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NAB AFL Rising Star nomination: round 5

By Jennifer Witham, 9:55 PM Tue 01 May, 2007

Joel Selwood

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THE CATS have snared their second NAB AFL Rising Star nomination this season with boom midfielder Joel Selwood earning the honours for round five.

Selwood played his best game for the Cats against the Kangaroos at Skilled Stadium on Sunday, and earned the praise of both his coach and teammates after the match.

Mark Thompson said Selwood "inspired" the rest of the side, while Paul Chapman said he played with a "hunger" the rest of the team needed to learn how to recapture.

In just his fourth AFL game, Selwood picked up 25 possessions and took six marks in his first match at his home ground, and gave the Cats a spark after starting on the bench.

He was told of his nomination on Monday night, on what was otherwise a sad occasion for Selwood and his close-knit family.

"I heard the news and I was pretty excited. We had our grandfather's funeral yesterday so the family were all back home. It was a good end to the day on such a sad day," he told afl.com.au on Tuesday.

"It was a good way to finish. It was good having all the family around when I heard."

He was also modest when talking of his big match against the Kangaroos, but still felt he put together his best match at the club so far.

"I think I was more comfortable this weekend, because it sort of played into my hand with a little bit of wet weather," he said.

"The game slowed down a little bit for me, and they're the games that I like, when it's in close and you have to be hard.

"It's pretty hard to rate your game when you're playing in a losing side.

"I thought I went OK, I wasn't overly rapt with it, and I haven't looked over it at all yet because I went home straight after the game. I'll have a look over it with the coaches today and see what I have to improve."

Selwood, who is the younger brother of West Coast's Adam and Brisbane's Troy, joined the club via its first pick in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft, and was selected with selection No.7 overall.

He was talked up as a possible top-five selection but was not considered by many clubs due to the fact he suffered a knee injury in 2006 and managed only three games.

He was an All-Australian Under-18 representative and played for Vic Country in 2005, and also won the Barassi medal for his performance in the International Rules series of the same year.

This year, he has played four senior games – one of which involved a late call-up after Nathan Ablett injured himself in the warm-up, and played shortly after eating a Mars Bar – and has averaged more than 16 disposals a match.

Selwood was also well-known for his leadership skills when the Cats were considering him last year. He captained Australia at Under-17 level, and joined the club as a ready-made midfielder despite the time he had off in 2006.

Selwood joins Paddy Ryder (Essendon), Cameron Wood (Brisbane Lions), Tom Hawkins (Geelong) and Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood) as players to be nominated for the award so far this season.

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