POTENTIAL AFL number one draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan is taking the hype in his stride as he strives "to be the best".
The 196-centimetre forward, likened to Sydney champion Lance 'Buddy' Franklin, is a Western Bulldogs' Next Generation Academy product, giving that club first dibs on him.
"I want to be the best, that is why I am training," he told The Warrnambool Standard.
"I have these mindsets - I'd usually say to myself 'Buddy Franklin is setting a mark for me to beat'.
"He is a great player and hopefully I get my chance."
Ugle-Hagan's last football match was on AFL grand final day last year when he played for and All-Stars junior team in a curtain-raiser to the Richmond-GWS Giants decider.
His performance that day and as a bottom-age NAB League footballer for Oakleigh Chargers helped put his name in number one draft pick discussions.
COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in Victoria cost the Framlingham-raised Ugle-Hagan, who has links to East Warrnambool and South Warrnambool football clubs, a chance to build on his form in his draft year.
Ugle-Hagan, who boards at Melbourne's Scotch College, said it was a relief to know he'd done enough in 2019 to attract AFL attention.
"It was a good thing to have going into this year, especially with COVID," he said.
"And especially to still hold it (the number one mantle) while there's games going on in the other states.
"It was pretty hard to get there and I am still not satisfied and I am still wanting more."
Ugle-Hagan said he was diligent in his preparation and was "working on my pros and cons".
"Mainly opposite leg and hand," he said.
"Whoever works hardest is going to get the reward at the end of the day."
Ugle-Hagan, the second oldest of six siblings, moved to Melbourne in year nine.
He returned to his family's Framlingham property, in the state's south-west, this week after the city was plunged into stage four coronavirus restrictions and students were told they would do remote learning.
"In this case I am just focusing on the last three months of school and hopefully there's a big (footy) career at the end of it," Ugle-Hagan said.
"Plan B (if footy doesn't work out) is working on being a mentor to young Indigenous boys to help them get the opportunity I had."
The 196-centimetre forward said his family had supported him throughout his football journey.
"They always call me, especially when there's an article out, they'd give me a call and see how I am going," he said.
"I wouldn't be in my situation without my family and friends helping me get there."