Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. Picture: westernbulldogs.com.au

The pressure on first-round draft picks is growing more and more each year, but is it really fair to ask this much of them?

In current day footy, pressure from the media comes from a number of things, but ‘first-round draft pick’ and the money in a player’s contract are both major ones.

Earlier this month, we saw Richmond forward Tom Lynch criticised for his pay packet and for being average.

I’m sure all Tigers fans don’t give a stuff about what he’s being paid considering he’s been a vital part of now two premierships, and potentially a third this year.

After all, football is about premierships.

We move to the draft picks and the pressures that come with being a first-rounder.

No matter where you are, you’re dubbed as a centrepiece of the future of your football club.

We’ve seen it with Riley Thilthorpe – and the Adelaide Crows nailed his debut. Take him to Tasmania against a struggling side in Hawthorn, and let him excel.


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It’s better to do that than to have him the lights of Adelaide Oval against potentially a contender. What would’ve been said had he debuted in that drubbing against GWS? I shudder to think.

Melbourne did the exact opposite with a young Jack Watts – the weight of the world on his shoulders and debuted him in a Queen’s Birthday clash.

What happened? He was destroyed by a pack of Collingwood players who smelt blood.

From there, we never really saw the true potential of Watts and he eventually moved to Port Adelaide for a brief stint.

Fast forward more than a decade, and we’re doing the same thing with Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.

It was quite rightly pointed out this week that most number one picks go to a struggling club.

The Western Bulldogs are anything but that at the current point – so why are the questions flying in?

There’s no need for him to be rushed into the AFL side.

A comment prior to the Bulldogs’ clash with Richmond on Friday night from a certain Channel 7 journalist didn’t sit well with me.

Why should Ugle-Hagan be forced to jump off social media?

And further to that, how would that impress coach Luke Beveridge more than his football exploits?

Luke Hodge’s response to the comment was perfect: a shocked face and straight to his defence.

Let’s celebrate that talents as they come through and let them develop. Don’t over pressure them. It’s time to be better.

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