Kolodjashnij a `rising star'

FINALLY Launceston's No. 5 draft pick Kade Kolodjashnij has been officially recognised as one of the best young players in the AFL.

The 18-year-old Gold Coast running defender, overlooked for a nomination in his past two games despite strong outings, was last night confirmed as the round 10 nomination for the Rising Star Award.

It came after his 21-disposal (at 81 per cent disposal efficiency) and four-mark effort against the Western Bulldogs at Metricon Stadium on Sunday.

``I'm actually pretty rapt with it, as it is nice to be rewarded for my efforts early in the year,'' Kolodjashnij said.

``You don't try to think about it too much, as you just think about playing team footy and playing your role, even though it is in the back of your mind.''

Kolodjashnij, who is one of the favourites for the award's Ron Evans Medal, described as ``consistent'' his start to AFL life, which has seen him average 21 possessions in seven games.

His playing roles have been across half-back and on the wing, with a 25-possession best against North Melbourne in round 7.

This is despite stretching medial ligaments against the Roos, which forced him to miss a match, as well as preseason hamstring problems.

Since making his debut in round 2 against Fremantle, Kolodjashnij has become a fixture in a Gold Coast side that sits third on the AFL ladder.

``I'm feeling a lot more comfortable at the level, with the more games I've played the more confident I'm getting.

``But I know there's still a long road ahead and areas I need to work on, such as work-rate and the defensive side of my game.''

Kolodjashnij, whose twin brother Jake is on Geelong's list, becomes the first Tasmanian to be nominated since Western Bulldogs forward Liam Jones in round 24, 2011.

He is the eighth Gold Coast player to be nominated, with teammate Jaeger O'Meara winning the award last season.

Kolodjashnij's junior club, Prospect Hawks, will receive a club recognition award pack, which includes $1000 and Sherrin footballs, carry bags, a coaches board, air compressor and a range of skills books and DVDs.

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