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Dogs draftee a 'massive chance' for round one

Aaron Naughton impressed against Jarryd Roughead and the Hawks - AFL,Western Bulldogs,Aaron Naughton
Aaron Naughton impressed against Jarryd Roughead and the Hawks
He's very composed and nothing fazes him too much
Steven King on Aaron Naughton

PRIZED Western Bulldogs draftee Aaron Naughton is a "massive chance" to debut in round one after an impressive pre-season, says assistant coach Steven King.

The key defender, who only turned 18 in December, has held his own against more seasoned teammates throughout the summer and didn't look out of place against Hawthorn star Jarryd Roughead in the JLT Community Series last weekend.

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Taken with pick No.9 in last year's NAB AFL Draft, Naughton performed strongly in several WAFL games for Peel Thunder last season.

As the backline coach, King couldn't be more optimistic of Naughton's chances of facing Greater Western Sydney in the opening round.

The teenager will be part of key defensive unit featuring Marcus Adams and Zaine Cordy for Saturday's JLT clash against Collingwood in Moe.

"(Aaron's) got a spot now in the team (against Collingwood), and those that put their hand up and perform really strongly again this week will be in the box seat," King said on Friday. 

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"If you are in the 22 or 24 for this week and you perform strongly and do what we want as a coaching group and be a good teammate, you're a massive chance (to play round one)," King said. 

While he may have been out-bodied by a physically mature Roughead at times, Naughton still popped up to take several contested and intercept marks, and also gave the Dogs plenty of run with his spread for the contest. 

Naughton's versatility and sound decision making have him well positioned as a replacement for injured stalwart Dale Morris. 

"(Aaron) has the ability to play tall and small (at) 195cm, he's a terrific intercept mark, and he's just one of those kids you can tell have played senior footy before he got here," King said. 

"He's very composed and nothing fazes him too much. 

"He's got some great qualities." 

King was also complimentary of another of his defensive unit, with former Fremantle utility Hayden Crozier performing well in an attacking role off half-back. 

With retired club greats Robert Murphy and Matthew Boyd leaving a big hole down back, the 24-year-old boosted his sound defensive attributes with plenty of run and carry. 

"For that medium size, (Hayden's) really brave and courageous in the air," King said.

"Then, he's got great attributes to give us bounce off half-back as well, so I thought he was really, really good for us last week. 

"You can see him starting to get comfortable around teammates and the way that we play."

In further good news for the Dogs, King said powerful key defender Adams had pulled up well from his first competitive hit-out following a second serious foot injury inside 18 months.