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Rising Star: Andrew McGrath

Andrew McGrath has rounded out his impressive debut season by claiming Essendon’s Rising Star award at the Crichton Medal.

The number one draft pick played 21 games, mostly stationed in defence but he also spent time in the midfield later in the season.

McGrath averaged 20 disposals, four marks, three tackles and two rebounds from the defensive 50 per match.

The 19 year old took on some of the most dangerous small forwards in the competition including Eddie Betts whom he kept goalless, while also picking up 25 disposals himself.

McGrath won the AFL’s Rising Star award last month finishing ahead of Ryan Burton (Hawthorn), Sam Powell-Pepper (Port Adelaide), Charlie Curnow (Carlton) and Eric Hipwood (Brisbane).

He also won the AFLPA’s Best First Year Player and was named in the back pocket in the 22under22 team.

“Andrew has made a seamless transition into AFL football,” Essendon Coach John Worsfold said.

“He’s thrived in the professional environment of an elite sporting organisation and the consistency he displayed throughout the season was impressive for such a young player.

“He’s a key part of our future and while his first season was excellent, we know that the best is yet to come.”