Aaron Naughton celebrates a goal during the Western Bulldogs' clash against Sydney in round 11, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

WESTERN Bulldogs key forward Aaron Naughton is on track to face North Melbourne this Saturday at Marvel Stadium, creating a selection conundrum for Luke Beveridge. 

Naughton has been sidelined for the past month after sustaining a moderate grade medial collateral ligament injury in the loss to Sydney in round 11. 

The West Australian was expected to miss up to six weeks after escaping an anterior cruciate ligament tear, but has made strong progress and has this fixture circled. 

Naughton completed a light session at the Whitten Oval on Monday, but will need to prove his fitness at Wednesday's main training before being given the green light to resume his season.

Young gun Sam Darcy is available after serving a two-game suspension prior to the bye for a late hit on Collingwood defender Brayden Maynard in round 12. 

The 20-year-old should come straight back in after kicking 22 goals from 11 games to start 2024, before losing his Telstra AFL Rising Star eligibility on the same weekend as 2023 pick No.1 Harley Reid. 


Rory Lobb has spent more time playing for Footscray than the Western Bulldogs this year – seven games in the VFL, six at AFL level – but the former Giant and Docker produced his most complete performance last start since moving to Melbourne. 

The 31-year-old, who is expected to request a trade in October despite having two years to run on his contract, finished with 19 disposals, 10 contested possessions, seven hitouts, six marks and three goals against Fremantle in the 67-point win. 

Lobb started the season ahead of Darcy but was dropped after round one and has only played when Jamarra Ugle-Hagan missed earlier in the season, before replacing Naughton when he went down. Beveridge hasn't played all four in the same side this year. 

Off-season signing Nick Coffield will also need to pass a fitness test on Wednesday to book his return from a shoulder reconstruction.

Nick Coffield after suffering an injury in the Western Bulldogs' match against Gold Coast in R2, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The former top-10 pick played in round one but then dislocated his shoulder against Gold Coast in round two, undergoing surgery in March.

A decision will then be made later in the week regarding whether he plays against North Melbourne at Arden Street in the VFL or at Marvel Stadium against Alastair Clarkson’s side. 

Former Demon James Harmes could also be available to face the Kangaroos after being sidelined since straining his hamstring against the Magpies in round 12. 

The Dogs reached the bye one game adrift of the eight at 7-7 after winning four of their previous six games ahead of the weekend off.