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Another Rising Star: Stephenson's turn

Superb Stephenson catches his breath Watch as Jaidyn Stephenson joins Collingwood Media to reflect on a career-best performance, moments after a 48 point win over the Adelaide Crows.

“Surely this guy gets a Rising Star nomination?”

That was the synopsis of thousands of Collingwood fans on social media over the weekend.

“This guy” they referred to was Jaidyn Stephenson, and the Rising Star nomination the supporters demanded has come his way.

Playing just his fourth game, Stephenson kicked five goals from 13 disposals as the Magpies careered away to a 48-point win at the Adelaide Oval.

The nomination is the Magpies’ second in as many weeks, for Stephenson is following in the footsteps of fellow recruit Sam Murray, who was the AFL’s nominee for round three.

It’s Collingwood’s third nomination for the year, for AFL Women’s sensation Chloe Molloy won the league’s overall award just a matter of weeks ago.

The performance was made all the more meteoric given Stephenson entered the game without so much as a behind to his name in his first three games.

He debuted against Hawthorn in round one, and has held his place in the weeks since.

But it was the efforts against Adelaide that have put him on the map.

Here’s a look at how things transpired:

Goal No. 1
Josh Thomas
sends the ball long inside 50. Mason Cox is camped underneath it and, sensing a presence, opts to tap the ball to the advantage of Stephenson, who cleverly waits behind the pack to gather and scoot into the open goal.

Goal No. 2
The Sherrin is sent quickly into attack where Stephenson keeps his eyes on the ball and outbodies Jake Kelly to mark cleanly. He was never going to miss from 35 metres out.

Goal No. 3
Ben Reid
swings a kick deep inside 50, but the ball bounces off Stephenson’s chest in the wet conditions. Not to be deterred, Stephenson stays in the contest, gathering cleanly in between James Aish and Paul Seedsman, spinning into space and snapping truly on his left foot from 45 metres out.

Jaidyn Stephenson celebrates a goal with Jordan De Goey.

Goal No. 4
Captain Scott Pendlebury kicks quickly out of a stoppage and again it’s Stephenson who is best placed, reading the ball well off the boot and marking on his chest in front of David Mackay. He loads up from 55 metres out and carries the journey.

Goal No. 5
Receiving a free kick deep in the pocket, Stephenson backs himself, stepping into space to snap cleanly on his left boot. “The kid’s kicked five! It’s a breakout performance from Jaidyn Stephenson in his fourth game,” is the call from Channel Seven’s Jason Bennett.

It’s now five months since Stephenson joined Collingwood with the sixth overall selection in the 2017 National Draft.

A product of Ferntree Gully, Stephenson is forecast to play both in attack and through the midfield.

Speed, skill and a booming right boot are all key items of his weaponry, and his ability to seize the moment means he looms as a big game player of the future.

As the Eastern Rangers’ Talent Manager Len Villaini told Inside Football ahead of the draft: “Jaidyn's not just your meat and potatoes type of footballer, he’s something pretty special. He’s your three-course meal.”

Stephenson meets President Eddie during his first day at the club in 2017.