Rising Star contenders: Who's leading the pack?

OVER the course of the 10-round AFLW season seven, 20 players aged 21 or under earned a NAB Rising Star nomination, with the winner to be announced at next week's W Awards. In arguably the deepest pool of young talent yet, thanks to developing pathways and four fresh teams, the race is closer than ever.

So, to prepare fans for the announcement of the winner, Gemma Bastiani has plucked out her five main contenders for the season seven Rising Star award - in no particular order.

AFLW FINALS Get your tickets now

AFLW top five: Best moments of FW2

02:29 Nov 14. 2022. 10:54 AM

The standout highlights from week two of finals of S7 of the AFLW

Ella Roberts (West Coast) - round six

Midfielder/Forward, 10 career games

The highest-rated West Australian talent in this season's draft, it was widely speculated that in a true national draft Ella Roberts would have been taken at number one. A tall, athletic talent who is still only 17 years of age, Roberts dominated the air in her first season of AFLW.

Averaging 3.5 marks, 7.7 contested possessions and kicking two goals across the season, Roberts led all first-season players for both marks and contested marks with 35 and nine respectively. Her best game came in round 10 against Melbourne. Despite a significant loss, Roberts won 22 disposals, took seven marks, delivered the ball forward five times and gained 447 metres for her side.

The Eagle has the potential to become the best aerial player in the league and had a debut season worthy of Rising Star contention.

Emily Pease and Ella Roberts star in round six

03:26 Oct 3. 2022. 5:00 PM

Watch the highlights and find out why Emily Pease and Ella Roberts get the NAB AFLW Rising Star nominations for round six

Hannah Ewings (Port Adelaide) - round three

Midfielder, 10 career games

A smooth moving midfielder, Hannah Ewings was the first-choice talent in South Australia in the most recent draft. It is her willingness to go both ways through the middle that makes her such a dangerous player, and such an exciting long-term prospect for Port Adelaide fans.

Averaging 13.9 disposals, 4.9 tackles, 3.7 inside 50s and 3.9 clearances across her opening 10 games, Ewings was essentially the engine room for the brand-new Power team. In her side's first ever win - and a significant one at that - in round four, Ewings became the first AFLW player in history to kick three or more goals and win nine or more clearances in a game, with 19 disposals, eight tackles and 417 metres gained to go along with that.

Ewings won more clearances than any other first-season player with 39 and registered the equal-second most inside 50s of the same cohort.

NAB AFLW Rising Star: Hannah Ewings and Rylie Wilcox star in round three

01:37 Sep 12. 2022. 5:00 PM

Watch the highlights and find out why Hannah Ewings and Riley Wilcox were nominated for the NAB AFLW S7 Rising Star in round three

Jasmine Fleming (Hawthorn) - round five

Midfielder, nine career games

The epitome of class, Jasmine Fleming's presence in Hawthorn's midfield this season visibly lifted her teammates. This was never truer than in the Hawks' first ever win in round five - the game in which Fleming earned her nomination - whereby the teenager willed her team back from a 20-point quarter time deficit to an eventual four-point win.

Fleming's willingness to tuck the ball under her arm and use her dash became a highlight throughout the season, leading to her registering more bounces than any other first season player with eight, as she averaged 14.4 disposals, 4.3 tackles and 3.2 clearances.

The Hawks midfielder also won the fifth-most deposals of any first season player with 130, featuring in fewer games than the four players ahead of her as she made the decision to focus on her studies for the final round.

Jasmine Fleming and Sarah Lakay star in round five

02:42 Sep 26. 2022. 5:00 PM

Watch the highlights and find out why Jasmine Fleming and Sarah Lakay get the NAB AFLW Rising Star in round five

Abbey Dowrick (Port Adelaide) - round one

Midfielder, 10 career games

Abbey Dowrick hit the AFLW with a bang in round one, becoming just the fifth player in competition history to win more than 20 disposals on debut and, in turn, earning her Rising Star nomination. Her ability to break out of the contest and generate attacking ball movement was a huge asset for Port Adelaide in its first season.

Dowrick registered the second-most tackles (61), disposals (144) and metres gained (3004) of any player in their first season, while also averaging 14.4 disposals, 6.1 tackles, 2.9 clearances and 300.4 metres gained across her ten games.

Arguably her best performance came in round four in a big win over Sydney whereby the bullocking midfielder registered 24 disposals, 14 tackles, six inside 50s, seven score involvements and 468 metres gained in a beautifully well-rounded game.

AFLW INJURY LIST How healthy is your team?

NAB AFLW RISING STAR: Abbey Dowrick and Paige Scott star in round one

02:18 Aug 29. 2022. 5:00 PM

Watch the highlights and find out why Abbey Dowrick and Paige Scott get the NAB AFLW S7 Rising Star in round one

Paige Scott (Essendon) - round one

Forward/Midfielder, 10 career games

In Essendon's inaugural AFLW game - and first ever win - out on the neat deck of Marvel Stadium, Paige Scott announced herself on the big stage, and continued to play a vital part to the Bombers' season.

Kicking more goals than any other first season player with seven and taking the equal-most marks inside 50 of that cohort with nine, Scott was not only a target in attack for Essendon, but a strong body to throw on the ball when needed.

Scott averaged 9.8 disposals, 2.6 tackles and 2.5 score involvements across her debut season, with her best game coming in round seven against Geelong whereby she kicked two goals and used her 13 disposals at 76.9 per cent efficiency.

NAB AFLW RISING STAR: Abbey Dowrick and Paige Scott star in round one

02:18 Aug 29. 2022. 5:00 PM

Watch the highlights and find out why Abbey Dowrick and Paige Scott get the NAB AFLW S7 Rising Star in round one