CHRIS Fagan says South Warrnambool export Hugh McCluggage has become "the most professional four-year player" he's coached in his 21-year elite career.
The fourth-year mentor, who has transformed Brisbane Lions from an AFL battler to premiership contender, said McCluggage had a bright future.
McCluggage has so far clocked 63 games in red, gold and blue and was named in the extended All Australian squad following a breakout season last year.
Fagan told The Standard there was no ceiling on the 22-year-old's potential.
Any club would love to have 47 Hugh McCluggages. Coaching would be a joy.Chris Fagan
"In a short space of time - I think he's into his fourth pre-season now - he's turned into one of the most professional players I can remember for a four-year player," he said.
"He's very internally driven, and he's grown his leadership skills and that's why he's in our leadership group.
"I think (joining the leadership group) was one of the phases of his development."
Fagan, a former general manager of football at Hawthorn, said McCluggage had rounded his game.
"I think he told me he is eight or nine kilos heavier now than he was when he first arrived at the club," he said.
"He's now able to play inside and outside the contest.
"He's really worked on the things he needs to work on, he just needs the opportunity to put them into practise on the field now.
"I think any club would love to have 47 Hugh McCluggages. Coaching would be a joy."
Football across the country has been shelved until at least May 31 as the government vies to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Fagan said 16 Lions were currently at their homes interstate.
He said Queensland's mandatory 14-day self isolation laws, which apply to any person entering the state, were being considered by club officials. But with no certainty around the league's resumption date, the Lions are keen to ensure players are back in the sunshine state sooner rather than later.
"I know just chatting to the guys who aren't in Brisbane at the moment, they're all starting to consider that now based on their own individual circumstances," Fagan said.
"It's probably better to do it sooner rather than later, it probably is a little easier if they were still up here because they could still train in pairs and do things like that.
"A couple of boys that have gone back to their home states are coping really well and got great training set-ups, and others are feeling a little bit disconnected, which is natural enough."
Fagan also flagged support for bigger benches and shorter quarters when the sport returns in 2020.
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