WESTERN Bulldogs captain Easton Wood believes emerging forward Aaron Naughton will thrive in the spotlight after a standout performance against Richmond.
The 19-year-old key target kicked five goals and joined rarefied air with nine contested marks – only North Melbourne champion Wayne Carey has taken more in a game (10) since the statistic was recorded in 1999.
Wood says the talented big man has the scope to be dominant on a regular basis.
"Well the sky's the limit, isn't it? When you're 19 (years old) and you're taking nine contested marks in a game that bodes pretty well for the future," Wood said on Tuesday at a community day with Christ The King Primary School in Braybrook.
"Obviously you can't forecast an explosion like that."
"Something that has been consistent with him ever since he's been up forward is his ability and his timing with his contested marking. He's got some really sticky mitts on him (and) it's great to see him put it all together."
WHO MAKES FINALS? Do the 2019 Ladder Predictor
The Tigers had no answers for Naughton, particularly in the absence of Alex Rance and David Astbury. While Wood expects every club to be doing its homework on how to combat the Dogs' forward, his character suggests it won't affect his approach.
"He (Naughton) is casual as. He's laid back (and) got a little bit of swagger about him which you like, particularly in a key forward," Wood said.
"He's got a little bit of that peacock mentality, which is great."
"He's obviously going to get a lot of attention now. He's going to be getting the number-one defender every week which is a challenge in itself.
"Teams will go to work on what his strengths are. As a group we've got to be able to help him."
Moving Naughton from the back half to the forward line has already borne fruit, but it had an impact on Wood's own role early in the season. The experienced defender was out of his comfort zone and credits a recent inclusion for recent improvement.
"It's been a different start to the year for me playing as a deeper defender. Obviously with Dale (Morris) going out of the side and Aaron (Naughton) heading up forward that kind of left me as a key post," he said.
"It's not something I've done in my career before and I probably wasn't expecting it to be as big a challenge as it probably was early in the year. But the addition of Jackson Trengove coming back in the side has probably let me go a little higher and play more of my natural game."