“I had no expectations at all, it was a bit of a rat race just trying to get here really,” Ugle said.
“My car broke down, I was trying to fix it and looking in to how to fix it, so it was a bit of a whirlwind night, but I’m really thankful that I’ve been able to make it and honoured to be able to receive the award.
“It’s a little bit surreal, really. It’s a bit of a weird feeling and as I said, I wasn’t really expecting it at all, but I’m really honoured and privileged to be able to receive this award.”
With 562 runs to his name (9th overall) and 12 wickets, Ugle’s vote count got off to a sluggish start, however, with one of the lowest counts in recent memory, Ugle scored three centuries from his last four matches, polling a two, three and three votes to storm home and win the award.
“It means a lot, obviously with the family and the history of the award,” he said.
“It definitely means a lot to me personally. It’ll be something that I’ll remember for a very long time and I’m just honoured and thrilled to be the first indigenous player win this prestigious award, especially being the first Olly Cooley night at the new Optus Stadium as well.
“I had a lot of stability around me on field and a lot of stability at home as well. Definitely the support from the wife over the last half of the season was really big on that, to be able to have that huge support back home made me feel a lot more at ease when I’m out in the middle playing cricket, so the confidence kind of grew from that, the runs kept on coming and the confidence pretty much grew from there.”
As well as winning the prestigious Olly Cooley medal, Ugle was also selected in the Indigenous Australian team which will travel to England later this year, capping off a superb Premier Cricket campaign.
“It means a lot to me,” he said.
“Not only that I can represent my mob and my area, but it gives me a chance to represent Australia on a national level as well, so it definitely means a lot to me personally.
“It gives me a lot of pride and passion to be able to go to England and be a part of that team, obviously the history of the Indigenous XI from the 1868 team, so it is a fantastic achievement and something I’m very proud of.”
After performing at such a high standard throughout his breakout year, Ugle is not content in sitting back just yet, as he wants to continue pushing for higher honours in the near future.
“I’ll continue at Rocky next year,” he said.
“I really want to continue to work hard towards taking my game to the next level and hopefully that’ll come through to the next season or two.
“Hopefully in that time I’ll be able to push for higher honours, which is my goal and dream, so I’ll just work hard over the winter and see where it takes me.”
Other award winners on the night:
Roy Abbott Best Pitch Award - Floreat Park Oval
Most Improved Pitch Award - Hillcrest Lower
Alan Mackley Medal (4th Grade) - Garrick Yandle (Mount Lawley)
Albert Ritchings Medal (3rd Grade) - David Aldridge (University)
JP Robbins Medal (2nd Grade) - Steven Russell (Melville)
Olly Cooley Medal (1st Grade) - Dane Ugle (Rockingham Mandurah)
Best 4th Grade Umpire - Garth McCrorie
Best 3rd Grade Umpire - Ahmad Khan
Best 2nd Grade Umpire - Daniel Smith
Best 1st Grade Umpire - Trent Steenholdt
Peter McConnell Medal - Jarryd Buscall
Allan Edwards Trophy - Sean Stuart (University)
Senior Coach of the Year - James Allenby (Claremont Nedlands)
Administrator of the Year - Steve Barry (South Perth)
Senior Spirit of Cricket - Claremont Nedlands
Under 17s Player of the Year (Media Guild) - Jayden Goodwin
Under 19s Player of the Year (Media Guild) - Aaron Hardie
Rising Star Award (Media Guild) - Josh Philippe
WADCCI Team of the Year - Jacob Whiteaker (CN), Garrick Morgan (JO), Luke Towers (ME), Luke Jury (PE), Nicholas Maiolo (SC), Darius D'Silva (SP), Brooke Guest (SP), Chris Hansberry (SF), Chris Chellew (SP), Mark Turner (ME), Matthew Hanna (WI), Josh Dallimore (UN)
1st Grade Batting Average - James Allenby (Claremont Nedlands)
1st Grade Batting Aggregate - Nicholas Maiolo (Scarborough)
1st Grade Bowling Average - Liam Guthrie (Perth)
1st Grade Bowling Aggregate - Matthew Hanna (Willetton)
Kevin Sullivan Silver Cup (Minor Premiers) - Claremont Nedlands
1st Grade Premiership - Claremont Nedlands
2nd Grade Premiership - Bayswater Morley
3rd Grade Premiership - Melville
4th Grade Premiership - South Perth
One Day League Premiership - Claremont Nedlands
Colts Premiership - South Perth
Premier T20 Premiership - Wanneroo
Statewide T20 Premiership - Wanneroo
Club Championship - Willetton