Peel Thunder product and top 10 national draft choice Aaron Naughton will make his AFL debut for the Western Bulldogs when they line up against Greater Western Sydney in round one.
The 18-year-old will complete the impressive feat of a first-up debut in when the Bulldogs travel to face the Giants on Sunday.
Naughton is one of the AFL’s most talented young defenders, boasting a superior aerial ability with a knack for taking intercept marks.
He developed his craft as a junior at Rockingham before joining Peel Thunder to compete in the WAFL ranks.
His outstanding form for the Thunder’s league team at the back end of the 2017 season, mixed with an All-Australian selection at the under 18s national championships, saw him drafted to the Bulldogs with the ninth overall pick in November.
The agile defender didn’t put a foot wrong in the side’s JLT Series games in the pre-season, earning him selection to the club’s round one side.
It will be baptism by fire for Naughton, who will face one of the AFL’s hottest forward lines in his first game with GWS boasting elite talents Jeremy Cameron, Jon Patton and Toby Greene.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge lauded Naughton in front of the media on Tuesday.
“It’s a bit unusual for a young key position player to come on the scene and look comfortable so quickly but he’s a big strong strapping lad and we’ve liked what we’ve seen,’’ he said.
“We’ll hold our breath at times, but he’s shown enough.
“He took seven intercept marks in the previous JLT which is a big statement from a young player.”
The Bulldogs will take on GWS at UNSW Canberra Oval on Sunday, 10.10pm (Perth time).