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Friday, July 20, 2018

Western Bulldogs’ WA duo Aaron Naughton and Marcus Adams key to stopping Eagles spearheads

A West Australian duo Luke Beveridge hopes will be a key plank in the Western Bulldogs’ next premiership assault are set to be handed the task of quelling West Coast power forwards Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling.
Beveridge conceded his back line was well beaten in last week’s defeat to Melbourne, giving up a triple-figure score for the eighth time this season.
But the 2016 flag-winning coach backed Aaron Naughton and Marcus Adams to “make life hard” for the imposing Eagles double act at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
Kennedy and Darling combined for six goals on return from leg injuries to fire West Coast into a share of top spot on the ladder with a win over Collingwood last Sunday.
Kennedy, in particular, has caused headaches for the Bulldogs in the past.
He averages 3.6 goals a game against them during his Eagles career, including what was then a career-best bag of 10 majors in 2011. He amassed nine scoring shots the last time he played against Beveridge’s side.
Naughton, the ninth player selected in last November’s national draft, was recruited as a defender and has been used at both ends of the ground.
The Peel product has been flagged for a defensive role in tandem with former West Perth back man Adams against the Eagles’ twin towers.
“With Aaron Naughton and Marcus Adams back and Jack Trengove, who is doing some good things, we feel like we’ve got enough height and strength down there to give a good contest,” Beveridge said.
“But our backs didn’t get it right against Melbourne last weekend and we left some holes.
“We’ve been through some tape with the backs and they’ll be looking to give a better account of themselves.
“If they work together, the boys, then we’ll make their (Kennedy and Darling) life hard.
“But it’s going to be a big challenge.”
Naughton was named WA's MVP at last year's national under-18 championships.
The 18-year-old is yet to receive a Rising Star nomination despite impressing in his 12 senior matches to date.
“What he’s been able to do, he should be in that company at some point,” Beveridge said.
“Hopefully he players some good ones in the last six.”
Bulldogs spearhead Josh Schache was last night named in the squad despite concerns over a bruised knee.
Schache kicked two goals against Melbourne in one of his better performances since a high-profile switch from Brisbane at the end of last year.
“The signs were really there for him and his game will be influenced by how his teammates move the footy,” Beveridge said.