WESTERN Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge says he feels the need to protect Jamarra Ugle-Hagan as pressure continues to build for the No.1 draft pick to make his AFL debut.
Ugle-Hagan will again play in the VFL with Footscray this weekend, with the Bulldogs attempting to bounce back from their first loss of the AFL season when they clash with Carlton on Sunday.
The talented key forward, who has been compared to Lance Franklin, has been the focus of many headlines since his arrival at Whitten Oval.
Beveridge became frustrated after last Friday night's loss against Richmond, claiming he keeps being asked about Ugle-Hagan's prospects.
The 2016 premiership coach insists the 19-year-old will only make his AFL debut when the club's decision-makers feel he is truly ready.
"That's my drive to protect our players and Jamarra, as a young Indigenous man who's been involved with our club for a while now," Beveridge said.
"I obviously got a little bit testy after the game because it is an ongoing commentary and I suppose I'm sensitive to continuing to talk about 'Marra' and his journey because it doesn't help him.
"Even our relationship, he doesn't want me talking publicly about him and I don't really want to do it.
"I get that that's what we do, we talk about our players and answer questions about them.
"I think people understand, that from my point of view, it gets a bit tiresome when you're repeating yourself.
"My main focus is to look after him and the theme with my words around 'Marra' is he's just not quite ready yet.
"We want to set him up to succeed and he understands the challenges that are going to present themselves at the next revel.
"We're really looking forward to getting him into the team at the point where it's right."
Beveridge denied a report on Wednesday that Ugle-Hagan had expressed his frustration with key people at the Bulldogs.
"He's got a strong desire to play, to make his debut and so I think naturally he'd be disappointed at times he's not playing," Beveridge said.
"But he understands for the reasons and the way we're nurturing him and integrity of selection."
Emerging ruck-forward Tim English is no certainty to return against the Blues after missing the clash with the Tigers due to concussion.
But defender Buku Khamis, a refugee from South Sudan who spent time in a refugee camp in Kenya, will debut.
Only taking up Australian Football in his last year of primary school, Khamis has made a serious impression at VFL level this year.
Beveridge gave an emotional speech to the playing group when announcing Khamis would play against Carlton.
"I remember a couple of years ago when you became an Australian citizen and we gave you everything Aussie from the surf shop - mate, you were a million-to-one to play your first game back then," Beveridge told Khamis.