ALL-Australian Hugh McCluggage is firming as a number one draft pick prospect for the AFL national draft after an outstanding national under-18 championships with Vic Country.
The North Ballarat Rebels and South Warrnambool player staked his claim as one of the best youngsters in the country by averaging 21 touches in four matches – performances which led to him being named an All-Australian on Thursday.
This accolade followed him being named Vic Country’s most valuable player MVP and receiving Vic Country’s 19th man award, voted by coaches
Rebels’ talent manager Phil Partington was not surprised by McCluggage’s championships.
Partington was wary to not draw comparisons with some AFL stars, but likened McCluggage to Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury with his composure around stoppages and silky skills.
“He showed his class to be one of the premier midfielders in the national championships,” Partington said.
“(He’s) a player that’s got time and space and makes the game look slow when he’s got the football.
“Hugh just makes good decisions when he’s got the football. He’s good inside, he’s good outside, but the thing I like about Hugh is he can actually go forward and kick goals.”
After a limited pre-season with a back issue, McCluggage has impressed in all five of his TAC Cup outings.
Averaging 28 disposals to go along with his 10 goals – he has been named the Rebels’ best on four occasions.
Partington said the lightly-built McCluggage had been working hard to continue his development while the Rebels would prepare him for the sizeable-transition from TAC Cup to AFL level.
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