Jamarra Ugle-Hagan lights up AFL with powerful response to 'disgusting' abuse

The 20-year-old recreated Nicky Winmar's iconic gesture in the Western Bulldogs' win over Brisbane.

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, pictured here pointing to his skin to recreate Nicky Winmar's iconic gesture.
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan pointed to his skin to recreate Nicky Winmar's iconic gesture. Image: Getty

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan has recreated Nicky Winmar's iconic response to racial abuse, lifting up his jumper and pointing to his skin after kicking a goal for the Western Bulldogs against Brisbane on Thursday night. Ugle-Hagan was targeted by a racial slur from a spectator during the Bulldogs' clash with St Kilda last week, an act described as 'abhorrent' and 'disgusting' around the AFL world.

But the 20-year-old Indigenous star had the perfect response on Thursday night as he channeled Winmar after kicking the first of his five goals in the Bulldogs' 10.7 (67) to 7.11 (53) triumph at Marvel Stadium. It came almost 30 years to the day since Winmar's celebrated stance at Victoria Park in April of 1993.

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"I felt pretty proud going out there with all my mates that supported me throughout a tough week," Ugle-Hagan told reporters after the game. "Then to do that in front of everyone, hopefully it makes a stance and a moment and hopefully people look back on it 30 years from now and say nothing's happened since. Hopefully, no one cops anything that I've been through."

He added: "Back in the day they would've had it a lot worse but now players are getting sick of it and they're making a stance. We're calling them out and we're sorting it out, and everyone's getting behind our back nowadays."

Earlier in the week, Ugle-Hagan's mother Alice Ugle detailed the verbal abuse her son copped from the crowd last Saturday. "Those comments definitely hurt you as an individual," Ugle-Hagan said.

"You can hear a thousand compliments and then one bad comment you're going to remember. But we're making a stance and making an impact and hopefully we change and educate people who have no idea that racism's not allowed and shouldn't be a thing."

The AFL is investigating the abuse from the second round match and St Kilda have said the culprits will no longer be welcome at their games. The Bulldogs, Saints and AFL have all condemned the "harmful and abhorrent racist remarks" made against Ugle-Hagan.

On Thursday night, the young star urged fans to call out racist behaviour to help stamp it out. "I just want to see someone point them out instead of me having to contact the club and saying this happened," Ugle-Hagan said.

"I'd rather someone in the (crowd) point it out and tell them, let them know that it's not the right thing to say. That goes with any race, not just with Aboriginals and Indigenous boys and girls."

Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, pictured here leading the Bulldogs off the field after their win over Brisbane.
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan leads the Bulldogs off the field after their win over Brisbane. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

AFL world reacts to powerful Jamarra Ugle-Hagan moment

Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge, who formally played with Winmar at St Kilda, said he was "incredibly proud" of Ugle-Hagan and called it a "special night" for the third-year forward. "He made a statement with that gesture but also he made a significant statement with his performance," Beveridge said. "It's a reminder of the influence that Indigenous Australians have had on Aussie Rules football and the significance of how they've driven love and passion for the game."

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said he didn't realise Ugle-Hagan had performed the anti-racism gesture until he was told about it post-match. He said he admired the player's stance.

"I think it was a good thing to do," Fagan said. "I didn't realise he did it, but good on him."

Ugle-Hagan equalled his career-best haul of five goals to steer the Bulldogs to the 14-point victory. The win was the first of the season for the Bulldogs following a horror opening fortnight that had brought intense scrutiny on coach Beveridge.

with AAP

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