The Saints have been incredibly competitive throughout their debut AFLW season but perhaps more exciting than this is the club’s stocks of young players. This embarrassment of riches was recognised again this week with Olivia Veseley receiving the club’s third Rising Star nomination of the year.
While the 20-year-old has perhaps not received the same level of attention as fellow nominees Georgia Patrikios and Caitlin Greiser, she has been no less important to the team. A consistent ball-winner, she has yet to collect less than 13-possessions and is always near the top of the Saints possession counts.
The inaugural winner of the Sandringam Dragons women’s Best & Fairest in 2017, it was a long road to the AFW for Veseley. Overlooked in the first two drafts she was eligible, she spent seasons in the VFLW with Carlton and the Southern Saints. Impressing St Kilda Coach Peta Searle with her efforts, she earned an elevation to the club’s AFLW list in a surprise announcement at Moorabbin.
Veseley would learn of her Rising Star nomination via similarly surprising circumstances. The young gun has worn a mouthguard emblazoned with ‘Fear Me’ as a result of dare from Rhi Watt and Nat Exon and this was the basis point from which she would be surprised with her nomination. After answering Kate McCarthy’s call to showcase her talent for playing two recorders with her nose she received a gift. With the rest of her teammates watching on, she opened the gift to uncover a mouthguard emblazoned with Rising Star.