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.