Category: NEAFL News
By: JESS WEBSTER
Round 17 Rising Star Nominee: Jock Cornell
Riverina product Jock Cornell is the UWS Giants’ first Rising Star nominee of the season after his five-goal haul against Eastlake on Saturday.
Cornell rose to the occasion in front of a home crowd at Robertson Oval in Wagga, kicking four of his five majors as a top-up player in the first half of the Giants’ 93-point win.
The Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes forward is also a member of the PM Capital Giants Academy and has been a part of the program since its inception in 2011.
The 18-year-old made his NEAFL debut for the Giants last season, and has played a further three games in 2015 while managing his time between NSW/ACT Rams commitments in the TAC Cup, and for his local club in the Riverina Football League.
Cornell, who is the cousin of Essendon Bombers player Joe Daniher, can play at either end of the ground but has also spent time through the midfield, earning an invitation to this year’s AFL Draft Combine in October.
It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the talented junior with a disappointing 2014 season marred by inconsistency, but he has bounced back this year.
Cornell said he was thrilled to have the opportunity to play at home last weekend in what has been a demanding year.
“It was good to have a home game and not have to fly anywhere,” he said.
“Even if I didn’t kick five goals I still would have been happy to come in and play my role.
“Last year probably wasn’t a great one, so this year was about trying to play some good games and maintain that consistency.
“I’m pretty keen to get out there for my next NEAFL game.”
Cornell was first selected in the AIS-AFL Academy squad after a dominant National Under-16s Championship campaign, but was cut from the program last year.
Giants Academy Manager, Jason Saddington, said the youngster has shown great character to find a new level in his performances.
“He showed some great resilience to fight back from that and worked hard on his footy to try and prove some people wrong,” he said.
“Jock has really worked hard for the past 18 months around the extra aspects of football required to become an AFL player, like fitness and strong worth ethic. It’s great to see him playing some really good, consistent football.
“He has always had the talent, but he has worked really hard to put himself out there and hopefully in the mix for the AFL draft.
“The plan for him is to play as much NEAFL football in the back end of the year for his development, and to continue to expose him to AFL clubs.”
The 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 NEAFL games at the start of the 2015 season.
Read more on the 2015 nominees here.
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