Richmond player to be nominated in season 2015. The club has registered one winner of the Rising Star award – Brett Deledio in 2005.
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)
Round 15 – Dom Sheed (West Coast Eagles)
Round 16 – Touk Miller (Gold Coast Suns)
Round 17 – Jake Lever (Adelaide Crows)
Round 18 – Harris Andrews (Brisbane Lions)
Round 19 – Jackson Thurlow (Geelong)
Round 20 – Jordan De Goey (Collingwood)
Round 21 – Darcy Lang (Geelong)
Round 22 – Ben Lennon (Richmond)