Essendon youngster Orazio Fantasia has been awarded the final Rising Star nomination for season 2015, taking out the Round 23 gong.
Fantasia receives the nomination after collecting a career-high 27 disposals at 82 percent efficiency, along with four rebound 50s, in the Bombers’ three-point win over the Magpies on Sunday.
Scroll down to see the full list of Rising Star nominees for 2015
The 19-year-old played five games in an injury interrupted second season, averaging 16 disposals, four tackles and three inside 50s, taking his overall tally to eight games so far.
The speedy half-back finished the season on a positive note after overcoming a series of groin and thigh injuries to add much-needed pace to the Bomber defence late in 2015.
Fantasia was taken with pick 55 in the 2013 national draft – the pick traded by Fremantle in exchange for Scott Gumbleton – after playing in Norwood’s Premiership-winning side in just his fourth senior SANFL game. Fantasio also represented South Australia during its undefeated Under-18 Championships campaign – kicking four goals in their Round 2 clash.
“I feel we have a really strong group of young players coming through and I am really excited about what we can achieve together over the next few years” – Orazio Fantasia
The 177cm and 70kg Fantasia spent most of his first season at the Bombers developing at VFL level before making his debut late in the year against Richmond in Round 20, playing three of the last four games of 2014 in Essendon’s senior side.
Essendon development coach Mark Neeld told afl.com.au Fantasia has what it takes to be a long-term player at the club.
“Orazio is one of an exciting group of young players on our senior list. He has a tremendous work ethic, hunger to develop, and we believe this combination of attributes lays the foundations for a bright future at Essendon,” Neeld said.
Speaking to the Bombers’ website in August after a signing a new two-year contract extension, Fantasia said he has no plans to return to his native state of South Australia anytime soon.
“Being from interstate, the lure to return home is always there but I am really enjoying my time at the Bombers,” Fantasia said.
“I feel we have a really strong group of young players coming through and I am really excited about what we can achieve together over the next few years.”
Fantasia is the Bombers’ 37th Rising Star nominee since the award’s inception in 1993 and was the club’s only nominee for the 2015 season.
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)
Round 23 – Orazio Fantasia (Essendon)