Thanks Thanks:  9
Likes Likes:  11
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Warragul
    Posts
    9,692
    Post Thanks / Like

    Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season

    Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season



    After a breakout season 2022, Jamarra Ugle-Hagan has taken his fitness to another level in his third pre-season.

    t took a few sessions, but Jamarra Ugle-Hagan has gotten used to the inquisitive looks that come his way inside the Upacut Boxing Gym in Keilor East. People realise it's him and stare, wondering what the southpaw was doing in a pair of gloves, covered in sweat, at a time when many are coming home from work. But he doesn't care.

    The emerging Western Bulldogs star has spent much of spring and summer searching for marginal gains to ensure he lands more punches this winter. It is that hunger for more that led him to spend more time with the club's boxing coach Jonny Sfyris. The Dogs train with Sfyris once a week, but Ugle-Hagan has been hunting for ways to build on a 2022 campaign that turned down the volume on his loudest critics.

    Ugle-Hagan went to work in the off-season and before Christmas, heading to Upacut after main training days and on Saturday mornings before a running set across the first half of pre-season. It meant big Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Training first thing in the morning, weights before lunch into a sauna in the afternoons, followed by a boxing class at night on the way home. Rinse and repeat.

    t is a small thing, but a window into the growing maturity and investment of one of the AFL's most talented young commodities. Ugle-Hagan has tweaked his program around pre-season camps and breaks, but his commitment hasn't changed. The former No.1 pick has put plenty of money in the bank this pre-season.

    Still just 20, Ugle-Hagan now knows sustained success won't arrive without doing the work. Rising from five games in his debut season to 17 in 2022 – including the breakout five-goal haul against Melbourne in round 19 – has not only fuelled his belief, but it has also fuelled his appetite to fight for more in 2023. More games. More goals. More progression.

    "I've actually tried to work a lot harder [this pre-season]. Last year, I did just the training sessions provided for us. I wanted to become better at running than everyone else or a bit fitter and come back better, so I started doing extra boxing, a lot more extra cross training and recovery has also been a main focus – ice baths, massages and everything. Strength is coming, and it's going to take time, but the fitness can go to another level, which it has,” Ugle-Hagan told AFL.com.au last week.

    "Boxing is a relief for me. It clears up my head a bit if I'm stressing about selection or where I am. I always know that I'm going to get the most out of boxing because if you put the most work into it, the harder the session is going to be. I just love boxing; I compare it to when boys go surfing – the feeling after that, you just feel unreal."

    Before Ugle-Hagan joined the Western Bulldogs two years ago, the 194cm mobile spearhead was a member of the club's Next Generation Academy. Not only did it mean the club had early access to him but it also meant he got a peek behind the AFL curtain earlier than others. He lived and breathed playing at the highest level while attending Scotch College. Those lessons have remained front of mind this pre-season.

    "When I first started coming to the Doggies when I was 15, I lived with 'Bont' (Marcus Bontempelli) and Josh Dunkley. They were always the first to get to the club, especially Bont. He was the last to leave as well. I watched him closely and he would always be doing all this touch and hands (work) before anyone got to the club. Blokes would be rolling in and he'd already done his work. He's already taped, he's ready. I still remember that," Ugle-Hagan said on the Western Bulldogs' pre-season camp in Portsea.

    "I still watch Bont carefully. But now I've got 'Naughty' (Aaron Naughton), who I work with closely and we're all pushing pretty hard, we want to get better. Aaron, me, Rory Lobb and Josh Bruce do touch (work) in the morning every single day. It is part of our routine."

    The Western Bulldogs enter 2023 firmly in premiership contention after a busy trade period, but under pressure to respond after a disappointing 2022. Aaron Naughton and Ugle-Hagan are a critical one-two punch in the long-term future of the club. Naughton is now five years and 100 games into his career, poised to go to another level after kicking 51 goals in 2022 and 47 in 2021.

    The pair grew tight on the road in 2021 and developed a partnership on-field last year that has escalated since the Dogs were beaten by Fremantle at Optus Stadium in an elimination final thriller. When it comes to the two former top-10 picks, football is only one part of a relationship that is closer to family than friends.

    "We always communicate through fishing. We have that connection. All his mates in WA are mates with me now. We relate a bit because we are country boys. Even in the off-season, I probably stayed at his house more times than I stayed at mine in Melbourne. He looks after me, I see him as an older brother. He wants what's best for me, and I can actually see it and feel it," he said.

