Western Bulldogs defender Alex Keath is impressed by Jamarra Ugle-Hagan's talent but says the No.1 draft pick still has some work to do if he is going to be selected to make his AFL debut in round one.
The Bulldogs meet Collingwood in a Friday night blockbuster on March 19, with boom recruit Adam Treloar set to face his former club for the first time.
The fixture pits two of last year's finals sides against each other and the Dogs' unveiling of Ugle-Hagan under lights at the MCG would only add to the hype.
But the 18-year-old faces a tough task to break into a forward line already featuring key talls Aaron Naughton and Josh Bruce, with Josh Schache also in the mix.
A resting ruckman may have to squeeze in if coach Luke Beveridge opts to pair experienced recruit Stefan Martin with incumbent Tim English.
"All the talent is there, so (Ugle-Hagan's inclusion) will be up to the selectors, but he'll have to put his best foot forward," Keath said on Wednesday.
"If he gets into the side then a young, exciting prospect is always good for the group."
Keath and Ugle-Hagan have engaged in one-on-one contest work during pre-season, with the athletic youngster testing his strength against the battle-hardened backman.
The Bulldogs' latest measurements have Ugle-Hagan listed at 197cm and a tick over 91kg.
"He's got a young body but I think he's pretty strong for his weight, if that makes sense," Keath said.
"He's obviously a very powerful player and you see his aerial stuff and his ability to get off the ground is pretty special.
"He's pretty quick and I think that (strength) will come with time and a couple of pre-seasons."
Schache managed just two games last season in his third year with the Bulldogs since his move from Brisbane.
The 23-year-old suffered an ankle ligament injury during match simulation at training last month but was cleared of major damage and is on track to return for the pre-season fixture against Melbourne on March 8.
"He might roll into a bit of match sim later this week," Keath said.
"He was training really well before he had his injury a couple of weeks ago now.
"He's a real professional and he's working hard, so it will be good to see him back out there."