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Lever lauded by coaches

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Jake Lever of the Crows punches the ball clear of Ben Brown of the Kangaroos during the 2016 AFL First Elimination Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at the Adelaide Oval on September 10, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Jake Lever of the Crows punches the ball clear of Ben Brown of the Kangaroos during the 2016 AFL First Elimination Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at the Adelaide Oval on September 10, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)

Defender Jake Lever has finished third in the AFL Coaches’ Association Best Young Player Award.

The award recognises the player who, based on his performance in his first two seasons of AFL football, deserves to be acknowledged as the best young player in the competition. All members of the AFLCA vote on a five, four, three, two, one basis. There is no age or game limit.

Lever, 20, polled 315 votes to finish behind exciting Sydney Swan Isaac Heeney (569) and 2015 Rising Star Jesse Hogan (337) of Melbourne. It’s further external recognition for the promising Crow, who was also selected in the fan-voted best 22Under22 team for the second straight year.

Adelaide’s first pick in the 2014 National Draft, Lever has established himself in the Crows team since making his AFL debut against Gold Coast in Round Six last season.

He played every game this year, averaging 15.8 possessions and five marks. Both courageous and creative, Lever ranked sixth in the League for marks from opposition kicks.

Like Heeney, Lever has played 36 games in his first two AFL seasons. Heeney joined the Swans as an Academy selection at the end of 2014. The first pick in the 2012 'mini-draft' Hogan has kicked 85 goals in his 41 senior games.

Western Bulldogs match winner Marcus Bontempelli won the Best Young Player Award in 2015.

2016 BEST YOUNG PLAYER LEADERBOARD
569 – Isaac Heeney (Sydney)
337 – Jesse Hogan (Melbourne)
315 – Jake Lever (Adelaide)
285 – Caleb Daniel (Western Bulldogs)
253 – Darcy Moore (Collingwood)

Previous winners
2015 – Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)
2014 – Jaeger O’Meara (Gold Coast)
2013 – Jeremy Cameron (GWS)
2012 – Dyson Heppell (Essendon)
2011 – Nathan Fyfe (Fremantle)
2010 – Stephen Hill (Fremantle)
2009 – Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn)
2008 – Joel Selwood (Geelong)
2007 – Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood)
2006 – Ryan Griffen (Western Bulldogs)
2005 – Adam Cooney (Western Bulldogs)
2004 – Daniel Wells (Kangaroos)
2003 – Chris Judd (West Coast)