South Warrnambool export Jamarra Ugle-Hagan says he is now enjoying his football, following his breakout performance against Melbourne on Saturday night.
The 2020 AFL number one draft pick received the round 19 rising star nomination after he kicked five goals in the Western Bulldogs' 10-point win over the reigning premiers.
The 20-year-old's fifth goal was a Buddy Franklinesque shot from outside 50 that sealed the win for the Bulldogs in the dying seconds.
Speaking on the moment, Ugle-Hagan said he was "happy, surprised and shocked" to see his final goal sail through.
"It just came off nicely on the boot and (I) just turned around to the crowd and celebrated," he said.
Before Saturday Ugle-Hagan had failed to cement his spot in the side with limited opportunities at the top level. He had kicked 17 goals from 16 games, with several stints in the VFL.
The youngster spoke of his struggles with the expectation surrounding the number one draft pick tag.
"I found it hard a bit last year to enjoy and find the fun in football because I was expecting way too much from myself as a player," he said.
"It's just come out naturally now which is just my growth. Just doing the little things right and it's just coming out which is good.
"I walked in as the number one draft pick thinking I would just play straight away. But I came into a top-two team last year."
Ugle-Hagan said he had been working hard to stamp his arrival at AFL level.
"I was hoping it would come because I'm doing the work early (and) I'm doing the work during the week," he said.
"It has to come at some point and if not I've just got to keep working harder."
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