Not The Messiah – Just A Very Naughton Boy

The Western Bulldogs yesterday announced that Aaron Naughton had signed an eight-year extension on his current deal with the club (which wasn’t due to expire until after the 2024 season), taking his tenure as a Bulldog up until the end of the 2032 season.

Seems a long way away, doesn’t it?

For reference, there are currently five other players who have deals in place that extend into the next decade – Brennan Cox, Clayton Oliver, Harry McKay, and Josh Daicos have deals ending in 2030, and Nick Blakey is a Swan until the end of the 2031 season.

How wise are these deals?

I understand the player and the club looking for security and locking up a deal that keeps them locked in for the long term can work, but it can also tie a club to an underperforming player. Or a player to an underperforming team. There is also the chance that one slip, one fall, one twist, and the club has committed long-term to someone who just may not live up to the expectations. It is risk versus reward and as it stands, how big are the rewards compared to the risk?

If we’re looking at the 2023 season, just what has Aaron Naughton done to warrant this mammoth extension?


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