WESTERN Bulldogs key forward Aaron Naughton is in doubt for Thursday night's clash against Sydney, but game-breaking midfielder Bailey Smith is expected to return after missing the loss to Carlton.
Naughton hobbled off Marvel Stadium last Thursday night following a collision in the third quarter before returning for the final quarter where his movement was hampered.
The 22-year-old was left with a corked calf and some bleeding following the heavy knock on a frustrating night for the West Australian, who was well held by Carlton defender Jacob Weitering.
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AFL.com.au understands the club is reasonably confident the West Australian will face the Swans, but there is a race against time given the Bulldogs are playing in the Thursday night slot for the second consecutive week, after starting the season on a Wednesday night.
Smith missed the 12-point loss to the Blues due to a hip injury, with the club deciding to err on the side of caution with the budding star.
If the 21-year-old completes the captain's run at the Whitten Oval on Wednesday, he is expected to bolster the Western Bulldogs midfield the following night, after amassing 33 disposals, 11 tackles and eight clearances in the Grand Final rematch in round one.
The club will wait until later in the week before ruling Hayden Crozier in or out of the clash against the Swans.
The 28-year-old was substituted out of last Thursday night's game at half-time and was attended to by medical personnel inside the Bulldogs' rooms at Marvel Stadium, where a heart monitor was briefly used by doctors to establish what happened to him.
Crozier trained with the club on Monday morning and hasn’t been ruled out of selection just yet, but it is understood the club is still waiting for further test results to determine exactly what happened and the ramifications moving forward.
The former Docker felt sick in the team meeting during the main break and fell to the ground while feeling light-headed during a warm-up drill before the players returned to the field for the second half.
Mature-age recruit Robbie McComb is in contention to make his AFL debut just months after the Western Bulldogs selected the midfielder in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft.
The 26-year-old has been included in the 26-man squad across the first two rounds, following strong performances over the pre-season that saw him rise up the depth chart at the Whitten Oval.
After amassing 36 disposals, nine clearances and seven inside 50s against the Sydney Swans' reserves last Friday afternoon, the former Footscray skipper is in the hunt for his first chance at AFL level.
Luke Beveridge and the match committee inside the Whitten Oval might also consider off-season acquisition Tim O'Brien after the former Hawk returned from injury in the VFL last Friday.
The 28-year-old strained his hamstring at the end of the pre-season and has missed the opening two rounds of the season.