A pair of SUNS Academy young guns have capped off strong years named as the QAFL and QAFLW Rising Stars at AFLQ Queensland’s Awards night on Sunday.

Broadbeach’s Taine Dawson and Bond University premiership star Ava Usher were crowned as the competition’s rising stars, adding to an extensive resume already built throughout 2023.

Dawson made 10 appearances for the Cats in 2023 and was named in the best on eight occasions, nominated in Round 18 for a 22-disposal, 44-hitout display against Sherwood. Dawson also made his VFL debut for the SUNS earlier in the year in the Round 8 match against Southport.

At just 16 years of age, Usher has established herself as a star of the future. A member of Bond University’s QAFLW premiership side, the young half-forward has already earned Under 18 All-Australian selection, taking out the 2023 Rising Star following a Round 3 display against Wilston Grange with 19 disposals and four goals.

Usher was also named at half-forward in the QAFLW Team of the Year.