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  1. #1
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    Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

    AFL Draft 2020: How footy, family and his connection to Framlingham is driving Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

    Jamarra Ugle-Hagan has a deep connection to his home town of Framlingham. He opens up about what it means to him and why family is behind everything he does.

    spoke to projected no.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan about the Lance Franklin comparisons.

    Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge had clearly done his homework when he had his first serious discussion with footy’s next big thing Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.

    The coach called him ‘Marra’.

    It brought a smile to the face of the kid who has long been likened to a young Buddy Franklin, thanks to his lean 195cm frame, his speed, agility and his piercing left foot.

    ‘Marra’ has been the 18-year-old’s preferred nickname for as long as he can remember.

    His family calls him that.

    His mates from Scotch College, his one-time Oakleigh Chargers premiership teammates and his friends do the same.

    In time, he is happy for the wider football community to call him ‘Marra’ as he this week begins the exciting pathway to officially becoming an AFL footballer.



    Every AFL club wants the highly-rated key-forward who is also keen to spend time in the midfield; but only one club can lay claim to him.

    The articulate, driven young man has the certainty of knowing the Bulldogs will secure him as part of their Next Generation Academy, even if Adelaide choses him as the No.1 pick in Wednesday night’s national draft.

    That would mean the Dogs would match the bid to secure the kid they have worked closely with for a number of years.

    “When I first came into the (Bulldogs), Bevo called me ‘Marra’, which is my nickname,” Ugle-Hagan told the Sunday Herald Sun this week.

    “I told him he is welcome to call me Marra.

    “I really look up to him as a coach. I have talked to him a bit, I’ve been for a drive with him, and had dinner with him. He is a really good bloke.”

    Just as the AFL superstar he has often been compared to is known for his nickname ‘Buddy’ instead of his birth name Lance, Ugle-Hagan won’t be fazed if people settle on calling him Marra.

    “My nickname comes from my family,” he said. ”When my family calls me ‘Marra’, I know I am fine. When they called me Jamarra, it feels like I am in trouble.”

    To know what makes Jamarra Ugle-Hagan tick as a footballer, you have to find out what makes him tick as a person.

    The answer is found far from the hustle bustle of Melbourne. It comes in the serenity of his family’s home at Framlingham, a historic Aboriginal community, nestled on the banks of the Hopkins River, 25km north-east of Warrnambool.



    His name Jamarra means ‘man’ and derives from the Gunditjmara “mob”, his ancestors in south-west Victoria.

    So much of his story is entwined with his deep connection to his family, his Indigenous heritage and to his community at Framlingham.

    Even as he drove back home earlier this week, he got a little emotional as he saw his young brothers kicking a footy, just as he had done as a kid.

    “It’s unreal,” Ugle-Hagan said. “Even when I was driving up here, about five minutes out from getting here, I was like ‘I am finally home again’”.
    FRAMLINGHAM AND FAMILY

    Ugle-Hagan’s family connection at Framlingham goes back through the generations.

    His mother, Alice, has spent all but a few years of her life there.

    His father, Aaron, who is non-Indigenous, moved into the area as an 18-year-old. It has been his home almost ever since.

    “Mum has been here since day one, she had her mum and her nan here ... they have always been here, it goes a long way back,” Jamarra said.

    “Mum’s dad was born in WA and her mum was born here.

    “Dad was born in Australia, but his background is Irish. He’s not Indigenous, but he loves it here as well. His mum lives just up the road too.”

    Ugle-Hagan is the second-eldest of six children.

    His sister, Merinda (19), is the eldest. Then five boys followed - Jamarra, Kaawirn (15), Bungarie (9), Narrah (7) and Wirann (6) - which he says is “enough for our own basketball team.”



    “It was an unreal place to grow up,” he said.

    “There was always so much to do ... we’d go swimming in the river, play on the basketball courts and I did a fair bit of Indigenous dancing as a kid.”

