NT Thunder defender Kieren Parnell’s inspirational return to the football field has produced another high with the young gun earning the Round 12 NEAFL Rising Star nomination.
Parnell played one of his best matches this season against Aspley in Alice Springs on Saturday night, finishing with 18 disposals (14 contested), five marks and four rebound 50s.
Parnell’s return to the field this year was a welcome sight for many after back-to-back knee reconstructions, with his last match dating back to May in 2017.
The 20-year-old finally made his NEAFL debut in Round 1 against Brisbane Lions after a long stint in rehab.
Making up for lost time, Parnell has been a steady contributor for NT Thunder so far, playing in nine matches and showcasing his athleticism and footy smarts, with the ability to read the play and take intercept marks.
Recruited from NTFL club St Marys, Parnell played in the premiership side as a 17-year-old in the 2015-16 season – the match where he first injured his right knee.
He is the first NT Thunder player to be nominated for the award this year.
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)
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