Jamarra Ugle-Hagan has shown exactly why he was the first player picked in last year’s national draft, kicking three goals in his second match as the Western Bulldogs got back on the winners’ list.
After a somewhat quiet debut last week against Sydney, Ugle-Hagan got started early, kicking a goal in each of the first three quarters as the Bulldogs ran out 14. 6. (90) to 11. 13. (79) winners over the Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium.
Ugle-Hagan’s quiet first match coupled with the return of star forward Aaron Naughton from a concussion meant that there were doubts over whether the 19-year-old would get a second game this week, but coach Luke Beveridge‘s faith in the youngster was ultimately vindicated.
Following his starring effort, Ugle-Hagan admitted that his first goal in the opening term “woke [him] up”.
“I was like, ‘Wow, I just kicked a goal in the AFL’, but it was unreal,” he told Fox Footy. “I will remember that forever. [I still pinch myself] a little bit.”
“It’s only my second game, but I still get nervous and it doesn’t feel real at the start. Even rooming with the boys, it’s just unbelievable. It still doesn’t feel real.”
Ugle-Hagan paid tribute to his coach for continuing to have faith in him and touched on the message the two shared after his quiet debut last week.
“He obviously wants me to play my game and go out and have fun,” he said.
“Last week was a learning point and he believed in me, which I am grateful for to come out and play like this.”
Along with Ugle-Hagan’s starring role, the Bulldogs will also be buoyed by the successful return from injury for Josh Dunkley, who finished with 21 possessions and six tackles.
The win puts the Bulldogs back on top of the ladder pending the result of Melbourne’s clash against Hawthorn later on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs are currently scheduled to face Adelaide at Mars Stadium in Ballarat next weekend, while the Suns are scheduled to face Melbourne at TIO Stadium in Darwin, although both matches could be altered by COVID-19 outbreaks around Australia.