Melbourne's Jurrah earns Rising Star nod - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Melbourne's Jurrah earns Rising Star nod

14/07/2009 05:33:33 PM Comments (0)

In Liam Jurrah, Melbourne have picked up more than just one of the AFL's most exciting youngsters, they have gained an entire outback community.

The 20-year-old Aboriginal forward is this week's nominee for the AFL's Rising Star award, after his spectacular four-goal display in the Demons' win over Port Adelaide on Sunday.

In just his fourth senior game, Jurrah, from the desert community of Yuendumu, 300km northwest of Alice Springs, looked a genuine star in the making with some spectacular marks, speed, skill and agility.

Jurrah, who is still to gain fluency in English as he grew up speaking Warlpiri, said his home community of about 1,000 people had become Demons' fans en masse since he joined the club.

"As soon as I got drafted, they're all Melbourne (now)," Jurrah said.

Indigenous teammate Aaron Davey said, like another exciting Melbourne Aboriginal forward from the Northern Territory, Austin Wonaeamirri, it was a major adjustment for Jurrah to move to Melbourne.

Wonaeamirri, currently out injured, was a Rising Star nominee in his first season last year.

"Liam and Austin have come from really small communities and it's really hard to get out of that environment and that lifestyle and adjust to the big smoke in Melbourne," Davey said.

"What these two have done, not only for themselves, they've made themselves proud, but everyone back home and all of their family and people."

Jurrah, who is training to be a Warlpiri tribal elder, said he was starting to become accustomed to his fast-growing cult hero status.

"It's pretty amazing and I feel happy that I got the Rising Star nominee," Jurrah said.

"(I'm) just getting used to it now."

Jurrah's nomination continues a turn-around in fortunes for Melbourne, who are on a two-game winning streak for the first time in more than two seasons.

Their previous round's win, against West Coast, also resulted in a Rising Star nomination, with Jack Grimes getting that nod.

Jurrah was selected by Melbourne with the first pick in the 2009 pre-season draft.

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