Melbourne coach Paul Roos has called on the AFL to reform what he calls the ludicrous Rising Star competition with Demons flyer Jayden Hunt just one week away from missing a nomination.
Hunt, 21, has been a revelation for the Demons this season, making his debut at 21 after two seasons on Melbourne’s list without a senior match.
He hasn’t missed a match since coming into the team in round four, quickly becoming a fan favourite with his cut-through run and dash.
But he hasn’t won a nomination yet by Rising Star judges, who pick a player of the round each week to create a pool of nominees for the best young player award.
“It’d be a travesty if he didn’t get a nomination,” Roos said on Friday.
“He could be our best young player … he could be the best young player in the comp this year.
“He should be in the top three or four players in the comp and hasn’t been nominated.
“It just shows you what a flaw in the system there is.”
In Hunt’s most-prolific match this year, his 29-touch round-16 effort in Melbourne’s win over Fremantle, the judges preferred Callum Mills as the nominee.
Mills, the favourite to win the award, tallied 23 touches and kicked his first goal in the Swans’ super away-day win over Geelong.
But while Hunt’s form has maintained his position in the Demons’ line-up through the season, it hasn’t been rewarded with a nomination.
Either way, Hunt will head into the off-season with job security after signing a new two-year deal off the back of his form.
Injuries, including back complaints, stopped an earlier progression to the senior side.
Roos said the 2013 No.57 draft pick had benefited from the extra years in the AFL system before making his debut.
“If you miss that first year, sometimes it can be blessing. You can change your body shape,” Roos said.
“You saw it with Jesse Hogan – you saw it with Christian Petracca.
“Hunty’s been fantastic. He’s had an incredibly good year.
“But I don’t know how you can have a player that’s clearly in the best six young players in the comp and hasn’t been nominated. It’s ludicrous.”