Naughton set for surgery before AFL finals

Western Bulldogs Aaron Naughton (centre) may miss their AFL elimination final through injury.
Western Bulldogs Aaron Naughton (centre) may miss their AFL elimination final through injury.

Aaron Naughton will undergo surgery on his fractured cheekbone as the Western Bulldogs sweat on the availability of their top three goal kickers for next week's AFL elimination final.

Remodelled forward Mitch Wallis is nursing a shoulder injury from Sunday's crucial win over Fremantle but is expected to be cleared to play.

Meanwhile, Naughton's possible replacement Josh Schache is battling achilles soreness.

There were also concerns over the availability of fellow tall forward Josh Bruce and defender Easton Wood, with their respective partners both pregnant and due to give birth soon.

But the Bulldogs now expect both to play, with Bruce and Wood putting adequate support and plans in place for their partners.

Wallis (24), Naughton (14) and Bruce (13) lead the Dogs' goal kicking this year.

Naughton was hurt in a nasty head clash with Dockers ruckman Sean Darcy.

"It's disappointing but we're always optimistic about what happens," teammate Josh Dunkley said on Monday.

"I think his scan results have been pretty good and it's positive thoughts at the moment, but we'll wait and see how he goes.

"He was very sore and said he's never had an injury quite like it and he's had a lot of injuries.

"Every injury takes its toll, he's a good healer though."

Schache has battled injury issues and has not played at AFL level since round five, but has impressed in some scratch matches.

He was held out of Monday's reserves practice match against Geelong on the Gold Coast.

The Bulldogs expect Wallis to be cleared for their elimination final.

"It's not nice to get it (hurt) in the last game of the year before a finals campaign," Dunkley said.

"We'll just have to wait and see how he goes but we're really optimistic."

Australian Associated Press