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RISING STAR: Cats' leading hopes

Zach Guthrie has been named Geelong's leading Rising Star candidate.  - Geelong Cats,Zach Guthrie
Zach Guthrie has been named Geelong's leading Rising Star candidate.

The Cats showed off their best and brightest young stars in Sunday's first JLT hit-out, with some strong performances from senior debutants stealing the show.

AFL Media's Jennifer Phelan has taken a look at that crop of young talent and picked our leading chance to take out this season's Rising Star award. 

Best chance: Zach Guthrie

As a composed young defender, Guthrie played nine of the Cats' last 12 games in 2017 after making an impression in his debut match against the Giants in round 15. He played in the first two of the Cats' finals but lost his spot for the prelim (along with James Parsons) when Tom Lonergan and Nakia Cockatoo returned. Scored the very first goal in the AFLX tournament as he showed off his slightly heavier frame, built courtesy of hard gym work over summer and the continuing consumption of home-cooked meals, as he revealed in February. Has a great opportunity to find a solid spot in the senior side this season, following the retirement of half-back Andrew Mackie.

Other contenders: Charlie Constable (yet to debut), Lachlan Fogarty (yet to debut), Jamaine Jones (yet to debut), Gryan Miers (yet to debut), Esava Ratugolea (yet to debut), Sam Simpson (five games).

Past winners: Joel Selwood (2007) 

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