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  1. #16
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    How St Kilda’s draft strategy cost it Aaron Naughton, Marcus Bontempelli and Christian Petracca

    St Kilda could have three of the AFL’s best talents. Instead, it is paying the price for a draft curse and missed opportunities to land a future star.

    This is a tale of two football clubs and “Air” Naughton.

    Air Naughton is Aaron Naughton, the 21-year-old Bulldog – who could’ve been a Saint – and who is earning the accolade of the best emerging key forward in the game.

    His ability to leap and take contested marks makes him a point of difference and a key component of the Bulldogs’ September campaign.

    By the end of the season, who knows, the ‘emerging’ could be removed and the tag might be ‘the best key forward in the game’.

    He’s exciting, fearless and adventurous in the air, and the slight on his kicking is a fraction overplayed.

    Already, he has been compared to a young Wayne Carey.

    I see more of a comparison with a young Matthew Richardson: athletic, loves to run with the ball, an outrageously high leap and lean with long arms.

    And Richo could never beat down the critics of his goal kicking.

    Stephen Kernahan was one of the great pack and one-on-one-marks of his generation and sees talent overload in Naughton.

    “I saw the highlights of the marks he took in the wet at the weekend, and he was just grabbing the ball from everywhere,’’ the former Carlton great said yesterday.

    “Is he 21? I couldn’t believe he is 21, is that right?

    “I saw him last year developing and blossoming, and he was taking big pack marks and a heap of contested marks and, let’s face it, not many do nowadays.

    “At the weekend, he was just jumping from everywhere and they couldn’t stop it.

    “(Tom) Barrass and (Jeremy) McGovern, they are no slouches and they usually stop their blokes, but they were lost at sea with him.

    “It was outstanding to watch, bloody hell he’s good.’’

    St Kilda could’ve had Naughton.

    In fact, St Kilda could’ve had Naughton and Marcus Bontempelli and, for that matter, Christian Petracca, if they chose wisely at three national drafts.

    The Saints took Hunter Clark (No. 7) and Nick Coffield (No. 8) in the 2017 national draft. They selected two back flankers ahead of Naughton, who went to the Dogs at No.9.

    In 2013, they selected midfielder Jack Billings at No.3. The Dogs selected Bontempelli, this season’s best player, at No.4.

    And, in 2014, the Saints opted for Paddy McCartin at No. 1, now delisted and fighting to resurrect his AFL career, and passed on Petracca (No. 2).

    For St Kilda, it’s the Curse of the Next Pick.

    Next Pick Curse

    2013

    3. Jack Billings (St Kilda)

    4. Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs)

    2014

    1. Paddy McCartin (St Kilda)

    2. Christian Petracca (Melbourne)

    2017

    7. Hunter Clark (St Kilda)

    8. Nick Coffield (St Kilda)

    9. Aaron Naughton (Western Bulldogs)

    Naughton shares top billing for contested marks taken this year (40) with Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn.

    He is No. 1 for contested marks inside 50.

    His goal kicking is at the league average in two of the past three seasons and, in 2020, he kicked a very accurate 15.7, well above the league average.

    Kernahan said contested marking key forwards were rolled gold.

    “If you can get two of them, it’s even better,’’ he said.

    “Josh Bruce is a good foil for him, really. You just go into them, don’t you?

    “Look at (Tom) Lynch and (Jack) Riewoldt, they haven’t worried about how they’ve put it in to those two blokes.

    “They try to put it to advantage as best they can, but they go in with a lot more surety, instead of working your way forward, crisscrossing and switching.

    “The Bulldogs have got seven or eight midfielders and they deliver it well. It’s hard to beat them. I like them a lot, the Bulldogs.’’

    Kernahan, who had minor flaws with his goal kicking throughout his Hall-of-Fame career, is not fazed about Naughton’s goal kicking.

    “I’m not worried about his kicking,’’ he said.

    “Once you get it, you’re a chance and if he’s kicking at the league average you can only get better.

    “As long as he takes pack marks and they go in as many times as they do, he’s going to kick a lot of goals.”

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  3. #17
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    Thank you Saints.
    Our 1954 premiership players are our heroes, and it has to be said that Charlie was their hero.

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  5. #18
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    That is not pretty reading for Saints fans. For us, it's glorious.

