Speedy Swan, Demons defender earn R9 Rising Star nominations

PRIZED Sydney youngster Sofia Hurley and Melbourne key defender Tahlia Gillard have been recognised for their impressive round nine performances by receiving NAB AFLW Rising Star nominations.

Hurley, 18, was one of the shining lights for the Swans in their 14-point defeat at the hands of Fremantle. The midfielder gathered 15 disposals, laid three tackles and kicked a goal.

The highly touted Hurley was recruited to the Swans as the club's second selection in the 2022 NAB AFLW Draft at No.5 overall. She played an impressive role in Vic Metro's 2022 championship campaign, while also being a member of the AFLW U18 National Academy.

Tahlia Gillard and Sofia Hurley star in round nine

02:45 Oct 24. 2022. 5:00 PM

Watch the highlights and find out why Tahlia Gillard and Sofia Hurley were nominated for the NAB AFLW S7 Rising Star in round nine

Recruiters were impressed at the 166cm midfielder's composure through traffic, while showing her fantastic workrate through her two-way running capabilities, also having the ability to hit the scoreboard.

Hurley has played every game in Sydney's inaugural campaign and becomes the club's second nominee after fellow draftee Montana Ham received the nod in round four.

Sofia Hurley celebrates a goal during the R9 clash between Sydney and Fremantle at Henson Park on October 22, 2022. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Demons defender Gillard has also been acknowledged after another impressive performance at the heart of her team's defence.

Gillard is a member of a Melbourne side that has the equal-best defensive record across the competition and was one of the stars in Melbourne's thumping 41-point victory over Essendon.

She had nine disposals, but it was her defensive efforts that were on display for all to see, teaming up with Libby Birch to combine for 15 intercepts and 481m gained as the Bombers forwards had no answer.

Tahlia Gillard (2R), with Charlotte Wilson, Sinead Goldrick and Megan Fitzsimon after the R9 clash between Melbourne and Essendon at Casey Fields on October 23, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The 190cm key-position prospect was seen as one of the steals of the draft as she slipped down to No.42 in the 2021 NAB AFLW Draft.

After the 18-year-old played three games in her debut season, the former Calder Cannons and Vic Metro junior has come into her own and played all nine games this season.