Kirk Ugle's best-on-ground effort in Swan Districts' come-from- behind win against South Fremantle last Saturday was all the more remarkable given the distractions he had on the morning of the game.
Ugle was the catalyst when Swans came from 32 points down at the last change to snatch a five-point victory against the Bulldogs at Fremantle Oval.
Regular defender Ugle was moved higher up the ground and featured prominently, particularly late in the match when Swan Districts needed someone to stand up in attack.
Ugle finished with 28 possessions, three forward 50m entries and two goals. Coach Greg Harding describing him after the contest as "head and shoulders above anyone else on the ground".
The 22-year-old revealed yesterday he almost didn't make the match, helping to care for his two-year-old daughter Ruby- Maree who was battling a serious infection at Princess Margaret Hospital.
"It was very hectic, last Saturday in the morning," Ugle said.
"My daughter was sick, we were at the hospital all morning and I didn't rock up to the game until half past one.
"A few messages went to Greg (Harding), saying I wasn't going to make it, I would be late or I'm not playing. Everything was a rush that day but she's all right now, thank goodness."
One of the stars in a side which was widely tipped to finish last at the start of the season, Ugle said belief in each other's ability had played an important role in the club posting 10 wins from their first 12 games.
The Bulldogs match was the latest in a series of stunning last-quarter comebacks which has helped carry the club to second spot on the WAFL premiership ladder and a likely place in the finals.
"We always think we're a chance," he said.
"A few boys that aren't having a good game start stepping up, momentum starts building and everyone in the team just lifts."
Ugle, who played three games for Collingwood in 2012, said he had enjoyed playing as a defender in 2014 after lining up mostly in attack last year.
"I've just slotted in nicely and feel really comfortable down there, especially with Amesy (Tallan Ames), Justin (Simpson) and Graham (Jetta) round me," he said. "We love playing footy with each other."
The Swans match committee picked Jason Daniels, an 18-year-old grandson of WA football legend Haydn Bunton, to make his league debut.
Key forward Tim Geappen was included in the 22 after missing the Bulldogs match with a hamstring injury.
Claremont recalled ruckman Mitch Andrews, midfielder Ben Daniher and key-position player Mitchell McGovern.
"My daughter was sick, we were at the hospital … I didn't rock up to the game until half past one."" *Kirk Ugle *