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First-year front runners

Harry on debut Harry Morrison notched up over 20 possessions and impressed everyone as he took part in several scoring plays. Check out some of Harry's moments from Round 23.

With the 2017 Peter Crimmins Medal presentation night fast approaching, we thought we would have a look at those in contention for the Best First Year Player award.

Previous winners of the award include Cyril Rioli (2008), Liam Shiels (2009), Ben Stratton (2010), Paul Puopolo (2011) and Jack Gunston (2012).

Read: Who's in contention to take our the 2017 PCM?

Here are the six possible candidates for this year:


Harry Morrison

Pick 74 in 2016 national draft

Morrison played 17 games for Box Hill this year, showing an ability to play in a multitude of roles. Throughout his time for the Hawks’ VFL affiliate, he averaged 20 disposals, six marks and four tackles. The 18-year old was selected to debut against the Western Bulldogs in the final game of the year. The Benalla product did not let himself down at the top level, collecting 21 possessions - the most of any Hawthorn debutant since 2014. One of only two first year players to make a senior appearance this season, Hawthorn fans would be excited to watch Morrison develop in 2018.

Read: Who's Hawthorn's 'Mr Consistent' for 2017? 

Mitchell Lewis

Pick 76 in 2016 national draft

Lewis got an opportunity to show his wares at both ends of the ground in 2017. The 198cm prospect played 13 games for Box Hill this year, kicking ten goals as a forward while also showing an ability to play as a defender. The 18-year old’s season was cut short after he injured his shoulder and required a shoulder reconstruction.


Oliver Hanrahan

Pick 14 in 2016 rookie draft

In his first year at Hawthorn, Ollie Hanrahan earned praise as a small forward who can also have an impact on-ball. Despite having a delayed start to the year, the 19-year old developed at a fast rate, with Assistant Coach Adem Yze stating that Hanrahan's name was often brought up in discussions regarding senior selection late in the year.  The former Murray Bushranger played 12 games for Box Hill, averaging 15 disposals, three marks and two tackles whilst also kicking 12 goals for the season.


James Cousins

Pick 46 in 2016 rookie draft

Cousins led his 2016 draftee cohort, earning three games at AFL level this year. Cousins wasted little time in impressing the coaches, showing no fear in the clinches throughout the first two months of the season for Box Hill. Averaging 24 touches per game, the 19-year old’s form was rewarded when he was named to debut against Sydney in Round 10. He played two more games at senior level before a shoulder injury forced an early end to his debut season.


Conor Glass

2016 Category B Rookie

While Glass was originally signed in October 2015, he didn't arrive in Australia until after he finished his studies in July 2016, meaning that season 2017 was his first full year on an AFL list. The Irishman's call up in Round 18 came somewhat out of the blue, but the decision was well and truly justified when Glass collected 15 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s in an impressive debut performance. The 20-year-old went onto play the remaining five games of the season. His effort and intensity was exemplified in Round 20, when Glass sprinted 80m to knock down the unsuspecting Anthony Miles and save a certain Richmond goal.


Conor Nash

2017 Category B Rookie

Nash was able to play 10 games for Box Hill after a late start to the season due to hamstring troubles. The 197cm Irishman showed promise as an aggressive key defender, with his athleticism an especially exciting attribute of his game. Nash seemed to develop in every game he played this season, as his experience and understanding of the game continued to grow.

Read: Hawks to farewell trio at PCM


Best First Year Players of the last ten years 

2016- Kaiden Brand

2015- Daniel Howe

2014- Angus Litherland

2013- Taylor Duryea

2012- Jack Gunston

2011- Paul Puopolo

2010- Ben Stratton

2009- Liam Shiels

2008- Cyril Rioli

2007- Xavier Ellis


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs