Ugle-Hagan unfazed by Buddy comparisons


Jamarra Ugle-Hagan appears destined to be the No.1 pick in next week’s AFL national draft with the Western Bulldogs academy prospect not shying away from the Lance Franklin comparisons that have made him the talk of the town.

On Wednesday morning, Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks all but confirmed the Crows will bid on Ugle-Hagan with their prized top pick – but as the Bulldogs can match any bid, the key forward appears certain to land at Whitten Oval.

Ugle-Hagan has never met Franklin – and smiled at the thought of the Sydney superstar even knowing who he was – but admitted ‘Buddy’ is a player he’d like to emulate.

“Everyone has that person you want to become, or even do better (than),” Ugle-Hagan told reporters on Wednesday.

“But it’s just setting yourself a high goal to obviously do what’s best for me. I’d like to think that I can get there.

“… (Comparisons to Franklin are) just words at the end of the day – I’ve got to show my X-factor on the field and off the field but they’re just words.

“I just use it as a drive and obviously, hopefully (I can) get there one day. It’s good to have other people believing that I can.”

The Bulldogs look destined to match a bid for Ugle-Hagan – it only remains to be seen how many points they’ll need to do so.

On Tuesday, the Dogs traded draft picks with Greater Western Sydney, sending pick 26 to the Giants in exchange for picks 29 and 52.

It gave them more points with which to match an Adelaide bid at pick one – something Nicks flagged on Wednesday.

“We’ll pick the best player we believe that’s in the draft,” Nicks told SEN.

“If that’s Ugle-Hagan – because he is a super-talented footballer – then that’s where I guess a bid will come on him because we believe he should be No.1 in the draft.

“We’re not going to go out of our way to pick a young kid who’s not that and risk not getting the best player in the draft.”

Pressed further on the prospect of an Adelaide bid for Ugle-Hagan, Nicks said: “I don’t want to give too much away, but he’s extremely good.”

The Crows’ top selection will slide to No.2 overall if, or when, the Bulldogs match their Ugle-Hagan bid.

Adelaide could then opt for athletic South Australian ruck-forward Riley Thilthorpe if they choose to draft locally.

Vic Country midfielder Elijah Hollands and West Australian tall forward Logan McDonald are also considered likely top-five picks.





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Belarusian opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya unfazed by Russian arrest warrant


Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the Belarusian opposition figurehead who is currently in exile, has told Euronews she is not frightened about being placed on Russia’s wanted list.

Russia put out an arrest warrant for the 38-year-old who challenged Alexander Lukashenko in the disputed presidential election in Belarus in August.

She has been accused by Russia of encouraging harm to public security in Belarus, and risks being arrested and deported back to her home country if she enters Russia.

Asked if she was frightened about being placed on Russia’s wanted list, she simply replied: “No.”

For Tsikhanouskaya, the focus should remain on Belarus.

“We have to pay attention to Belarus, not Russia. It’s our responsibility to solve this political crisis in Belarus. It’s a pity some countries, some leaders don’t support the rights of Belarusians to solve the future of the country themselves,” she told Euronews.

“We are striving for victory and only after victory I can go home,” she added.

Tikhanovskaya fled Belarus for Lithuania after threats from Lukashenko’s regime in the days following the election, which she claims to have won.

Lukashenko’s re-election triggered an unprecedented wave of protests, with daily demonstrations taking place on the streets for the past two months, despite violent crackdowns from Belarusian police and security services.

Almost all opposition figures have either been arrested or fled into exile following outcry at what many western observers said was a fixed election.



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Noah Lolesio unfazed by step up to Wallabies after grand final glory


There will be no Mad Monday for Lolesio and his Brumbies teammates, who will catch a bus to Terrigal on Monday to link up with the Wallabies squad as preparations begin for the first Test against the All Blacks on October 11 in Wellington.

James O’Connor and Matt Toomua, two of the more experienced figures in the extended 44-man squad, had been in a two-horse race to wear the Wallabies No.10 jersey. That was until Lolesio’s eye-catching effort, which has some convinced he’s ready to make it at the next level.

Lolesio receives his man of the match award.

Lolesio receives his man of the match award. Credit:Getty

A debut against All Blacks in New Zealand remains unlikely, yet Lolesio exudes confidence and appears undaunted by any assignment thrown his way.

“I’m letting my play do the talking and the rest will look after itself,” Lolesio said. “To be honest I don’t think about age when I’m on the field. Off the field I’m probably a bit younger … but on the field you just want a five-eighth that knows his role and leads the boys around.

“I’m expecting it to be like the first day of school – rocking up and meeting everyone and seeing some familiar faces with the [under] 20s boys coming in.”

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Brumbies coach Dan McKellar isn’t the only one singing Lolesio’s praises and believes the young playmaker has earned a Wallabies jersey.

“If you surround him with experience, he’s got a good platform, a good forward pack – which they’ll have at the Wallabies – scrum, lineoout and maul and he can play on the front foot, then he’s very dangerous,” McKellar said. “He’s certainly good enough. Age goes out the window there and he’s proven it over the course of the year that he deserves a chance.”

James Slipper, the Wallabies 96-Test veteran, added: “If you’re good enough, age is irrelevant. I’ve played against a lot of good No.10s but Noah has got capabilities of being good as well. You’ve just got to work hard as a player, stay humble and be hungry.”

Ten months after being appointed Wallabies coach, Dave Rennie is finally set to begin work with his players. There are a few under an injury cloud – Jordan Petaia, Matt Toomua, Dane Haylett-Petty are the main ones – that will need to be assessed and monitored. The squad is likely to fly to New Zealand on Friday or Saturday before spending two weeks in quarantine in Christchurch.

The first three days will be in strict hotel quarantine before the group can train normally in a bubble.

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Fagan unfazed by tag on AFL star Neale


The questions came when Harris Andrews went down injured, and they reappeared when Lachie Neale was kept quiet under a hard tag.

But Brisbane coach Chris Fagan is still at pains to point out his AFL premiership contenders aren’t a one-man band.

Neale switched from chief ball-winner to a more sacrificial role under close attention from Sydney midfielder Ryan Clarke in Cairns on Sunday night.

The Brownlow Medal favourite finished with a personal season-low 15 possessions as the Lions kicked six of the last seven goals in a late flurry to win by 32 points.

It came just days after Fagan shone the light on perceived unfair treatment that Neale gets from opponents.

Jarryd Lyons, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, Hugh McCluggage and Dayne Zorko all helped the Lions overrun Sydney in the final quarter.

“We’re certainly not a midfield that’s reliant on just Lachie to play well,” Fagan said.

“We love it when he plays well, but we’ve shown all year that at times when he gets stopped, which is not very often, we’ve got other guys that can step up to the mark.”

Fagan said the previous week Neale had finished the win over Gold Coast with “lots of bruises and scratches on his body”.

But the coach had no major qualms with the constant physical treatment from Clarke or his Sydney teammates.

“I thought that was probably the case last week but I thought tonight there was nothing done that wasn’t within the rules,” Fagan said.

“They gave him some attention and bumped him a lot, but it was fair and square.”

Brisbane’s 11.7 (73) to 6.5 (41) win saw them lock up a top-two spot ahead of a meeting with Carlton in round 18.

The ladder position guarantees the Lions two home finals at the Gabba, which will also host the grand final on October 24.





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