The ‘Rolls Royce’ of the Brisbane Lions continues to improve… and is still only 23-years-old.
Averaging 25 disposals a game, McCluggage continued to develop into one of the most damaging wingers in the competition in 2021.
With injury ruling reigning Brownlow Medallist, Lachie Neale out for 5 weeks, ‘Clug’ stepped up.
The silky midfielder averaged 31 disposals through Rounds 6 – 11 while becoming the most effective kick I50 in the competition.
The young star was rewarded for yet another consistent season, being named in the 40-Man All-Australian squad for the third year in a row while only notching his 100th game in Round 19.
He also finished Runner-Up in the Merrett-Murray Medal vote, his third Top 3 finish in as many years.
Speaking at the Lions Best & Fairest count, McCluggage showed his leadership qualities as he humbly accepted the Nigel Lappin Trophy.
“To the coaching staff and all the other staff that have continually helped us out this year, it’s an amazing effort from all of you guys,” McCluggage said.
“I know it’s tough on us players travelling and being away from our families for longer than we probably thought. But for you guys to do it just to help us out on our journey is really special.”
“To the boys, we’ll stick at it. I know it’s disappointing in the way we went out but there’s a lot still to come.
“We’ve got a very young list and a group of great blokes who can achieve a lot I reckon, if we can all stick together and work hard for it. There’s plenty more to come.”
Standout performance: Hugh’s Spin of Greatness
It was hard to choose a standout performance from our consistent star.
Having racked up 28 disposals on seven different occasions, there isn’t necessarily a wrong answer when selecting a standout performance from Hugh.
However, it was the 23-year-olds performance v Fremantle in Round 8 that really caught the eye of spectators across the nation.
With a measly 95 touches across the previous three weeks leading up to the Fremantle clash at the Gabba, one might expect a quieter game from a young player still growing his game.
Hugh, however, had other plans…
Collecting 27 touches, 6 marks, 5 tackles and a goal, McCluggage was a human highlight reel.
A late handball into traffic in the second quarter would usually spell carnage for most players on the receiving end.
In a sign of the stardom to come, McCluggage impressively spun his way around two Fremantle players (one of them being Nat Fyfe), leaving them in his wake as he blazed away Inside 50.
Disposals – 25
Disposal Efficiency – 63.8%
Marks – 5.1
Score Involvements – 6.5
Inside 50s – 4.5