INJURED Bulldog Aaron Naughton is in a race against time to be fit for round one, with coach Luke Beveridge unable to guarantee his young forward will be ready.
Cartilage damage in Naughton's right knee caused him to be a late withdrawal from the Western Bulldogs' 44-point defeat of North Melbourne on Friday night.
The 20-year-old reported soreness in his knee on Thursday afternoon despite pulling up fine from Wednesday's training session and doing little at the following day's captain's run.
Naughton will undergo an arthroscope on Saturday and more will be known then about how long he will be on the sidelines.
"I'm not worried (but) we don't want to press it … we've got to have a long-term outlook for all our players, but in particular, circumstantially, 'Naughts'," Beveridge told reporters.
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"So we won't push him to be ready for round one. If he has the arthroscope and he comes up cherry ripe in two weeks, then we'll probably pick him.
"But if there's any doubt and he's got a bit of swelling and it's going to take a couple more weeks, then we'll be conservative with him."
Beveridge raved about his side's ball use and hardness, and offered praise for Marcus Bontempelli, recruit Alex Keath, Jordon Sweet, Hayden Crozier and last year's mid-season draftee Ryan Gardner.
Naughton's replacement, Lewis Young, kicked three first-half goals and also impressed his coach.
Beveridge tipped Josh Bruce (back spasms/hamstring) and Tim English (concussion) to be ready to play in a fortnight in the club's second Marsh Community Series game against Port Adelaide.
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The Roos' loss spoiled Majak Daw's return to AFL football after 18 months out, following hip and pelvic injuries, and a hamstring setback, but coach Rhyce Shaw was pleased to see him back.
"I thought he did a couple of good things and worked his way into the game," Shaw said of Daw.
"He was under the pump there – they were peppering us a little bit at stages – so he got a bit of work in."
Shaw was without the likes of Shaun Higgins (unavailable), Ben Brown (calf), Robbie Tarrant (foot), Jack Ziebell (calf) and Jared Polec (foot), so a number of younger players had increased opportunity.
Recruit Josh Walker took 10 marks in defence and remains in contention for a round one spot with Daw and Sam Durdin to play alongside Tarrant.
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Shaw remains "really comfortable" with where Brown, Tarrant, Ziebell and Polec are in their recovery but stopped short of saying they were definite round one starters.
They could yet play in the season opener without appearing in a practice game.
"I couldn't say I'm fully confident, but I'm really comfortable with where they sit at the moment," he said.
"I saw a couple of them train today, which was really pleasing, and we'll see how that pans out."