- Aug 1, 2008
- AFL Club
- Western Bulldogs
Glad to hear a coherent counter-argument.I disagree about his forward instincts. He's kicked a couple of goals with quick kicks off the ground from a contest at sharp angles and has a few assists with clever knock ons. Compared to most key forwards I actually think he's pretty good.
I agree that sometimes his timing on his leads is off and he can get stuck in no man's land but in games where our ball use is more direct he seems to be much better.
His kicking for goal is a not very fluid but is serviceable while his kicking in defence was always edge of your seat stuff. I think people forget this. As you mentioned his field kicking is not great so playing him close to goal remedies this to an extent.
His 2 strengths are being able to take a contested mark even when the ball is kicked to the opposition's advantage and being able recover faster from a making contest than his opponents.
Both of those traits are huge in our forward line where we rarely much to advantage and are often outnumbered.
Naughton wouldn't have the same licence to try to mark everything as a defender so that would diminish one of his strengths.
I think long term is a no brainer to develop Naughton as a forward.
This year is a trickier proposition because of our apparent weakness in defence and oversupply of tall forward options.
I would only add that when he did play in defence, he did take a number of contested marks and routinely intercepted kicks. As for his kicking in defence, if I remember correctly, he played within his limitations. I don't recall being overly worried as I am with Gardiner or was with Suckling.
Still your points are well made.
Tell me, though, are you at all concerned that he is a little reckless with his own body up forward, not protecting himself in packs and likely to remain injury prone? Or do you believe it is just a run of bad luck and he is overdue for an extended healthy run?