Brisbane Lions head coach Chris Fagan with No.3 draft pick Hugh McCluggage.
Brisbane Lions head coach Chris Fagan with No.3 draft pick Hugh McCluggage. Mark Metcalfe

Lions pounce on McCluggage in national draft

AFL: His name has always rolled off the tongue. For Brisbane fans, it's even sweeter when he's announced as "the Lions' Hugh McCluggage”.

They will just now hope they never have to hear the words "McCluggage has requested a trade”.

The embattled Lions would not have believed their luck when the highly touted young midfielder from country Victoria was left to be pounced on at the prestigious national draft in Sydney on Friday night.

While for many it was a toss of the coin between he and Andy McGrath, McCluggage had long been touted as the probable No.1 pick.

That meant he was most likely bound for Essendon.

But when the Bombers sprung somewhat of a surprise by selecting McGrath, the Lions were rubbing their hands together in anticipation.

With the GWS Giants then plumping for bolter Tim Taranto at No.2, McCluggage, the winner of the Morrish Medal as the best player in the elite TAC Cup competition, was the Lions' for the taking.

Spare a thought for Ben Ainsworth who had, honourably, declared he was ready to join Brisbane earlier in the week.

But the Lions simply couldn't look past the silky smooth McCluggage, who is a dangerous proposition in the forward half, getting his own ball as a midfielder and then pushing forward to set up goals or kicking them himself.

Brisbane will hope McCluggage can show as much commitment as Ainsworth, who is heading north anyway - to the Gold Coast after the Suns picked him at No.4.

If you followed the US presidential election, you'll know how much impact fake news sites are now having on (misleading) the public.

And they reared their ugly here, with a couple "reporting” McCluggage had already informed the Lions he wanted a trade. It's poor taste.

The reality is, while he and his family may not have been expecting him to be moving to Brisbane, McCluggage appears a mature young man who will dedicate himself to the Lions' cause.

"Mum is probably a little shocked and dad is a bit nervous,” admitted McCluggage, who hails from Warrnambool, the old stomping ground of Lions great Jonathan Brown.

"(But) I am absolutely stoked to be at the Lions ... I can't wait to get started.

"It's a big move but I'm lucky enough to do it with a few of my mates.”

Those mates are fellow North Ballarat Rebels players Jarrod Berry (taken at No.17) and Cedric Cox (24), who were also snapped up by the Lions, along with Alex Witherden (23), Jacob Allison (55) and Corey Lyons (71).

Ainsworth, meanwhile, is as tough as nails and would thrive wherever he ended up. Coach Rodney Eade will be rapt to have him on the Gold Coast as one of four top-10 draft picks along with Jack Scrimshaw (seven), Will Brodie (nine) and Jack Bowes (10).

For Ainsworth, there was no hard feelings towards McCluggage.

"Hugh is a great player and he is an even better bloke so kudos to him,” the Gippsland Power forward said.

"I'm happy with where I am and humbled with the opportunity.”


SHOCK TREND: ‘Wrong sex’ bubs aborted

Premium Content SHOCK TREND: ‘Wrong sex’ bubs aborted

Qld parents are aborting babies that are not their preferred gender

Jetstar drops incredible $65 return sale

Jetstar drops incredible $65 return sale

Jetstar has just launched their “Return for Free” domestic flight sale, with some...

Southwest drug user drives 670+km for supplies, defends use

Premium Content Southwest drug user drives 670+km for supplies, defends use

A southwest Queensland man who travelled to the Sunshine Coast to buy drugs has...