Peel football product Aaron Naughton has continued his rise up the ranks of the elite level earning the AFL’s round 23 NAB Rising Star nomination.
The Rockingham Rams junior and Peel Thunder gun impressed mightily in his Western Bulldogs’ narrow loss to the top-of-the-table Richmond for their final game of the season, gathering 18 disposals, 12 contested possessions, five score involvements and six intercept marks.
A stout defender with a knack for rebounding off half back, the Bulldogs snapped up Naughton with the ninth overall pick in the 2017 AFL Draft.
Since then he’s been nothing but impressive at the Kennel, working his way into their best 22 early in the season and showing his prowess as one of the more promising key position prospects in the league.
He even earned high praise from Sydney Swans superstar and Hawthorn premiership player Lance Franklin, who told the 18-year-old his future was bright during their round four clash earlier this year.
“I was running back and Buddy said, ‘Well done, you’ll have a future in the game’, so that was one moment that’s stuck out for the year,” Naughton told AFL.com.au.
Franklin hasn’t been the only superstar forward Naughton has taken on in his first season at the top level.
Coleman medalist Jack Riewoldt was his opponent for much of last weekend’s clash, while he’s also taken on North Melbourne’s Ben Brown and Greater Western Sydney’s Jeremy Cameron.
The superstar in the making wasn’t the only Peel football product in the spotlight during the Bulldogs’ game against Richmond, with Mandurah Mustangs junior Brad Lynch’s shot to win the game falling narrowly short.
Pinjarra’s Kamdyn McIntosh also tallied 17 disposals and booted a goal for Richmond.