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  7. #19
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    Quote Originally Posted by jeemak View Post
    How good's the Hunter block!
    I made mention of it in my ‘The Love’ thread.

    When watching a highlight of the clip I couldn’t work out why Barrass was on his bum and only on replay did I see the work that Hunter did. Nothing on the stat sheet, but that team oriented play is the stuff the coaches would be highlighting.

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  9. #20
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    Is there any way possible that we could be seeing the first and second best Bulldog players of any era playing in the same team and when it is all done and dusted will Bont have some competition as the best Bulldog of all time?

    Naughton is a freak! An absolute freak.

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  11. #21
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    Quote Originally Posted by 1eyedog View Post
    Is there any way possible that we could be seeing the first and second best Bulldog players of any era playing in the same team and when it is all done and dusted will Bont have some competition as the best Bulldog of all time?

    Naughton is a freak! An absolute freak.
    I have been saying this to my friends for quite a while now.
    Life is to be Enjoyed not Endured

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  13. #22
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    “It was outstanding to watch, bloody hell he’s good.’’
    I say this every week Sticks.

  14. #23
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    Its easy to look in hindsight, but I wonder if saints really did due diligence in top 10 , to take the best available at the time?

    Interesting they took 2 halfback flankers in Coffield and Hunter. Time will tell if they are good enough to have major impact in the midfield.

    Doggies did it internally by trying players to play on halfback already on the list.

  15. #24
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    Quote Originally Posted by macca View Post
    Its easy to look in hindsight, but I wonder if saints really did due diligence in top 10 , to take the best available at the time?

    Interesting they took 2 halfback flankers in Coffield and Hunter. Time will tell if they are good enough to have major impact in the midfield.


    Doggies did it internally by trying players to play on halfback already on the list.
    Read the “Marcus Bontempelli” thread. Lots of people didn’t want him with pick 4.

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  17. #25
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    Quote Originally Posted by macca View Post
    Its easy to look in hindsight, but I wonder if saints really did due diligence in top 10 , to take the best available at the time?

    Interesting they took 2 halfback flankers in Coffield and Hunter. Time will tell if they are good enough to have major impact in the midfield.


    Doggies did it internally by trying players to play on halfback already on the list.
    Yeah. I wanted Billings in 2013. And I remember not being thrilled with Naughts selection. Thought it was a vanilla selection. Boy I was wrong.

  18. #26
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMahatma View Post
    Read the “Marcus Bontempelli” thread. Lots of people didn’t want him with pick 4.
    Idiots.

    *can't remember if I was one of them, but my rose coloured glasses say I wasn't, so they're definitely idiots.
    "It's over. It's all over."

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  20. #27
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    Quote Originally Posted by EasternWest View Post
    Idiots.

    *can't remember if I was one of them, but my rose coloured glasses say I wasn't, so they're definitely idiots.
    I definitely wanted Scharenberg at the time and saw Marcus as more a long-term athletic type. The slight on Marcus was that he was going to take some time, and Scharenberg was touted as ready made and I wanted the short term return option.

    Well, Bont was ready pretty much immediately and Scharenberg went straight to the Pies injury list.

  21. #28
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    I admit I was keen on Billings, and was pissed Saints took him ahead of our pick. Did not take very long once Bont was unveiled that I was pretty thankful for the Saints stupidity.
    Was also not a fan of us picking Naughton at the time.
    They're dead set guns, and I'm know nothing flog.
    Last edited by Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; 01-07-2021 at 07:04 AM. Reason: Confirming I know nothing, I can't even spell 'know'

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  23. #29
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    Quote Originally Posted by 1eyedog View Post
    I definitely wanted Scharenberg at the time and saw Marcus as more a long-term athletic type. The slight on Marcus was that he was going to take some time, and Scharenberg was touted as ready made and I wanted the short term return option.

    Well, Bont was ready pretty much immediately and Scharenberg went straight to the Pies injury list.
    Yeah, I was keen on Scharenberg as well.
    FFC: Established 1877

    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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  25. #30
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    Re: The ‘powerful’ 21yo beast that can lead the Western Bulldogs to a flag

    James Aish had some fans as a ready to go type too from memory.
    King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king.
    Dennis: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

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