Toast Welcome to the Club Aaron Naughty Naughton

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goodcop badcop

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Sep 4, 2014
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AFL.com.au Profile

In the space of a few weeks late in the season, Aaron Naughton's draft stocks soared like few others in this year's crop. And with good reason.

Following an impressive NAB AFL Under-18 Championships for Western Australia, which saw him earn All Australian honours, Naughton was elevated to Peel Thunder's senior side for his WAFL debut.

Over a seven-week stretch the key defender never looked out of place, averaging seven marks a game and 14 disposals playing with and against AFL-listed players.

The 17-year-old has also shown he can push forward and be a marking target, averaging nearly a goal a game in his seven 'colts' appearances this year, but he is more at home as one of the draft's leading defenders.

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His size (194cm) makes him a really nice fit as a key defender at the next level, but you couple that with his excellent athleticism then it makes for a nice package. He ran 3.09 seconds in the 20-metre sprint at the NAB AFL Draft Combine, while his agility time of 8.22 seconds placed him sixth overall. He matched that movement and power by recording the fifth-best Yo-Yo test score (level 21.8), giving recruiters an insight into his ability to run all day alongside key forwards at AFL level.

Above all of that are Naughton's football qualities. He's extremely competitive, fights hard to get in the right defensive position and tends to find a way to get a fist in whenever a marking contest is in action. He's also more than comfortable grabbing a mark, too, meaning he isn't totally a shutdown option.

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Naughton isn't the most polished defender out there, so there is a bit of a question on his kicking and decision-making with the ball. Generally he plays within his limits and knows to not take too many risks by foot.

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Cale Hooker played forward this year, but made his name as an intercepting defender who could also shut down key forwards across the competition. Naughton carries some similar traits to Hooker.

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Is one of the top-ranked tall backs available to clubs so is expected to be a first-round selection. That could be as early as inside the top-10, such was his ability to step up and impress at senior level during the year.

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Naughton hates to get beaten, which is probably the most important ingredient to being a successful key defender. With great defensive instincts and an athletic profile hard to counter, Naughton ticks plenty of boxes.
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http://www.afl.com.au/news/2017-11-04/tomorrows-heroes-key-defenders-stocks-on-the-rise


AFL Draft Central Profile

DRAFT ANALYSIS: "Best key defender in the 2017 draft pool who has been a strong WAFL performer."

OVERVIEW


Peel Thunder tall defender represented Western Australia at last year’s National AFL Under 18 Championships, playing as a key defender. While his numbers weren’t overly outstanding, some of his characteristics were on show. An improving National AFL Under 18 Championships in 2017 saw him average 14.8 disposals, 5.3 marks and win WAs MVP after a stellar carnival. Naughton reads the play well in defence and knows when to intercept the ball, where he is a confident mark overhead or on his chest. Returning to Peel Thunder after the carnival, Naughton stood out in the WAFL not looking out of place after 16 disposals and seven marks on his League debut. From there, clubs flocked to WA to watch the key tall defender in this year’s draft pool.

STRENGTHS

  • Intercept marking
  • Reading the play
  • Mature body
  • Agile
Naughton’s strength is his intercept marking, where he has often shown at all levels he will intercept the ball well. He is confident with his approach, grabbing the ball with two hands and holding onto majority of his marks.

Naughton knows when to drop off his man and when you stay tight in a one-on-one contest. He will read the play well and reads the flight of the ball well, knowing when to go and intercept the ball – to mark or spoil.

Naughton has shown this year that he doesn’t look out of place against mature bodies. Often training with and against AFL listed forward, he was able to use his body to win the one-on-one battles and work hard for his team. In the WAFL this year, Naughton averaged just under seven marks per game for Peel Thunder.

His work at ground level is good, where he can be a mobile defender. His time of 8.22 seconds in the agility test at the National AFL Draft Combine was in the top 13 per cent, indicating that he can perform well when the ball is on the ground.

IMPROVEMENTS

  • Kicking technique
Similar to 2016 draftee Ryan Garthwaite, much has been made of Naughton’s kicking style. His technique sees him drop the ball one handed onto his left foot – in a non-conventional style. However – similar to Garthwaite the ball gets to where it needs to go more often than not, so it won’t be as big as a concern as it looks, but it may be an area for improvement that AFL clubs look to fix with their biomechanical staff. Throughout the National Under 18 Championships, Naughton kicked at 70.6 efficiency – indicating clubs shouldn’t be too worried about him missing targets.

