Brisbane small forward Lewis Taylor has won the tightest AFL Rising Star award, beating Marcus Bontempelli from the Western Bulldogs by one vote.
Lewis Taylor’s AFL Rising Star Award symbolises how far Brisbane have come in the last 12 months.
The 19-year-old small forward won the closest vote in the award’s 22-year history, beating Western Bulldogs onballer Marcus Bontempelli by one.
Late last year, the Lions were in disarray after the sacking of coach Michael Voss and five players walking out on the club to return to their home states.
After making a disastrous 0-5 start to this season, Brisbane rallied impressively and finished 15th with a 7-15 record.
Taylor played every game, the only Rising Star nominee this season to do so.
In more good news for the Lions, Taylor has also signed a one-year contract extension, keeping him at the club until the end of 2016.
“I couldn’t ask for a better place to be at the moment, with the support I’ve had from everyone there,” Taylor said.
“I was happy to sign on – I didn’t see any reason why not.”
Brisbane football manager Dean Warren said there was no doubt the club was much stronger than a year ago.
“It’s no secret that we’ve added a lot of resources to our footy department,” Warren said.
“While we had some leave, what it did do is allow us to balance our list pretty well with the type of players we’ve brought in.”
Taylor has proved a bargain recruit, with Brisbane using their fourth pick at No.28 in last year’s national draft on him.
Warren admitted to surprise that Taylor had played every game, giving he was still recovering from foot surgery when he joined the Lions.
“His resilience has been remarkable,” Warren said.
At 173cm, Taylor is Brisbane’s shortest player and long ago learned to ignore comments that he would be too short to succeed in the AFL.
The farm worker’s toughness and determination are no surprise, given his background.
His parents separated when he was young and he is estranged from his mother.
Taylor also played for the Geelong Falcons last year and the farm worker from Mortlake had a long drive to and from training as he pursued his AFL dream.
Taylor paid tribute to his father Simon and younger brother Toby, who were at Wednesday’s award function.
“It was tough, but the way I look at it is there are people going through a lot worse than me,” he said.
“So there’s no point me sooking about it.
“I can’t thank him (Simon) enough for what he’s done.”
* DOB: 17/5/95
* At 173cm, the shortest player at Brisbane
* Recruited from Terang-Mortlake and Geelong Falcons
* Recruited with Brisbane’s fourth pick at No.28 in last year’s national draft
* Played all 22 games this season – the only Rising Star nominee to do so
* Averaged 17 disposals per game and kicked 12 goals
* Polled 39 votes, beating Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs) by one in the award’s closest result.