In a year of football like no other, the national AFL Draft picks were selected in a live stream last Wednesday evening.

Of the 51 new draftees, there are five emerging Indigenous players you should become familiar with before they take the field in the new year.


Jamarra Ugle-Hagan – Western Bulldogs

Young Gunditjmara man Jamarra Ugle-Hagan has taken out the number one pick in the 2020 AFL Draft, officially becoming a Bulldog.

Hailing from the small Aboriginal reserve of Framlingham in south west Victoria, Ugle-Hagan is the first Indigenous player to be picked at number one since Noongar/Yamatji man Des Headland was in 1998.

The 18-year-old was snatched up by the Western Bulldogs after using draft points to match the Adelaide Crows’ original bid.

Viewed widely as the best player in the 2020 picks, some have likened the player to Hawthorn and Sydney’s Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin. Ugle-Hagan has also been described as a “precocious and dazzling tall forward with speed off the mark”.


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Lachlan Jones – Port Adelaide

Lachlan Jones has joined Port Adelaide as number 16 in the pick after the club matched a bid by Collingwood to claim the powerful defender.

Coming from Bute on the Yorke Peninsula, Jones is a part of Port Adelaide’s Next Generation Academy (NGA).

Port Adelaide’s talent manager has described Jones as having “real speed and bursts and real power”.


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Blake Coleman – Brisbane Lions 

Inspired by his brother Keidean, Blake Coleman has joined the Brisbane Lions as pick 24.

The 18-year-old was a standout player for the Hyundai Help for Kids Lions Academy and was picked by the Lions after matching a bid by Collingwood.

Speaking to Lions Media, National Recruiting Manager Stephen Conole said Coleman “plays with power and presence around the contest, is a clean ball-handler and kicks the footy with penetration”.


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Phoenix Spicer – North Melbourne

As pick 42, Phoenix Spicer has been selected to join North Melbourne.

Known for his agility, the young Indigenous midfielder was recruited from the South Adelaide National Football League.


Maurice Rioli Jr – Richmond Tigers

Following in his late father’s footsteps, Maurice Rioli Jr has joined the Richmond Tigers as pick 51 in the draft.

The star forward will be playing alongside his cousin and triple premiership winner Daniel Rioli.

Rioli Jr came through the Northern Territory Football League with St Mary’s before spending the past 18 months in Melbourne College.

According to the Tigers’ recruiting manager, Rioli is a “little tackle machine” with “some amazing tricks with his foot skills”.


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By Grace Crivellaro