Main content
Western Bulldogs Header Branding

The new breed: Part 1

Billy's back for two more years Take a look at some of Billy Gowers' 2018 highlights, as he signs a new contract which will run until at least the end of the 2020 season.

With five new pups making their AFL debut in 2018, westernbulldogs.com.au takes a look at the Dogs’ next crop of young stars.

Aaron Naughton:

Rewarded with a long awaited NAB AFL Rising Star nomination after a narrow loss to Richmond in Round 22, Aaron Naughton enjoyed a promising first season in the red, white and blue.

Making his debut in Round One, Naughton’s intercept marking ability was quickly the talk amongst the Bulldog faithful, the young defender garnering Rising Star buzz from day one.

Handed the task of playing on Lance Franklin in the Dog’s Round 5 loss to Sydney, the then fifth gamer told AFL.com.au that the veteran had acknowledged his exceptional defensive efforts.

"I was running back, and Buddy said, 'Well done, you'll have a future in the game', so that was one moment that's stuck out for the year.”

Falling to an ankle injury during the Round Eight win over Brisbane, the 18-year-old was forced to miss four games, however still managed to top the Club’s overall contested marks (27) and intercept possessions (6.2 avg) in his first season.

Naughton’s versatility was on display when he returned from injury in Round 14, moving into the forward line and kicking two goals in a nail-biting loss to North Melbourne.

Re-signing in June, Naughton will remain at the Bulldogs until at least the end of the 2020 season.

The new breed: Part 2 

Billy Gowers:

Selected with the ninth pick overall in the 2017 AFL rookie draft after a standout year with the Footscray Bulldogs, Billy Gowers quickly became a key figure in the Dogs’ forward line.

Booting at least one goal in each of his first eight appearances, the 22-year-old brought a competitive edge and was rewarded with a two-year contract extension at the end of his maiden season.

An outstanding performance against North Melbourne in Round 14 saw Gowers kick three goals from 12 marks and 22 disposals – all career highs.

Topping the Dogs’ goal kicking leaderboard in 2018, Gowers joins the likes of Melbourne’s Jesse Hogan, Greater Western Sydney’s Jeremy Cameron and Freedom in a Cage favourite Allen Jackovich, as players to top their Club’s goal kicking tally in their first year.