INDIGENOUS great Nicky Winmar has praised Jamarra Ugle-Hagan's re-creation of his iconic stand against racism during the Western Bulldogs' win over Brisbane on Thursday night.
It is almost 30 years since Winmar lifted his jumper, pointed to his skin and said, "I'm black, and I'm proud to be black," after suffering a torrent of racial abuse from Collingwood supporters during St Kilda's win at Victoria Park on April 17, 1993.
Ugle-Hagan, 20, was racially abused by a St Kilda supporter during the Bulldogs' loss to the Saints at Marvel Stadium in round two and endured a difficult week before booting five goals in the Dogs' win over the Lions.
Ugle-Hagan said the celebration after his first goal – when he lifted his jumper and pointed to his skin, similar to Winmar's famous stance – happened by instinct.
"I knew it was coming up to 30 years since Nicky Winmar did that, but it just came in the moment. I didn't know I was going to kick a goal tonight, so the celebration just came with it," he told reporters alongside coach Luke Beveridge after the match.
"I felt pretty proud, going out there with all my mates who supported me in a tough week.
"To do that in front of everyone, hopefully it makes a stance and a moment, and hopefully people look back on it 30 years from now and say, 'From then, nothing's happened since'. Hopefully no one cops anything like I've been through."
Winmar released a statement on Friday morning, praising Ugle-Hagan's courage.
"I’m proud of Jamarra for standing up for himself. It’s up to the new generations to reinforce the stance I made back in 1993. I’m still here, still involved with the issue, but it’s been 30 years now, it’s like a big relay race, time to pass on the baton," Winmar said.
"I spoke to Luke Beveridge today, to thank him for supporting Jamarra, and other Indigenous players at the Western Bulldogs. It’s a great club, that I respect. I was welcomed and felt supported when I played for them in 1999.
"Things are getting better, with increased awareness, and kids are getting educated in schools now about racism in sport and in society, which is great. There’s still a few who can’t control their negative attitudes, all we can do is keep supporting each other, and keep calling it out.
"I also want to congratulate Jamarra for his outstanding on-field performance - five goals, keep up the good work!"
Ugle-Hagan kicked the last of his five goals after the final siren, and was mobbed by every teammate keen to support and celebrate with the young star.
He took Monday away from the club after the incident against St Kilda on Saturday night, but returning to the Kennel later in the week made things a little easier.
BULLDOGS v LIONS Full match coverage and stats
"I did get a bit emotional, especially when all the boys ran over to me. It was a special moment, not because I'd kicked five and the way I performed, but the week I've had and the boys have supported me – throughout the game and throughout the whole week they've supported me with messages, catching up during training and always ringing me and stuff," he said.
"That moment out there was probably a bit emotional because they love me. It's so easy to see, we're not just a football club, we're a big family.
"That's why I had Monday off, I knew if I came in Wednesday, I'd feel comfortable at our football club because we are a big family and everyone supports me, especially Bevo. I've got my older brothers and I've got my younger brothers like Arty Jones (who debuted on Thursday).
"It still makes me a bit emotional talking about it, it probably will for a long time. But I'm glad we've got so much support and everyone's looking out for me. I'm going to be better every day, but I just hope it doesn't happen to my younger brothers, or Arty, or even (Liam) 'Jonesy' or any of the boys.
"I did struggle behind doors. I was fortunate to have my partner, Liv, she supported me throughout the whole day and weekend. And then I've had contacts with my family and my teammates and stuff, saying they had my back. I had so much support from fans and everyone else. So that's what got me through.
"I knew we had such a great club, we're all connected, I felt comfortable going into work and going out and training. You forget what's happened, because you've had so much fun inside those doors.
"I did want to make a presence tonight to show that we can still win a game of football, I wasn't going to go away from that, I was still going to go out and play my best. Just keeping my own routine going, and I just got the lick of the ice-cream at the end."
Ugle-Hagan implored the wider football public to continue to play their role in calling out racist comments in the crowd.
"Back in the day, they would have had it a lot worse. But now, players are sick of it and they're making a stance and we're calling them out, we're pointing them out and we're sorting it out," he said.
"You can hear a thousand compliments, and then one bad comment, and you're going to remember that one bad comment rather than the thousand compliments.
"I just want someone to point them out, rather than me contact the club and have to say this happened. I'd rather someone in the stands to point them out and let them know it's not the right thing to say.
"That goes with any race, not just Aboriginals and Indigenous boys and girls, it's all races in the League. Making a stance and it only takes a little bit to make a comment and say it's not the best thing to say. Then they're going to say that to the next person, and it'll follow on and on."
Beveridge was "unbelievably proud" of how his young forward had responded.
"As I said in my press conference last week, I know how strong he is, he's only a young player, but as a young First Nations fella from down the district, down from Framlingham, he's made of some pretty stern stuff," he said.
"I think we all had no doubt he'd be himself tonight and would want to do the absolute best for his team and our club, but to see him play so well in such tough circumstances, was so uplifting. Everyone is so unbelievably proud of him.
"When you consider our connections and our love and respect for our Indigenous brothers and sisters, at some point in time in the future, we have to dance with them, rather than the prejudice creeping in now and then."