BRISBANE midfielder Belle Dawes and St Kilda defender Tarni White – on return from a torn ACL – are the round one nominees for the NAB AFLW Rising Star.
White tore her ACL in round four last year against Fremantle, her fourth match, but starred against the Western Bulldogs in their season-opener on Friday night.
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The 20-year-old – originally from QAFLW side Coorparoo and taken with pick No.30 in the 2019 NAB AFLW Draft – recorded a career-high 20 disposals and seven marks against the Dogs.
White was a thorn in the Bulldogs' side, continually blocking forward-50 entries with composure and kick-starting the Saints' rebound out of defence.
Lion Dawes is now entering her second AFLW season, having originally been selected with pick No.15 in the 2019 NAB AFLW Draft from QAFLW team Maroochydore. She also played for Wilston Grange.
The 19-year-old ran riot against Richmond, finishing her eighth AFLW match with 21 disposals and seven clearances – just two fewer than the entire Tigers team.
"This year I've come in with a little bit more confidence and worked really hard pre-season … I'm feeling so comfortable," Dawes said.
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"I just went out there and played footy, I wasn't really worried and just enjoyed it.
"I wanted to get a lot more fit over the pre-season. The more fit you are, the more ball you get."
Dawes smashed her previous best disposal tally of 12, recorded against Gold Coast last year, and tripled her 2020 season average of 5.9 touches.
Dawes had a strong QAFLW season over winter, finishing equal-first in the competition's best and fairest count alongside Lions teammates Jordan Zanchetta and Taylor Smith, and looks set to carry that form into the rest of the AFLW season.
Players are eligible for the NAB AFLW Rising Star if they are 21 years and under as of January 1, 2021 and have not been previously nominated.
Two players will be nominated per home and away round of the NAB AFLW season.
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