DRAFT PROJECTION: 5-15

SUMMARY

Naughton has shown this year that he can match it with bigger bodies in the WAFL league and his strong performances in the NAB AFL Under 18 Championships make him the clear candidate as the best key defender in this year’s draft pool. Naughton will appeal to clubs inside the first round as a ready made player that shouldn’t need to wait his turn in the State Leagues for too long.

https://www.afl*******************/player/aaron-naughton/


Inside Footy profile


Aaron NAUGHTON

30-Nov-99 | 194.0cm | 85.0kg | Peel Thunder

“Aaron will be a beauty. A highly rated key defender who is very strong, a great overhead mark and uses his play-reading to intercept in the back half. Will need to work on his kicking, which is a little of an odd style but its effective enough. Played seven senior games later in the year and was in the best players in four of those games. In one game he took 10 marks, which is pretty handy for an 18-year-old playing against grown men. Just does his job on the field and will be a very good player down the track. I’d be surprised if he lasted beyond about the mid-20 point in the draft.” – Peel Thunder football manager Shane Creevey.


Footy Prophet Profile


CLUB: Peel Thunder / Western Australia

HEIGHT: 194cm

WEIGHT: 84kg

POSITION: Key Defender

PICK RANGE: 5-10

IN SHORT:

  • Interceptor: Reads the play exceptionally well in the back half
  • Senior Experience: Excelled for Peel Thunder’s Senior WAFL side against AFL listed players
  • Mobility & Endurance: 8.2 in the agility test and 21.8 in the yo-yo
STATS:
U18 Championships



WAFL League



WAFL Colts



ABOUT:

Aaron Naughton has been stealthily moving up the draft ranks all year, and now sits firmly as a mid range first rounder and likely to be the first Western Australian off the board.

His rise up the ranks was in large part due to a stellar U18 Championships in which he excelled in the back half for the Sandgropers. The co-captain played a huge part in WA’s performances throughout the carnival, taking care of a number of highly rated forwards as he marshalled the backline – performances that eventuated in him earning WA’s MVP and an All-Australian nod.

His form on returning to the WAFL virtually cemented his status as one of this year’s premium selections, as he went straight into Peel’s senior side. His debut saw him collect 16 possessions and claim seven marks, despite having to match up on AFL listed talent Fraser McInnes and Jonathan Giles. He went on to play seven League games including a qualifying final, finishing in the best on three occasions.

For our interview with Aaron, click here.

WHY PICK HIM?
Naughton is the mobile, tall intercepting defender that fits the profile of the modern AFL centre half back to a T. His ability to read the flight of the ball and beat his man one on one is elite, as are his smarts – knowing when to spoil and when to mark.

His marking ability is excellent, rarely needing more than one grab, and his mobility makes him as effective controlling the ball low as he is overhead. It’s this mobility and agility that also makes him a real threat offensively. Naughton finished sixth overall in the AFL Combine agility test, and his willingness to roll off his man and attack will be very attractive to AFL clubs.

Naughton’s ability to move up the ground and attack is also benefited by his impressive tank. He registered an elite 21.8 in the yo-yo test at the combine, the only 194cm+ player to breach the top 10, and with the Peel Thunder coaching staff suggesting he has the scope to spend time through the midfield, this is certainly a big uptick for his potential to grow and develop as a modern footballer.

As well as his physical and technical attributes, Naughton has also demonstrated impressive aggression and intensity, putting his body on the line and following up even when outsized at the contest. He is also a keen student of the game, spending hours watching footage of key position players to analyse their positioning. As a Collingwood supporter he pays particular attention to Ben Reid, and in terms of his ability to intercept and rebound offensively, Naughton is of a similar mould.

His experience against bigger bodies in the WAFL, and his scope for further physical development, along with his experience of elite program systems and tactics also tick plenty of boxes for recruiters looking for a ready to go player.

THE QUESTION MARKS?
Other than general physical development, Naughton’s kicking is probably the one area that really needs some work. He has an awkward style, however, it has never proved to be anything but effective. He rarely makes bad decisions, or fails to hit a target, but could perhaps focus on tidying up his shorter kicking, especially when putting teammates under pressure in the defensive half.

His perceived versatility is another area which could affect his value. No matter how good a player is, clubs are always looking for players to impact in multiple roles these days. Naughton’s time in the Peel seniors may have been detrimental in a way as it meant that he wasn’t given the freedom to be tested around the ground – instead playing his primary defensive role. In the Colts, Naughton was used in the forward line to great effect, and his score of 25/30 in the goalkicking test at the combine certainly shows that there is potential there.

One other question mark that allegedly prevented Naughton from a spot in the AFL Academy was that of his commitment to footy. This certainly doesn’t appear the case in terms of his dedication and application this year though, and the reports from coaching staff only praise his professional approach. It may have been the only thing that saw him fly under the radar for so long.

