MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: Aaron Naughton of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal during the 2019 AFL round 03 match between the Western Bulldogs and the Gold Coast Suns at Marvel Stadium on April 07, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

Former Brisbane Lions star Alastair Lynch has named his top ten key forwards 21-and-under in The Herald Sun.

The three-time premiership forward based his ratings on the players’ future potential to dominate the game.

Lynch named Bulldogs young gun Aaron Naughton as his number one prospect. The 20-year-old was taken at pick 9 in the 2017 national draft and had a breakout year in 2019, playing all 22 games and booting 30 goals.

“He (Naughton) can take contested grabs and he has got such power. He is absolutely the one I would pick to build a forward line around,” Lynch said.

Coming in at second place on Lynch’s list is Suns forward Ben King. The 19-year-old impressed in difficult circumstances in 2019, averaging over a goal a game in his debut season and impressing late especially.

“He has more exposed form than his brother and has taken genuine one-on-one contested marks against great defenders without good delivery. 11 goals in his last five games last year,” Lynch said.

Rounding out the top three is Swans livewire Nick Blakey. The 20-year-old had a stellar debut season in 2019, proving his worth as a forward as well as further up the ground.

“His dad John was best man at my wedding but this isn’t about favouritism. He is so explosive and can get up into the midfield to lose his man. He uses the ball so well and loves the big moments. He is the pick of these guys as a player who could play wing or midfield,” Lynch said.

The King family didn’t have to wait long for more representation in Lynch’s list – Saints forward and Ben’s twin Max found his place at spot number four.

Completing Lynch’s top five is Kangaroos big man Nick Larkey, who combined with Ben Brown to kick 90 majors together in 2019.

Lynch’s top 10 key forwards aged 21-and-under

  1. Aaron Naughton (Western Bulldogs)
  2. Ben King (Gold Coast Suns)
  3. Nick Blakey (Sydney Swans)
  4. Max King (St Kilda)
  5. Nick Larkey (North Melbourne)
  6. Mitch Lewis (Hawthorn)
  7. Oscar Allen (West Coast)
  8. Todd Marshall (Port Adelaide)
  9. Esava Ratugolea (Geelong)
  10. Tom McCartin (Sydney)

Honourable Mentions: Darcy Fogarty (Adelaide), Cam Zuurhar (North Melbourne), Elliot Himmelberg (Adelaide).