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Lever’s going to be a 200-gamer: Camporeale

Adelaide defender Jake Lever has been rewarded for a stellar performance against the Gold Coast Suns on Saturday by being named the Round 17 Rising Star nominee.

The tall defender – playing just his seventh AFL match – recorded 24 disposals at 92 percent efficiency, ten marks (two contested) and seven rebound 50s as the Crows fought off a spirited Gold Coast in the final term to run out 45-point winners at Adelaide Oval.

In his debut season, Lever has played seven matches after making his debut in Round 6 – also against the Suns – with an ankle injury keeping him out for three weeks mid-year.

At 194cm, Lever is competitive, aggressive and shows composure beyond his years in defence. The 19-year-old is averaging 16 disposals, six marks, and four rebound 50s across his seven AFL games, collecting less than 14 touches just once during his short career.

He was taken by the Crows with pick 14 in last year’s draft but was considered a top five prospect before a knee reconstruction ruined his 2014 season.

“He’s going to be a 200-game player of this footy club and a real leader” – Scott Camporeale

Hailing from Romsey – 61 km north of Melbourne – and the Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup, Lever is a highly regarded leader. He captained Vic Metro as a 17-year-old, and some say he would’ve captained the AIS Academy, Vic Metro and the Cannons if not for his knee injury in 2014.

During his stint on the sidelines, Lever took on coaching duties at his representative sides and attended every game and training session.

He has drawn comparisons to unsung Hawthorn defender Ben Stratton for his combativeness in the air but also has the capacity to hold down a key position – at 194cm, he’s five centimeters taller than the premiership-winning Hawk.

After Saturday’s match, Adelaide interim coach Scott Camporeale said Lever is on track to being a great servant of the club.

“Lever’s growing week by week. He’s going to be a 200-game player of this footy club and a real leader. He’s a great competitor,” Camporeale said.

Speaking to on Tuesday, Lever said he has a great mentor in fellow Crows defender Daniel Talia – one of only two key defenders to win the Rising Star award.

“He’s obviously a fantastic player and just the way he goes about his football and his preparation, he’s a perfect role model for me,” Lever said.

“He doesn’t sugar-coat anything. If I don’t concentrate for one or two minutes of the game you can really get blown out of the game, in a sense.”