Thomas Bugg of the Giants gets his handball away despite pressure from Kieran Jack of the Swans during the round one AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium on March 24, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. Photo: Getty Images
Fresh from scoring his first AFL Rising Star nomination, GWS rookie Tomas Bugg is relishing the chance to battle it out on-field with his mentor Chris Judd this weekend.
The 19-year-old defender was recognised yesterday for his fine performance in the Giants' 42-point loss to the Western Bulldogs in Canberra on Saturday - the closest of their five AFL defeats.
Bugg recorded 28 possessions and seven marks while manning the likes of Shaun Higgins, Justin Sherman and Nathan Djerrkura.
Bugg said the team had been buoyed by the fact it won its first opening quarter this season, ahead of Sunday's tough match against Carlton at Etihad Stadium.
But the youngster is more excited about the prospect of coming face-to-face with Carlton captain Judd, his football hero and fellow Caulfield Grammar graduate.
''Hopefully I'll get to play against him,'' he said in Sydney yesterday.
''I'll be in awe, he's a really good player and a really good person. I'm just excited.''
The pair first met over lunch a couple of years ago, when Bugg took Judd's advice to accept a spot at Caulfield.
''I've caught up with him since then and I've learnt a lot off him so far,'' he said.
''Just watching him, like everyone else, you get to observe the way he goes about his footy and how he plays, I really admire that about him.''
Judd was also a Rising Star nominee, having won a nomination on debut in round two in 2002.
Bugg admits both he and his GWS teammates have a lot to learn this season, despite having already scored two Rising Star nominations in just five weeks - the first being forward Jeremy Cameron in round two.
''There's a lot of young talent in our group and there's sure to be a few more nominations throughout the year, no doubt,'' Bugg said.
They are on track to beat or at least match the Gold Coast Suns' four nominations in their debut season in 2011. AAP