    He once performed in front of a Richmond Football Club group including Shane Edwards, one of the AFL’s best Indigenous players, and coach Damien Hardwick.

    “That was crazy,” he said. ”I didn’t even know who they were back then, but I know who they are now.”

    Aaron said of a young Jamarra: “He just loved being free, he would go eelling and fishing down the river, and dancing with his uncles.”

    “He did a lot of cultural stuff.”

    Jamarra sees it as his responsibility to teach his younger brothers what he learnt as a kid growing up, and to act as a role model for them for the future.
    YOUNG JAMARRA

    Footy almost runs through Ugle-Hagan‘s veins.

    Asked where his talent comes from, his father insisted: “That comes from his mother’s side.”

    On his maternal side are the Ugles and the Kicketts, with his mum’s father having come from a family that produced a swag of leading footballers.

    “We’ve got a big mob over there (in WA) with the Ugles and the Kicketts,” Alice said.

    “There has always been a big footy connection.”

    She recalled Jamarra showed early natural ability: “As soon as he could walk, as soon as he touched a ball, he loved it...being a left-footer, we all knew he was going to be something special.”

    Jamarra’s early footy memories are of visiting his nan’s house - only a few torpedos away - and seeing a photo of his uncle ‘Possum’ Clark taking a screamer.

    ‘Possum’ played in the Teal Cup under-age competition and played a few games for Essendon reserves before having a strong local career.

    “Nan had that photo in her house and ‘Possum’ was sitting on someone’s head taking a speckie and I thought ’I want to do that when I am older’,” he said.

    He learnt a lot from his uncle about the game.



    His father played footy locally, and Jamarra even played a game with him at East Warrnambool in 2019.

    “It was unreal,” Jamarra said. ”We didn’t even get a photo at the game because he ended up breaking his rib, even though he played out the game.”

    Aaron joked: “I'm a backman and Jamarra is a forward, so we didn’t see too much of each other that day.”

    Jamarra considered a basketball pathway, but his decision to choose football in Year 9 came down to geography.

    Footy offered a camp to Fiji; the basketball equivalent with the Australian under 17’s would have taken him to the Gold Coast.

    “I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s go to Fiji’,” he said.
    LEAVING HOME

    Jamarra was offered a scholarship to attend Scotch College in Melbourne from Year 9.

    Alice confessed she cried all the way from Framlingham to Melbourne and the tears barely subsided on the way back.

    Aaron thought there was a chance Jamarra would change his mind right up until they drove off on the long road to Melbourne.

    “I got a bit emotional beforehand,” Jamarra said. “They (his parents) made me aware that it was what I wanted that mattered.”

    “My Dad spoke to me ... and said ‘You are only three hours and one phone call away.’”

    “I had some Indigenous boys there as well and we all developed great friendships. It just felt like you were on a camp with your brothers.”

    One of those he connected with was Maurice Rioli Jr., who is set to join Richmond at the draft.

    Jamarra was just as driven with his studies as he was with his footy with Scotch College and Oakleigh Chargers.

    He wanted to set an example for his siblings.

    “Most of the cousins I grew up with never had the chance to finish year 12,” he said.

    “I was going to be the first male member of my family to finish VCE, so I set myself that goal.”

    His AFL career will officially start next Wednesday, but his family will be just as proud when his VCE results come back on December 30.

    ‘DOING IT FOR NAN’

    Jamarra played a big role as a bottom-age player in the Oakleigh Chargers’ 2019 premiership side, alongside Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, who made an immediate impact in their AFL careers with Gold Coast this year.

    He was being touted as a likely 2020 No.1 draft pick as far back as last year.

    But the pandemic meant he didn’t play a game this year.

    In fact he hasn’t played an official game since being a part of an AFL under 17s squad that played a curtain-raiser to the AFL Grand Final in 2019.

    This year he returned home to Framlingham during both Victorian lockdowns - and he got to work.

