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  1. #1
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    Western Bulldog young gun Aaron Naughton allays fears over knee injury as he returns for pre-season

    Western Bulldog young gun Aaron Naughton allays fears over knee injury as he returns for pre-season

    Aaron Naughton will be back in full training after Christmas, adamant he has only scratched the surface of his potential as a key position forward.

    The Western Bulldogs star teen kicked 32 goals and took an incredible 53 contested marks as a 19-year-old before tearing his lateral ligament in the 58-point elimination final loss.

    As his knee buckled under him in the third quarter there were fears he had torn his ACL in what would have been a heartbreaking moment for Dogs fans.

    But Naughton told the Herald Sun after his first run of the pre-season on Monday it had never flashed through his mind his 2020 season would be decimated.

    Naughton will play alongside ex-Saints forward Josh Bruce after taking the opposition’s best key defender for much of the season and will also benefit from a second year in attack.

    “I had my first run today which went well, so that’s a good sign and I will slowly build from there,” he said.

    “I will build up my strength in the gym and rehab it fully and I will be back in full training post-Christmas. It’s a little bit of a delayed start to the pre-season but I don’t think it will worry me too much.

    “I was on the AlterG machine today, which is basically a big cushion of air, at about 75 per cent (intensity) and I will slowly increase on that.

    “It was a new challenge for me last season. I was only told just before Round 1 (that) I would play forward, and I think (playing forward full-time) is the way it’s heading. I am excited to stay up there and learn my craft.

    “I worked pretty closely with (assistant coach) Ash Hansen and wanted to keep it pretty simple so there is definitely so much more to learn. That’s the exciting party, that I have so much more growth in my game from here on in.”

    The Dogs were savaged by eventual Grand Finalist GWS in the elimination final, with Naughton’s injury salting the wound as the Giants kicked eight of the last nine goals.

    But for some reason he was optimistic he had dodged a serious injury despite what looked all the world like an ACL tear.

    “I am a hyper mobile player, where the joints can go back a little bit but as soon as I landed I knew something wasn’t right,” he said.

    “I was in a little bit of shock. It didn’t cross my mind I might have done the ACL. That was the first test they did and within two minutes of being on the bench that was a sigh of relief when they told me my ACL wasn’t torn. I said, ‘Sweet, I will go back on’ but they said my lateral ligament was ruptured. It’s definitely a pretty decent result from unlucky circumstances.

    “Obviously we had really good momentum and GWS were too good on the day. For us it was season over after that so we didn’t review it too much.

    “They definitely touched us up in the physicality aspect and we didn’t see it coming but we are a young group with a young core of players and they are things we will learn from.”

    Naughton is confident he can play alongside Bruce and Josh Schache in the same forward line.

    “That’s the way we are thinking. He is one of the best key forwards in the competition and Josh and I have spoken about, we are thrilled to have him there as a mature big body down there. We are two young key forwards who perhaps don’t have that maturity yet so for him to come in is awesome.”

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  3. #2
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    Re: Western Bulldog young gun Aaron Naughton allays fears over knee injury as he returns for pre-season

    An admission that we weren't prepared for GWS to try and touch us up physically...………..not a surprise given the response to it actually happening, but as many of us have said it was painfully obvious we were caught out in that area.

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  5. #3
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    Re: Western Bulldog young gun Aaron Naughton allays fears over knee injury as he returns for pre-season

    It's scary how good this guy can be. Thank God his knee is OK. Naughton with the second best defender on him, that warms the cockles of my heart.
    They've done studies you know, 60% of the time, it works every time!
    Brian Fantana.

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  7. #4
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    Re: Western Bulldog young gun Aaron Naughton allays fears over knee injury as he returns for pre-season

    Hopefully he improves his set shots a fair bit, then he’ll be an absolute beast.

    Gee clubs do “optimism” now these days. So much to be optimistic about!

  8. #5
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    Re: Western Bulldog young gun Aaron Naughton allays fears over knee injury as he returns for pre-season

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMahatma View Post
    Hopefully he improves his set shots a fair bit, then he’ll be an absolute beast.

    Gee clubs do “optimism” now these days. So much to be optimistic about!
    Confidence too. Everybody is incredibly confident at this stage of the season.
    WOOF NUMBER 6

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  10. #6
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    Re: Western Bulldog young gun Aaron Naughton allays fears over knee injury as he returns for pre-season

    Good to hear it wasn’t as serious as first thought. Another great year from Aaron. He was fantastic in the Tigers game. 9 contested marks was amazing and we comfortably beat them at a time when they were shaky. Been great since he had come to the club and look forward in 2020 to see more improvement once again.
    AFL PREMIERS 2016

  11. #7
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    Re: Western Bulldog young gun Aaron Naughton allays fears over knee injury as he returns for pre-season

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMahatma View Post
    Hopefully he improves his set shots a fair bit, then he’ll be an absolute beast.

    Gee clubs do “optimism” now these days. So much to be optimistic about!
    Yep prepare to be amazed and frustrated by him and Bruce in the same forwardline.

    That said only Dicko, Schache and Mitch Wallis give me any confidence lining up.
    Josh Schache >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Jake Stringer

  12. #8
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    Re: Western Bulldog young gun Aaron Naughton allays fears over knee injury as he returns for pre-season

    Quote Originally Posted by 1eyedog View Post
    Yep prepare to be amazed and frustrated by him and Bruce in the same forwardline.

    That said only Dicko, Schache and Mitch Wallis give me any confidence lining up.

    Spread out boys, this could go anywhere!
    WOOF NUMBER 6

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  14. #9
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    Re: Western Bulldog young gun Aaron Naughton allays fears over knee injury as he returns for pre-season

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMahatma View Post
    Hopefully he improves his set shots a fair bit, then he’ll be an absolute beast.

    Gee clubs do “optimism” now these days. So much to be optimistic about!
    Bont is another that needs to improve in this area otherwise he is a gun.
    AFL PREMIERS 2016

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