Bombers' Ridley ready for Dogs' challenge

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Essendon defender Jordan Ridley knows he'll need all the help he can get if he's given the daunting assignment of manning Western Bulldogs star Aaron Naughton again.

Ridley restricted Naughton to 1.3 and 11 disposals when the Bombers upset the Bulldogs by 13 points in round 21.

The match sparked the start of a three-match losing run from the Bulldogs, whose late-season fadeout saw them slip to fifth.

The loss of the double finals chance means the Bulldogs won't have any wriggle room when they take on the Bombers in an elimination final in Launceston on Sunday.

Naughton has built a reputation for being one of the best contested markers in the league, with his ability to soar over packs becoming a key attribute.

"He's a super player. I really do love watching him play - the way he runs and jumps and launches at the ball," Ridley told AAP.

"For our whole team really it's something to be aware of and something to try to negate if he is trying to get those run and jumps at the ball. Hopefully we can stop that part of his game.

"It's an element of being aware of where they are and what they want to do. But at the same time you have to back yourself in to play your own game and have your own read of the ball as well.

"There'll be times in the game that whoever is matched up on him will need help, and we'll need teammates to be in the right positions to cut off his lanes."

The loss of Josh Bruce to a season-ending knee injury means the Bulldogs will rely even more heavily on Naughton to help them kick a winning score.

Naughton has kicked 40.38 from 21 games this season.

His inaccuracy has been a big talking point all year, but his mesmerising marking ability often sets tongues wagging.

Arguably his most memorable performance came in the round 12 win over Fremantle, when he sprayed 1.5 in front of goal but pulled down 13 marks, with five of them contested.

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