JAMARRA Ugle-Hagan has been looking back on his junior form as he finds more and more confidence at the top level with the Western Bulldogs.
The young Bulldogs forward, who turned 20 on Monday, had seven disposals and kicked the opening goal in the club's tight win over Sydney last week but his performance was made up of a number of other moments that saw him impact.
He was involved in a tough one-on-one collision with Swans midfielder Ollie Florent when the ball was up for grabs and later in the game hunted down some opponents with repeat efforts that influenced the contest.
The No.1 pick at the 2020 NAB AFL Draft trained extensively with Dogs skipper Marcus Bontempelli over his off-season after playing five games in his debut campaign last year and says with every game he is feeling more comfortable.
"Back when I was younger playing footy I felt like the big dog out on the field but I've got to keep bringing that back and enjoy my footy. The game will come back to me and it's been great to just compete, which is my main focus, and halve every contest at least or win them," Ugle-Hagan told AFL.com.au.
"I've done the work and worked pretty hard to be in the position I am now thanks to Marcus, but it's been great to get the reward because I've been trying to do everything right but I'm glad it's coming now a little bit."
Ugle-Hagan's athleticism and attack on the ball were key components of his game as a draftee and he said playing in the Bulldogs' forward line had given him easy access to a model of how to bring out those traits.
"I just watch Aaron Naughton do it and he doesn't hesitate, he just goes and marks that ball," Ugle-Hagan said. "It was a great experience to be out there and 1-2 sounds so much better than 0-3. It's great to be in the forward line and the energy is unbelievable."
Coach Luke Beveridge has been open in discussing the need to get games experience into Ugle-Hagan and was pleased with the young forward's development against the Swans.
"You look at his direct involvements and you say how did he go? He played a really important role for us. I thought the McCartin brothers were really good for Sydney – they intercepted and played critical roles on our key forwards but the great thing about 'Marra' and 'Naughts' was they just fought their backsides off for the team," Beveridge said after the game.
"They had their looks. We need to capitalise more on these set shots but it was encouraging [from Ugle-Hagan] and important for the future but important for the now that we get a really solid contribution from him. I thought he really gave that."