Bulldogs to unleash No.1 pick Ugle-Hagan

·2-min read

No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan will finally get his chance at AFL level and has rubbished trade speculation ahead of his debut for the Western Bulldogs.

Gun key forward Aaron Naughton being ruled out with concussion has created an opening and Ugle-Hagan will play in Sunday's clash with Sydney at Marvel Stadium.

The prodigiously-talented key forward has been unable to force his way into the senior line-up this year with the Bulldogs sitting atop the ladder.

The 19-year-old has kicked 13 goals in seven games for Footscray in the VFL.

"Obviously it's been tough scraping through the VFL and doing my best," Ugle-Hagan told Bulldogs teammates.

"It was a good opportunity to play for them because you get to learn new characters.

"All this talk about trade and stuff is all bulls**t because I'm not going anywhere."

A SEN report in June indicated Ugle-Hagan was growing disillusioned by not playing in the AFL and rival clubs believed they might be able to prise the young gun away from the Whitten Oval.

An academy prospect at the Bulldogs, Ugle-Hagan became the top pick in last year's draft after the club matched Adelaide's bid for him.

Ugle-Hagan was the first Indigenous No.1 draft pick since Des Headland in 1998.

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has constantly fielded questions about Ugle-Hagan and when the club's young gun will play.

Beveridge has been eager to protect Ugle-Hagan, who has been compared to Swans superstar Lance Franklin, from added scrutiny.

"That's my drive to protect our players and Jamarra, as a young Indigenous man who's been involved with our club for a while now," Beveridge said in May.

"I obviously got a little bit testy after the game because it is an ongoing commentary and I suppose I'm sensitive to continuing to talk about Marra."

Ugle-Hagan grew up idolising Franklin and will now get to play on the same field as the legendary forward, who is only 24 goals away from the magical 1000 mark.

He will be the Bulldogs' sixth debutant this year, joining Anthony Scott, Lachie McNeil, Jordon Sweet, Buku Khamis and Riley Garcia.

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