Following an outstanding season for the North Ballarat Rebels, Hugh McCluggage is now a Brisbane Lion after being selected with pick 3 in Friday’s AFL national draft.
There was debate surrounding how the top three selections would pan out right up until when the Bombers read out Sandringham Dragons’ Andrew McGrath’s name at pick 1 which was followed by his teammate Tim Taranto, who headed to Greater Western Sydney, which made McCluggage the clear choice for the Lions.
The Warrnambool boy won’t be alone when he makes the trip North, with teammates Jarrod Berry (pick 17) and Cedric Cox (pick 24) also being selected by Brisbane.
"I'm absolutely stoked to head up there and I can't wait to start my AFL career,” McCluggage told SEN.
"I actually roomed with Andy (Andrew McGrath), so we had plenty of time to think about it. There'a a little bit of extra speculation and media coverage between us two.
"I'm stoked to go up there with Bez (Jarrod Berry), With (Falcons Alex Witherden) and Coxy (Cedric Cox), they're all good blokes and I'm very keen to get up there with them."
Brisbane Lions recruiting manager Stephen Conole said he was rapt to see McCluggage slip to pick 3 and felt the damaging onballer would complement the Lions’ midfield very well.
Conole added that the fact McCluggage had endured a limited preseason made his immediate upside huge.
"We're rapt to have Hughy on board, he's a terrific kid, he's going to add some different attributes to our midfield,” Conole said.
"When it's all said and done he's pretty underdeveloped too, he hasn't had a full preseason before so we're really excited to get him on board.”
North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said it was great to see all three of the boys head to the one club.
Partington also believed that once McGrath was selected at pick 1 then McCluggage was heading to Brisbane – given Greater Western Sydney’s plethora of attacking midfielders in a similar mould to McCluggage.
The Rebels best and fairest winner will have a great opportunity to force his way into the Lions midfield next season.
“That's great for all three of the boys,” Partington said.
"With Hugh not going number one, we knew Greater Western Sydney weren't going to take him just because they've got a lot of players like him in their team.
“Hugh was always going to go one or three.”