After taking out the top spot in the 2020 AFL Draft, 18-year-old Jamarra Ugle Hagan says he hopes to use his position as a professional footballer to inspire other Indigenous kids to chase their dreams.
Speaking to NITV News on Thursday, the young Gunditjmara man who grew up on the small Aboriginal reserve of Framlingham in south-west Victoria, said he hoped more Indigenous kids can achieve the same opportunities as himself.
“I’ve got another dream to make younger Indigenous kids and multicultural kids get the opportunity that I had, which is a scholarship to Scotch and getting them the opportunity,” said Ugle Hagan.
“That’s my main goal now, obviously I’ve got AFL in my hands and I’ve made it here now.
“It’s just having hope and obviously, looking up to me...I hope little kids still look up to me and I just want to make achievements happen and all that stuff.”
Being taken at number one in this year's drafts makes him the second Aboriginal person to do so, with Des Hedland being the only other player to do so in the 1998 AFL draft.
Ugle-Hagan said he spent a lot of time as a kid kicking the football around with his cousins and family.
“We had a footy in our hand a fair bit, actually, down in Fram because we had our cousins who we would go kick with or we would go kick with the uncle, so we’re always doing something down there,” he said.
As he developed into his teenage years, playing football in the middle and backlines were his normal position, but he soon found himself up forward where he is most noticeable.
Leading up to the draft, he was the favourite to be selected at number one, as an athletic left-footer who kicked 24 goals for the Oakleigh Chargers' under-19 competition premiership-winning side last year.
Due to his freakish scoring abilities in the forward line, Ugle-Hagan has been described by many as the next Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin, a name he hopes he can live up to.
“At the end of the day they’re just words...it’s the media, the press, they’re all saying that stuff and at the end of the day it’s their job to get paid for it.”
But, I love it because I feed off that stuff, it just shows where people believe I can be a good player so I’d love to see that happen and I want to get there now because it would be a great achievement.”
Ugle-Hagan says the next goal for him is to step on the field and play round 1 next year.