Western Bulldogs receive huge news on Aaron Naughton’s potential season-ending injury 

AFL Rd 11 - Aaron Naughton of the Western Bulldogs
AFL Rd 11 - Aaron Naughton of the Western Bulldogs

Aaron Naughton has escaped a season-ending ACL injury after Friday's scans, with the Western Bulldogs confirming that he suffered a moderate-grade medial ligament injury. The forward was helped off the field by the assistant trainers after a tackle by Sydney Swans' Lewis Mexican in the second quarter of their match on Thursday.

A first look by medical personnel on ground was enough to assuage their fears till the scans were carried out. This was evident in Coach Luke Beveridge’s statement in his post-match conference where he said:

“The indications are that hopefully it’s not as extreme as an ACL, so you never can tell. Obviously they’ve looked at it a bit closely … fingers crossed it’s not too extreme.”

The West Australian is expected to miss about four to six weeks for the Bulldogs. They however have a bye in round 15 which means he could possibly be back in time to face North Melbourne in round 16.

After he was drafted ninth overall by the Bulldogs in the 2017 draft, he has been an important part of their forward line. This season, he already has 22 goals in the 11 games so far.

Marcus Bontempelli was pushed forward to his place after he was taken off but he was not as effective, which means Jamarra Ugle-Hagan would need to step up in Naughton’s absence.

Legends insists umpires must do more to protect players after Aaron Naughton-Western Bulldogs incident

Aaron Naughton of the Bulldogs reacts to an injury during the round 11 AFL match between Western Bulldogs and Sydney Swans
Aaron Naughton of the Bulldogs reacts to an injury during the round 11 AFL match between Western Bulldogs and Sydney Swans

Aaron Naughton’s injury has sparked debates about the dangers of hip-drop tackles in the AFL. Luckily, Naughton escaped an ACL injury, but AFL greats Jason Dunstall, David King and Leigh Montagna have weighed in on what this could mean for the league in their Fox Sports segment:

“It causes serious trauma and massive injury, now this is unintended consequences of not being able to dump, or the umpire not blowing their whistle quick enough." King said.
"Have a look at all the weight go through the lower leg; it either snaps legs, it’s syndesmosis written all over it, it’s got ankle breaks, it’s got knee trauma – it’s the one they hate in the NRL...but we’ve got to recognise this is no good for our game.”

Jason Dunstall said the AFL's umpires must do more to protect their players, adding that the AFL differs from the NRL.

“We’re not NRL, we don’t see much of this… I do think the umpire needs to blow his whistle a lot quicker to save the drop (tackle).”

St Kilda legend Leigh Montagna took the side of the tacklers and agreed that the umpires must do more to protect their players.

“...we’ve seen a number of tackles where players have tried to do the right thing and be gentle.
“But the umpires have let them play and it’s allowed the opposition player to get the ball out.”

The NRL has banned hip drop tackles since 2020 to reduce incidents like Naughton's case. NFL clubs also recently voted to ban it in March this year, and it will be effective from the beginning of next season.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now