THE WRAP
Naughton has put himself in the box seat to be the first tall defender, and perhaps the first key position player to leave the board on Draft night. An elite, mobile intercepting defender who can roll off his man and impact offensively would benefit many AFL lists, and there’s no doubt he’ll be high on a number of recruiters’ lists. Having trained and played with the Peel seniors, Fremantle would be the obvious suitor. He would certainly be of interest to the likes of Collingwood at pick 6, so it’s no surprise that Fremantle were so keen on securing two top five picks in the trade period.

http://footyprophet.com/2017-draft-profile-aaron-naughton/


Simon Dalrymple's comments

Western Bulldogs Recruiting Manager Simon Dalrymple said that the Victorian transplant has all the attributes to succeed at the top level.

“Aaron’s an athletic hybrid defender, who is an excellent intercept mark and has the athletic quality to play on both tall and medium players,” Dalrymple told westernbulldogs.com.au

“One thing we particularly like about him is his drive, he’s a very driven young man, which bodes well for him and the Club and he grows as a player over time.”

While he’s likely to be groomed as a key back, Naughton’s ability to grab the contested mark could see him play as a forward at times, where his speed and football IQ would serve him well.

http://www.westernbulldogs.com.au/news/2017-11-24/pick-9-naughton-named-dogs-top-pick





http://www.afl.com.au/video/2017-11-04/tomorrows-heroes-aaron-naughton

Combine test results: 20m Sprint (secs) 3.09 | Agility (secs) 8.22 | Yo-Yo Test (level) 21.8
 
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TommyD13

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Real stoked to have nabbed him, looks to be a genuine future star
 

Doggies7

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Wanted Coffield but Naughton looks like he could be a really solid player in an important position for us. That Jake Lever type that we all want, although we do have a few KPD at the moment, that could change quickly. Hopefully Aaron is around as a cornerstone of our backline for the next 10+ years.
 

threenewpadlocks

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Great pickup. Naughton a player of the future with his ability to intercept, attack, zone off and play one-on-one. When we have a future defence full of athletic types pressing up the ground and with the ability to pick up any of the opposition 6 forwards in a zone set up we'll be glad we have Naughton among them. Welcome to the club!
 

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threenewpadlocks

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I like Naughton because he looks like a player who despite his height, will adjust well to the faster pace and frontal forward pressure that increases at AFL level over junior footy.

Makes quicks decisions, doesn't panic when approached by pressure, and doesn't cough up the ball easily.

People are saying "how can he be a good rebounder if he can't kick" - the answer is because for a player of KPD height, he's very good in traffic.
 

Zgope1

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A step towards having aerial supremacy for the first time ever maybe?

People will say we have two many young key backs but I only rate Adams and Cordy and based on this kids supposed athletic dynamism he should fit well into a strong crew with aerial courage and aggression
 

dogwatch

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Doesn't necessarily spell the end for Collins.

If the club thinks Collins will have a role as a strong-bodied stopper against the monster KPFs then the type we'd be looking to complement him would be a tall with agility and pace ... like Naughton.
 

Bont2Bruce

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I really think his disposal is not bad, it looks a little awkward but he hits targets with both feet, which I love.
Agreed, some very tidy kicking in that highlights package.

I also liked the number of times he stayed in the passage of play and kept running forwards to present an option by hand.
 

Doggstats

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Doesn't necessarily spell the end for Collins.

If the club thinks Collins will have a role as a strong-bodied stopper against the monster KPFs then the type we'd be looking to complement him would be a tall with agility and pace ... like Naughton.

If we're looking for super athletic elite contested marking KPD's (with questionable kicks) then aren't Adams and Young exactly that?

Does this pick indicate potential question marks over Adams injurys?
 

Leviticus

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If we're looking for super athletic elite contested marking KPD's (with questionable kicks) then aren't Adams and Young exactly that?

Does this pick indicate potential question marks over Adams injurys?

Adams: possibly but when fit he is quite versatile. Don't really believe he is threatened by the advent of Naughton (and Trengove). Collins, Roberts & Young become depth.
 

Leviticus

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When Naughton was first repeatedly linked to us, I questioned it. Then I thought about it and researched it as best I could on google and utube. Then I realised the attraction the club saw. Very attacking, rebounding, intercepting. Very fast, very mobile for a KPB. He is, excuse the French, farken good and a cut above what we have. Adams and Cordy are versatile and can survive the addition of Naughton and Trengove. Morris is in his last season (handover role to Cordy), Collins, Roberts and Young now become depth. We won't be playing depth players in key positions next year. We won't be asking Wood, Biggs, Suckling and Cordy to play CHB or FB like we did week after week in 2017. It was killing our rebound. Naughton frees our rebounders up to play their best roles and looks like an ace rebounder himself. We will smash teams with the way the ball booms back from their forward 50m arc. They won't know what hit them. And then the Bevo copiers will come along again lagging behind our third premiership.

Looks like a good pick with #9.
 

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