Brisbane Lions star Hugh McCluggage makes call on AFL future ahead of free agency year

AFL star Hugh McCluggage is set to turn his back on free agency and stay with his beloved Brisbane Lions.

The classy Lions vice-captain is hot property and one of the most wanted free agents in the game.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: McCluggage set to turn back on free agency.

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The midfielder — the No.3 pick in the 2016 draft — is in his prime.

He is about to turn 26, has 155 games to his name, and has placed in the top three in Brisbane’s best-and-fairest awards on five consecutive occasions.

McCluggage grew up on a farm in country Victoria (Allansford near Warrnambool) but says the temptation to return home is not there, despite the fact he loves to get back for a visit.

He said it was a bit of shock when he first headed to Queensland — where Australian Rules is not the No.1 code — but since then the new AFL Auskick ambassador has witnessed a huge growth in the game.

A distraught Hugh McCluggage after last year’s grand final. Credit: Getty Images

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here … It’s a great place to live,” McCluggage told 7NEWS.

“We’ve built a really good club, off field and on field.”

In McCluggage’s debut season, the Lions finished bottom, but they are returning to the powerhouse status that they enjoyed at the start of the 21st century.

Last year the men’s team played in the grand final while the women’s team won the AFLW premiership.

Of course, the Lions men’s team lost the grand final to Collingwood by a heartbreaking four points and — with their premiership window still well and truly wide open — McCluggage is not going anywhere.

He said after putting so much time and effort into building something strong, it was only natural to want to see it through to its ultimate conclusion.

“(Brisbane football manager) Danny (Daly) touched on it on Friday but myself and the club and are both comfortable with the position that we’re in,” he said.

“It’s up to my manager now to continue talks with the club.

“My sole focus right now is Round 1 and making sure I can do everything I can to make sure I’m in the right place to perform and the team can get off to a good start.

“I couldn’t be happier at the minute … I’m sure my manager and the club will work though it in due time.”

Asked if he considered himself a Queenslander, McCluggage revealed he buys Queensland State of Origin tops when they roll around.

“If you’re doing that, I think you can call yourself a true Queenslander, for sure,” he said.


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