AFL clubs circle rising star

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph
WA v SA under 18s game at Domain Stadium. Pictured - WA's Aaron Naughton kicks out of defence
Camera IconWA v SA under 18s game at Domain Stadium. Pictured - WA's Aaron Naughton kicks out of defence Credit: Daniel Wilkins

Friday looms as a big day for Rockingham Rams and Peel Thunder product Aaron Naughton, with the youngster expected to be the first WA player snapped up by an AFL club in this year’s draft.

Naughton, who has climbed through the football ranks as a versatile defender, could find himself a top-10 pick with a host of clubs interested in his services.

Having represented the Rams as a junior, Naughton shot to stardom earlier this year with a series of impressive performances at the under-18 championships.

With an ability to read the play that has seen pundits describe his skills as “Jeremy McGovern-like”, the 194cm prospect backed up his performances at the under-18 championships with a number of solid performances at WAFL level for Peel Thunder.

Naughton proved his worth at league level and propelled himself into first-round talks as he played seven games for Peel Thunder.

Despite playing against men more physically imposing at league level, the 17-year-old averaged seven marks and 14 disposals, with Naughton only losing his place when a number of Fremantle Dockers players returned to the side.

Fremantle, Collingwood, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs are all believed to be interested in Naughton.

With two top-five picks, the Dockers could use one of them to snaffle Naughton, while Collingwood, who are in urgent need of key position talent, may lock him in with pick six. Selection for Collingwood would represent a win-win for player and club, with Naughton a diehard Magpies fan, having grown up in Victoria.

The 2017 AFL draft will be held in Sydney on Friday.

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