abc– Forward Jamarra Ugle-Hagan has been selected by the Western Bulldogs with pick one in the AFL Draft.
The Adelaide Crows had the first official pick in the draft, but the Bulldogs used draft points to match the Crows’ bid to take the 18-year-old from the team’s Next Generation Academy.
Ugle-Hagan was the favourite to be selected first, an athletic left-footer who kicked 24 goals for the Oakleigh Chargers’ under-19 competition premiership-winning side last year.
With his selection, Ugle-Hagan — from the Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve near Warrnambool in Victoria — became the first Indigenous player since Des Headland in 1998 to be taken first in the AFL Draft.
Ugle-Hagan has been described by some as “Buddy 2.0”, his play leading to comparisons with Hawthorn and Sydney great Lance Franklin.
The Crows followed up, using pick two to take a local in forward/ruck Riley Thilthorpe.
The 201cm-tall Thilthorpe played nine games for West Adelaide in the SANFL in 2020, kicking a total of five goals and averaging four marks, three tackles and 10 hitouts a game.
North Melbourne provided the first surprise selection with pick three, taking another Oakleigh Chargers player in midfielder Will Phillips.
Phillips had starred in the Oakleigh midfield alongside Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, who were taken as picks one and two in last year’s draft by the Gold Coast Suns.
The Kangaroos’ decision allowed pick one prospect Logan McDonald to be selected by the Sydney Swans at pick four.
The Western Australian forward came second in the WAFL goalscoring lists, and made the WAFL team of the year.
Sydney then had to use draft points to match Hawthorn’s bid for Pennant Hills midfield-forward Braeden Campbell, who they took at pick five.
Campbell, a Sydney Academy player, is a left-footer with speed who ran 2.90 seconds for the 20-metre sprint at the AFL combine.
The Hawks then moved to select the top-rated key defender in the draft, Denver Grainger-Barras, with pick six.
Grainger-Barras had made headlines in defence for Swan Districts in the WAFL, and his speed and intercept marking ability had seen him viewed as a top-four chance.
Gold Coast Suns took Elijah Hollands at pick seven — the Murray Bushrangers forward/midfielder is the son of former Richmond player Ben Hollands.
He was tipped to go higher in the draft after a big 2019 but tore his ACL at training earlier this year.
The top 10 was rounded out with three picks for Essendon, whose draft hand had been boosted by compensation for departing forward Joe Daniher.
Pick eight was Northern Knights utility Nik Cox, while pick nine was Sandringham star forward/midfielder Archie Perkins — who had revealed earlier in the day that he had told interstate clubs he wanted to stay in Victoria.
The last selection added a player at the other end of the park for the Bombers, with 202cm tall defender Zach Reid from the Gippsland Power.
This year’s draft has been seen as a difficult one for clubs to evaluate talent, since a large number of the young prospects have not played football this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The draft was held as a virtual event based in the AFL’s review centre in Docklands, with representatives from all 18 clubs staying at their headquarters in different states.