    Ugle-Hagan has spent the pre-season at Skinner Reserve in Braybrook training alongside Naughton and Lobb. There is a belief the recruitment of the former Fremantle and Greater Western Sydney tall will not only add another imposing target inside 50, but provide added benefits to Naughton and Ugle-Hagan.

    "I think it is going to be a huge change to our club having another tall down there. His character is really good. I love him already; we catch up a fair bit. His partner and my partner were already friends beforehand, and me and him are getting closer and closer," he said.

    "He's helped me a lot with goalkicking, someone I'm going to look up to because he is more experienced and a more developed forward. When we do play practice matches, he makes it much easier. He tells you where to lead, which is great. They are both massive targets up there, so hopefully it does free me up a bit."

    The Bulldogs have been protective of Ugle-Hagan from the moment the boy from Framlingham – an indigenous community near Warrnambool in south-west Victoria – officially walked in the door as a skinny 18-year-old.

    Luke Beveridge has preached patience and realistic expectations for a player who has been forced to deal with American-style draft hype in a world that doesn't want to bide its time patiently. It hasn't been easy. And he hasn't always wanted to be there. But Ugle-Hagan believes copping early whacks in his career will benefit him in the long run.

    "I've had the support from everyone. In my first year, I did struggle a little bit. There were parts of me in the first few months where I just didn't enjoy it at all. I found it so hard even showing up to training. I felt like I was on my own, but I came to the realisation at the end of that year that you have to work harder, it isn't just going to fall into your lap," he said.

    "I felt like I was on the top of the world with going No.1, everything's happening, but you actually have to work harder because all these boys are five years in front of you, even 10 years in front of you. In the second year I trained harder, earned a lot more respect from everyone, I believe, and then in my third year I feel like I'm building again."

    Ugle-Hagan knows that he isn't out of the woods yet. He knows there will be more struggles ahead, maybe even more stints in the VFL.

    That is the life of a young key forward at the highest level. But the thing last season taught him was the only way to get where he wants to go is by doing the work. That's why you can expect to see him in a pair of boxing gloves in a nondescript gym in Melbourne's north-west.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    9,686
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season

    He gets it. Can’t wait to watch him over the next 10+ years.

  3. Likes HOSE B ROMERO liked this post
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Wherever the dogs are playing
    Posts
    62,113
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season

    Great to see JUH putting in the extra yards to take his fitness to another level. At 20 years old he still has a way to go to build his core strength, but at least we know he is putting in everything he can to be successful. Can't wait to see him out there on the ground.
    FFC: Established 1883

    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,822
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season

    I mean, could you write a better article to get you pumped about what that boy might do for us? Putting in the extra sessions, modelling some of his training on Bont, being close mates with Astro. Good grief. You love to hear it!

  6. Likes aker39, HOSE B ROMERO liked this post
  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    West of somewhere.
    Posts
    6,408
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season

    The part about touch work as part of his routine with the other tall forwards is so great.

    Players driving one another to be better, not wanting to let each other down (you can't no-show 'cos your mates need you there), holding one another accountable...

    Jamarrra or no Jamarra, there are some positive CLUB vibes in this article.
    What should I tell her? She's going to ask.

  8. Likes Grantysghost, Mofra, hujsh, josie, azabob liked this post
  9. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    5,732
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season

    Reading this today filled me with joy. Hoping he takes that next big step in career this year.

  10. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    The Kennel
    Posts
    16,247
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    The part about touch work as part of his routine with the other tall forwards is so great.

    Players driving one another to be better, not wanting to let each other down (you can't no-show 'cos your mates need you there), holding one another accountable...

    Jamarrra or no Jamarra, there are some positive CLUB vibes in this article.
    I had this feeling after a club function I can't name due to Jeemak's embargo.

    He was lean, he was talking about the extra sessions, he was conscious of his skin folds (even though he had 2 desserts), and speaks about Naughton and Bruce a lot.

    That was in November, so I'm not at all surprised with this article. Great news!

  11. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2023
    Posts
    381
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season

    Love how close he seems with Naughts and the other boys.

  12. Likes HOSE B ROMERO liked this post
  13. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    'scrazy
    Posts
    4,101
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season

    The whole way he moves with the ball in hand, his steps, the way he looks up field and the way he kicks reminds me a lot of Tony Lockett.
    Officially on the Bus-wagon

  14. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    north-west willy
    Posts
    1,979
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Keep punching: Extra work fuels Marra's big pre-season

    Stuff mid March... Let us loose this weekend!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •