Ugle stature on the rise
Kirk Ugle. Pic: WA News

Nimble defender Kirk Ugle staked a late claim for a spot in the WA team to play the North Eastern Australian Football League later this month with another polished effort when Swan Districts crushed East Fremantle by 60 points at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday.

Ugle was not named in the initial squad for the game in Sydney on May 24.

The 22-year-old gave State selectors a reminder of the silky skills which led to him being drafted by Collingwood.

Ugle, originally from Bunbury club Carey Park, was snared by the Magpies with their third pick at No.60 in the 2010 national draft.

He played three AFL games in 2012 before being de-listed, returning to line up in 20 games for the black and whites last year.

The neat left-footer was among the best players in Swans' stunning 20.15 (135) to 10.15 (75) victory over the Sharks, their sixth consecutive win after an opening 18-point loss to East Perth in round two.

Drafted by Collingwood for his explosive pace and goal sense, Ugle has developed into one of the WAFL's premier small defenders with terrific mop-up skills at the feet of key defenders Tallan Ames and Justin Simpson.

Swan Districts coach Greg Harding likened him to another left-footer who did well in a similar role for Swans in recent times.

"Kirk Ugle's ability to win one-on-one footy is very much like Kyle Hams," Harding said.

"Kyle's greatest strength was his ability to play on someone and not only half the contest but win it. This kid has got that exact same trait.

"He's shaken off some serious injuries that he's had the past few years.

"He's finding a lot of the pill but we don't ask for that. We don't set up to get the ball in his hands, he is just playing great defensively-minded footy."

Harding said Ugle's role against East Fremantle could not be underestimated.

"There would have been 10 or 15 occasions when Kirk won crucial pill across the middle or at half-back that resulted in rebound goals," he said.

Swans players who were included in the State squad - Ames, Simpson, Tony Notte, Ryan Davis and Blaine Boekhorst - were among the best against the Sharks.

Centre half-back Simpson was best afield, combining 31 possessions with seven marks, while Davis reaffirmed his value to the black and whites with 30 possessions, seven marks, nine inside 50s and a goal.

Tall utility player Notte had 16 possessions, seven marks, 15 hit-outs, eight inside 50s and kicked two goals while Boekhorst had 29 possessions and seven inside 50s.

East Fremantle were again hindered by inaccurate kicking at goal, finishing with more behinds than goals for the fourth consecutive week. At one stage they were 3.13.

The Sharks are struggling despite their excellent list and have lost their past three matches.

The West Australian

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