    “I was just thinking to myself: ‘The other boys (looking to be drafted) won’t be training at this time’, so I pushed harder and focussed on the things I needed to.”

    “We have a gym here, and Dad and I would go there every morning or sometimes twice a day.”

    “I don’t know how many kilometres it is around our (Framlingham) block, but it’s probably about 11 (kilometres). I would run that and get my little brother to ride his bike in front or behind me. We have a hill here and I would use that too. Then if it was a good day, I’d have a swim in the river.”

    He went from 83 to 92 kilos.

    Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge had clearly done his homework when he had his first serious discussion with footy’s next big thing Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.

    The coach called him ‘Marra’.

    It brought a smile to the face of the kid who has long been likened to a young Buddy Franklin, thanks to his lean 195cm frame, his speed, agility and his piercing left foot.

    ‘Marra’ has been the 18-year-old’s preferred nickname for as long as he can remember.

    His family calls him that.

    His mates from Scotch College, his one-time Oakleigh Chargers premiership teammates and his friends do the same.

    In time, he is happy for the wider football community to call him ‘Marra’ as he this week begins the exciting pathway to officially becoming an AFL footballer.

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    Jamarra Ugle-Hagan at the family home on the Framingham Aboriginal Reserve outside of Warrnambool. Picture: Michael Klein
    Jamarra Ugle-Hagan at the family home on the Framingham Aboriginal Reserve outside of Warrnambool. Picture: Michael Klein

    Every AFL club wants the highly-rated key-forward who is also keen to spend time in the midfield; but only one club can lay claim to him.

    The articulate, driven young man has the certainty of knowing the Bulldogs will secure him as part of their Next Generation Academy, even if Adelaide choses him as the No.1 pick in Wednesday night’s national draft.

    That would mean the Dogs would match the bid to secure the kid they have worked closely with for a number of years.

    “When I first came into the (Bulldogs), Bevo called me ‘Marra’, which is my nickname,” Ugle-Hagan told the Sunday Herald Sun this week.

    “I told him he is welcome to call me Marra.

    “I really look up to him as a coach. I have talked to him a bit, I’ve been for a drive with him, and had dinner with him. He is a really good bloke.”

    Just as the AFL superstar he has often been compared to is known for his nickname ‘Buddy’ instead of his birth name Lance, Ugle-Hagan won’t be fazed if people settle on calling him Marra.

    “My nickname comes from my family,” he said. ”When my family calls me ‘Marra’, I know I am fine. When they called me Jamarra, it feels like I am in trouble.”

    To know what makes Jamarra Ugle-Hagan tick as a footballer, you have to find out what makes him tick as a person.

    The answer is found far from the hustle bustle of Melbourne. It comes in the serenity of his family’s home at Framlingham, a historic Aboriginal community, nestled on the banks of the Hopkins River, 25km north-east of Warrnambool.

    His name Jamarra means ‘man’ and derives from the Gunditjmara “mob”, his ancestors in south-west Victoria.

    So much of his story is entwined with his deep connection to his family, his Indigenous heritage and to his community at Framlingham.

    Even as he drove back home earlier this week, he got a little emotional as he saw his young brothers kicking a footy, just as he had done as a kid.

    “It’s unreal,” Ugle-Hagan said. “Even when I was driving up here, about five minutes out from getting here, I was like ‘I am finally home again’”.
    FRAMLINGHAM AND FAMILY

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Re: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

    There's a great sense of excitement about this kid. I hope he has a full and long career at the Dogs and when others come calling he becomes a legend in the Chris Grant sense and sticks with the club. Because if he lives up to his potential those clubs with the dreamtime game may try and entice him.
    There are plenty of talented people in the world. As you already know, talent is not enough. Some of the athletes with the most potential never pan out. What separates the good from the great is determination and work ethic.

  3. #3
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    Re: Jamarra Ugle-Hagan

    "His name Jamarra means ‘man’ ".
    He sounds too good to be true.
    He is 'the man'.

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