Sydney's stranglehold on the 2021 NAB AFL Rising Star Award got tighter after young midfielder Justin McInerney was awarded the Round 16 NAB AFL Rising Star nomination after a strong performance in Sydney’s 92-point win over West Coast at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday.  

The 20-year-old gathered 22 disposals for the second week in a row, took three marks and laid two tackles in Sydney’s win. McInerney has played 13 games in 2021 averaging 17 disposals and four marks.  

The third year midfielder became the fourth Sydney youngster to receive a nomination in 2021 and his second nomination after being awarded a nomination in Round 15 2020.  


McInerney started his junior football with Banyule Junior Football Club in the Yarra Junior Football League before joining the Northern Knights in the NAB League as part of their development squad. Considered a draft bolter in 2018, McInerney was impressive throughout his final year for the Northern Knights averaging over 16 disposals before performing strongly at the NAB AFL Draft State Combine. 

McInerney was drafted with pick 44 in 2018 AFL Draft and made his debut in the 2019 season, he has since played 23 AFL games and his speed, endurance and flair have caught the eye of Swans fans.

A NAB AFL Rising Star nominee will be named following each round of football in the 2021 Toyota AFL Premiership season. Following each round of the Home and Away season, a panel of judges select a NAB AFL Rising Star nominee. At the completion of the season, one of these nominees will be chosen as the 2021 NAB AFL Rising Star. The panel takes into account the performance in that round first before comparing the performances in previous rounds when deciding who is the best performed ‘eligible player’ for that week.  

The 2021 NAB AFL Rising Star winner will be awarded the Ron Evans Medal, along with $20,000 from NAB and a dedicated private banker.