ALTHOUGH the under-18 season did not get to start officially in Victoria, it hasn't stopped Jamarra Ugle-Hagan from strengthening his claims as the possible No.1 NAB AFL Draft pick this year.
SMALLER POOL? FUTURE PICKS? How will COVID shake up the draft?
There is uncertainty about the format of this year's draft intake through the game's hiatus during the COVID-19 outbreak, but there is no doubt on Ugle-Hagan's abilities after he blitzed the recent NAB League testing day.
In results which could become more important as the season continues, particularly if a shortened campaign affects the place of the NAB AFL Draft Combine, the key forward was outstanding.
10-YEAR CHALLENGE A look back at one epic U18 AA team
The Western Bulldogs' Next Generation Academy prospect showed all of his athletic brilliance across the testing day.
Clubs have been banned from interviewing draft prospects for the next couple of weeks. They were planning to do interviews via Skype, Zoom etc but AFL has blocked that for now. More in @AFLcomau's rolling blog. https://t.co/Dy1py0P6bK— Callum Twomey (@CalTwomey) March 22, 2020
"He couldn’t been more impressive," said national talent ambassador Kevin Sheehan.
"He won the running vertical jump test overall with his 93cm leap in the elite category, but still a little short of West Coast Eagles star Nic Naitanui who is the record holder at national Combine level with a 102cm jump recorded back in 2008.
"But Ugle-Hagan was then the quickest player recorded over the five-metre sprint (0.997 seconds) as he ran his 20 metres in a sharp 2.945 seconds.
"That's outstanding for a young man who is 194.3cm. He then capped off his athletic profile with a 21.3 Yo-Yo test result – a strong indication of his speed and endurance combination which increases his potential on-field versatility."
For comparison, last year's No.1 pick, midfield gun Matt Rowell, completed the Yo-Yo at the same level 21.3 at the 2019 Combine.
Ugle-Hagan was used as a defender in stages during the Oakleigh Chargers' practice matches but is the leading key forward in this year's draft crop, having booted 24 goals in the NAB League last year from nine games.
The Dogs have first call on the Indigenous prospect, who hails from the Hampden region.
Other players were able to push their talents at the testing day, with Calder Cannons midfielder Jackson Cardillo taking out the 20-metre sprint, running it in 2.88 seconds.
Geelong Falcons pair Noah Gadsby, a wingman, and midfielder Charlie Lazzaro were also standouts, with Gadsby winning the Yo-Yo aerobic test (level 22.1) and Lazzaro taking out the agility test (7.79 seconds).
"Gadsby is a silver medallist at under-17s level in Victorian School Sports over 800 metres and he recorded the same impressive score in the Yo-Yo as another former Falcon, now NAB AFL Rising Star, Sam Walsh," Sheehan said.
"Lazzaro’s agility run is only .02 seconds outside Fremantle's Stephen Hill's record of 7.77 seconds set in 2008 and was a real eye-catcher. He is an impressive inside midfielder who averaged 20 disposals in eight matches for the Falcons last year."