Callum Mills of the Swans takes a mark.
Callum Mills of the Swans takes a mark. DEAN LEWINS

Mills red-hot favourite to claim Rising Star award

AFL: Callum Mills is set to join an elite club of Sydney Rising Star Award winners.

The league will announce the 2016 winner tomorrow afternoon, with Mills the raging favourite to join fellow Swans Adam Goodes (1999) and Daniel Hannebery (2010) as past recipients.

Mills would become the first Rising Star born and bred in the Harbour City, however, after turning his back on rugby union in 2010 and joining the Swans academy.

He played his junior footy with the Mosman Swans, before stepping up to the TAC Cup with the NSW/ACT Rams.

Sydney used its first pick in the 2015 national draft on Mills, which would become No.3 overall after Melbourne bid for his services.

Though a midfielder growing up, he has been used across half-back by Swans coach John Longmire in his debut season and thrived in a side that would go on to become the minor premier.

He has averaged 19.3 disposals in 20 games, and 3.5 rebounds, second at the club only to All-Australian defender Dane Rampe.

"He's had a great year,” Longmire said. "He's been fantastic at half-back for the whole year, which he's never done in his whole career.

"He's strong at the ball, he's really courageous - sometimes a bit too courageous for his own good, he's that hard at the ball.

"But he's also a very smart decision-maker and he's got a very mature approach to footy.

"He's been a fantastic addition for us this year.”

Mills will be at the ceremony tomorrow, with Longmire confident it would not impinge on his preparation for the Swans' qualifying final against the Giants on Saturday afternoon.

"No, that's part of football,” he said. "I'm sure he's mature enough to handle a flight down to Melbourne and back, and hopefully he votes well.”

Though standing just 168cm, Bulldog Caleb Daniel will be Mills' biggest challenger after averaging 21.4 disposals - the most of any Rising Star nominee.

Essendon onballer Darcy Parish, Melbourne midfielder Christian Petracca and Carlton's defender Jacob Weitering should also poll well.


Callum Mills (Syd) $1.18

Caleb Daniel (WB) $4

Darcy Parish (Ess) $13

Christian Petracca (Melb) $15

Jacob Weitering (Carl) $26

Connor Blakely (Freo) $51

Peter Wright (GC) $51

Darcy Moore (Coll) $51

Clayton Oliver (Melb) $101

Blake Acres (Stk) $101

Josh Dunkley (WB) $101

Ryan Clarke (NM) $101

Darcy Byrne-Jones (Port) $101

Jade Gresham (STK) $101

James Harmes (Melb) $101

Daniel Rioli (Rich) $101

Lachie Weller (Freo) $101

Orazio Fantasia (Ess) $101

Tom Papley (Syd) $126

Jacob Hopper (GWS) $151

Oscar McDonald (Melb) $151

Tom Barrass (WCE) $151

(James Sicily not eligible due to suspension)

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