Gold Coast SUNS Male Academy member Connor Budarick’s strong form has been rewarded with the Round 17 NEAFL Rising Star nomination.
The young star found plenty of the ball in Gold Coast’s win over the Giants at Metricon Stadium on Sunday, collecting 19 disposals and five marks.
Budarick has been in top form since re-joining the SUNS in the NEAFL after a successful NAB League and Under-18 National Championships campaign, where the midfielder earned All Australian honours after starring for the Allies.
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In his last four NEAFL matches, Budarick has averaged 21 disposals and five tackles per game and has been named in the SUNS best twice.
Boasting footy smarts, silky skills, strength in contests and leadership, Budarick is one of the best young talents in the SUNS Academy.
The Labrador product made his NEAFL debut for Southport as a 16-year-old back in 2017, adding a further 13 games at this level for Gold Coast in the past two seasons.
Budarick joins teammates and fellow SUNS Academy members Fitzroy Greenwool and Hewago Paul Oea (Ace) as nominees for the award in 2019.
It is the most nominees in a single season the SUNS have had since 2016 when Brayden Crossley, Jack Bowes and Brad Scheer were nominated. All three of those players went on to be drafted by the club.
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The NEAFL Rising Star is awarded to the most promising young talent in the NEAFL competition.
Nominees must be under the age of 21 and played less than 20 senior games (excluding games as AFL club academy players) at the start of the 2019 season.
2019 NEAFL Rising Star Nominees
Round 1: Angus Baker (Canberra)
Round 2: Bailey Stewart (Sydney University)
Round 3: Keidean Coleman (Brisbane)
Round 4: Connor Owen-Auburn (Canberra)
Round 5: Fitzroy Greenwool (Gold Coast)
Round 6: Hewago Paul Oea (Gold Coast)
Round 7: James Peatling (GIANTS)
Round 8: Rhys Pollock (Canberra)
Round 9: Tom Green (GIANTS)
Round 10: Josh Stern (Sydney University)
Round 11: Harry Grant (GIANTS)
Round 12: Kieren Parnell (NT Thunder)
Round 13: Jamison Shea (Southport)
Round 14: Jarrod Osborne (Canberra)
Round 15: Harry Morrison (Sydney University)
Round 16: Kel Evans (Canberra)
Round 17: Connor Budarick (Gold Coast)