Peel Thunder product and newly-drafted Western Bulldog Aaron Naughton is chomping at the bit to start his pre-season training regime with his new AFL club.
In an interview with the club’s official website, Naughton said he was grateful for the opportunity and was itching to hit the track at Bulldogs headquarters.
“I can’t wait to get stuck into it,” he said.
“I’ve sort of been linked to the Bulldogs the last couple of days – I was sort of confident that maybe I’d get the opportunity and yeah, just so grateful for it.
“I spoke to them early in the year and then again at the [national draft] combine, and then after the combine they came over for a home visit.
“I thought maybe there might be a slight chance that I might end up there and now it’s really happened.”
The Bulldogs made Naughton a top-10 draft choice when they used pick nine to select him last Friday night.
The first of 15 West Australian talents taken off the board, the agile defender was ecstatic to be recruited to the elite level, particularly to the heart of football in Melbourne.
“It’s been a childhood dream to play AFL, and then to even go in the top 10 and be presented with my jumper on stage from [Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge] has just been unreal,” he said.
“Melbourne’s the home of footy and why wouldn’t you want to play in Melbourne? I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”
The Rockingham junior joined them as the first of 15 Western Australian talents to be selected in the draft, being picked up on the back an outstanding 2017 campaign for Peel Thunder.
Western Bulldogs recruiting manager Simon Dalrymple told westernbulldogs.com.au Naughton has all the attributes to succeed at the top level.
“Aaron’s an athletic hybrid defender, who is an excellent intercept mark and has the athletic quality to play on both tall and medium players,” he said.
“One thing we particularly like about him is his drive, he’s a very driven young man, which bodes well for him and the club and he grows as a player over time.”
Naughton will move across the Nullarbor to start his first pre-season as an AFL player, with the hopes of being included in the Bulldogs’ best 22 for their round one clash with the GWS Giants in March.