Nathaniel Atkinson wins 2017-18 Melbourne City rising star award

RISING STAR: Launceston's Nathaniel Atkinson in action for Melbourne City against Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park. Picture: AAP
RISING STAR: Launceston's Nathaniel Atkinson in action for Melbourne City against Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park. Picture: AAP

Riverside Olympic product Nathaniel Atkinson capped off a brilliant debut season with Melbourne City on Monday night.

The 18-year-old took out the final-bound club’s rising star award, which is annually awarded to City’s best youth player “whose development has most excelled over the past 12 months”.

Atkinson has made 13 A-League appearances since debuting out of City’s youth program against Central Coast Mariners in December.

After leaving Riverside Olympic, Atkinson joined Tasmania’s National Training Centre, and was scouted by Melbourne City youth coaches in 2015.

The right winger has received consistent praise from coach Warren Joyce and was rewarded with a two-year senior contract in January.

He was stretchered off during City’s 5-0 win against Adelaide after eight-straight matches, damaging ligaments in is left ankle.

However, he got away with a “best case scenario” outcome and returned to the pitch after just five weeks on the sidelines.

Melbourne City is preparing for its fourth-consecutive finals campaign this Friday night when it will take on Brisbane Roar in an elimination final at AAMI Park.

The do-or-die encounter starts at 7.50pm.