Former Western Bulldogs captain Robert Murphy has lauded Dogs forward Aaron Naughton after his match-winning performance over the Tigers on Saturday night.
The 19-year-old booted three goals and took nine contested marks during the contest, dominating the Tigers from start to finish throughout the 47-point win.
Murphy’s career ran almost parallel to St Kilda champion Nick Riewoldt’s, and the former Dog believes Naughton could not only be as good as the former Saints skipper, but even better.
“Far be it for me to start making huge statements because I don’t want to step on the key forward mafia as you know,” Murphy said on SEN Breakfast.
“But, I’ve watched a few games this year, but I was there on Saturday night and saw Aaron Naughton. It was an unbelievable performance, we know that I actually think that in time, I think he will be better than Nick Riewoldt.
“That’s how good he is, at the same age I think he’s in that calibre.”
Naughton’s 25-game career has seen him recently swing forward after beginning as a defender, and Murphy believes he’s just got that special something that can help him elevate his game to heights not many people can reach.
“I just think, we know Nick, what a champion he became. The thing that jumps out when you see Aaron, the marking is so instinctive, it’s innate” he said.
“The thing that I’m kind of intrigued about, Mark Robinson did an article with him recently … he sort of seems a stress-free young man.
“His teammates talk about this bedrock of self-belief of ‘just put it in my area’. So I think he’s got this really intriguing combination of not being flustered by having a quiet game or a quiet period, but this underlining confidence.”