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  1. #1
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    Dogs’ high-flying astro-naught

    DOGS’ HIGH-FLYING ASTRO-NAUGHT



    Western Bulldogs spearhead Aaron Naughton says the forward partnership he is developing with Josh Bruce is almost ready for lift off as they target a finals berth.

    The full-forwards have both enjoyed a career-best haul of six goals playing as the main man this season but are yet to click in the same attack.

    Naughton (five) and Bruce (three) have combined for just eight goals in the eight games they’ve played together, although the Dogs are all-in on that pairing with Josh Schache left in reserve.

    But Naughton said the two contested marks Bruce took at the start of the last quarter on Sunday night showed signs of life as their chemistry grows.

    “We trained together pretty much the whole pre-season and then I went down just before Round 1, and then hurt my ankle (in Round 4) so we haven’t actually played too much footy together,” Naughton said.

    “Now we’re starting to actually play together. You don’t want to be fighting for the same ball all the time, but there’ll be times where you have to go for the same contest.

    “It’s those little things like reading the cues of each other that will just come from training and playing a fair bit of footy together.

    “We’re starting to do that, which is nice.”

    Naughton, 20, has taken six contested grabs in the past two games, against Geelong and West Coast, with his clean marking likened to Wayne Carey.

    The West Australian had the perfect view of captain Marcus Bontempelli’s matchwinner against the Eagles, and was certain it cleared the goal line.

    “I was right underneath (Jeremy) McGovern and believed it was a goal straight away,” he said.

    “I ran over to (Mitch) Wallis and said, ‘That’s a goal’. It was a big captain’s goal, which was nice.”

    Naughton – selected in the AFL Players’ Association 22-under-22 squad – took a courageous contested grab of his own in the last quarter against the Eagles.

    He got to his feet wearing a big grin, and explained why.

    “I’m good mates with Oscar Allen and in the contest before we squared-off in the ruck and were laughing at each other,” Naughton said.

    “He got that hitout and I was like, ‘Next contest I’m going to win’ and it was a mongrel quick in and I just willed myself to get to the footy.

    “I jumped up and was able to get there in time. We both flew for the mark and we both hit bodies and came down, and I came down with the footy.”

    Naughton the defender played on Allen the forward in the WAFL in 2017 and they co-captained Western Australia’s Under-18s together.

    Their phones lit up with former teammates sending clips of Sunday night’s contest in group messages.

    Naughton swung to the backline as a seventh defender after Bontempelli’s goal but said that would be the extent of his time behind the ball.

    The kid with flowing hair and oodles of swagger rated Robbie Tarrant (North Melbourne) and All-Australian Harris Andrews (Lions) as the hardest defenders to play on.

    Naughton’s set-shot routine is five walking steps and then five running steps and was only developed in 2019.

    As for his contested marking?

    “It’s something that comes a bit natural, reading the flight of the footy is something I’ve always had as a junior,” he said.

    “I try not to worry too much about the opponent and just focus on the footy.

    “I wouldn’t say I’ve got any secret tricks, I just like to keep it simple and keep my eyes on the footy.”

  2. #2
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    Re: Dogs’ high-flying astro-naught

    Going to be a superstar.
    Our 1954 premiership players are our heroes, and it has to be said that Charlie was their hero.

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  4. #3
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    Re: Dogs’ high-flying astro-naught

    Quote Originally Posted by comrade View Post
    Going to be a superstar.
    Agree. Just needs to nail those close in goals.

  5. #4
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    Re: Dogs’ high-flying astro-naught

    He is a massive influence in our forward line and is going to always command the opposition #1 defender. Just having him up there improves us.

  6. #5
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    Re: Dogs’ high-flying astro-naught

    Quote Originally Posted by Topdog View Post
    He is a massive influence in our forward line and is going to always command the opposition #1 defender. Just having him up there improves us.
    I know other contributors have mentioned this before but he is so quick if the ball hits the ground.

  7. #6
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    Re: Dogs’ high-flying astro-naught

    I look forward to watching him every game, and hopefully for the next 250 plus
    Premierships: AFL 1954, 2016 VFA - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, VFL: 2014, 2016 . Champions of Victoria 1924. AFLW - 2018.

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