Two seasons ago Dane Ugle was plying his trade in the Rockingham-Mandurah Third Grade side. Fast forward to 2017, and the big-hitter has just earned a Perth Scorchers Rookie Contract and been named in the Black Caps after his performances for Western Australia in the National Indigenous Cricket Competition (NICC), completing a meteoric rise.
After securing a First Grade premiership last season, Ugle has gone from strength to strength, averaging nearly 40. His form resulted in a Big Bash League rookie contract, an opportunity the right-handed batsman jumped at.
"It has been totally amazing,” Ugle says.
"You go in there and feel the professionalism that JL (Justin Langer) and everybody provides.
"It was very exciting and humbling to be a part of conversations with players like Mitchell Johnson and Ian Bell.
"I got so much feedback, the experience was second to none.”
Having spent large amounts of time in the BBL premiers' camp, Ugle can see a professional future in cricket, with his overall improvement key to his success.
"I have gained a little bit of confidence in the fact that it is all about getting fitter,” he explains.
"With everything JL brings and the regime at trainings, I really got a taste of it and has really opened my eyes.
"It made me believe I can stick it up there at that level.”
Last weekend, Ugle represented Western Australia in the NICC, with the Warnbro product making the team of the tournament, the Black Caps.
"Personally my week was a bit up and down, even though I had a couple of big scores,” he mentions.
"Coming off Scorchers and First Grade cricket, I felt like it was the best preparation that I have had.”
Along with Michael Bailey, Ugle took a leadership role throughout the championships, as the younger players begin to look up to the future star.
"It was such a humbling feeling having younger guys come up to me at the end of the week and thanking me for the experience as well as advice I had given,” he says.
"The group of guys we had were really talented and we want talented Indigenous players coming through.
"Hopefully I am a person they can look up to and be there as a role model.
"I really wanted to be there for the younger guys, to get around them and give them the freedom to talk in front of groups as well.”
With only two games remaining for Rockingham-Mandurah, Ugle must push his case with runs for the struggling Mariners, with a winter program the next opportunity for personal growth.
"I want to make a few more runs in the last two games for Rocky,” he explains.
"In the winter, get onto a program and get fit and firing for next year.
"There is an Indigenous winter program that hopefully I get selected in, with a camp over in Brisbane. So I will be aiming for that.
"My dream would be to play for WA, so I’ll continue to aim for that.”