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AFL Dockers find their new Ryan Crowley

Fremantle midfielder Darcy Tucker is set to become the team's No.1 tagger this year, and he showed promise in last week's loss to Collingwood.

AFL Dockers find their new Ryan Crowley

Fremantle midfielder Darcy Tucker is set to become the team's No.1 tagger this year, and he showed promise in last week's loss to Collingwood.

DOM SHEED of the Eagles is tackled by DARCY TUCKER of the Dockers during the 2018 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia.
DOM SHEED of the Eagles is tackled by DARCY TUCKER of the Dockers during the 2018 AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia. Picture:Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images

Is Darcy Tucker set to become Fremantle's new Ryan Crowley?

Crowley made a name for himself as one of the AFL's best and most annoying taggers during his 196-game career.


But the Dockers haven't bedded down a full-time tagging replacement since Crowley's last game for Fremantle at the end of 2014.

Coach Ross Lyon has experimented at times with not using a tagger.

But after watching West Coast's Mark Hutchings restrict Collingwood's Steele Sidebottom to just 14 disposals in last year's grand final, Lyon is convinced he needs a tagger in his tool kit.

The new 6-6-6 starting positions rule is also set to place a greater importance on taggers, given that prime midfielders will now have more space to weave their magic.

Bailey Banfield was used as a tagger by Fremantle for long periods last year and produced some solid results.

But with the Dockers keen to free up Banfield in 2019, it looks as though fourth-year midfielder Tucker will be thrust into the lock-down role.

Tucker rotated through Collingwood's prime movers during last week's 27-point pre-season loss in Joondalup.

And the 22-year-old is set to be tested again in Sunday's clash with West Coast in Mandurah, where he could match up on the likes of Luke Shuey, Andrew Gaff, and Elliot Yeo.

Lyon was pleased by what he saw from Tucker against Collingwood.

"There'll be more intense games and bigger challenges, but I thought he took a step forward," Lyon said.

"We've struggled to fill that breach since Ryan Crowley.

"If you look at grand final teams ... Hutchings did a wonderful job on Sidebottom.

"If Sidebottom gets his 42 (possessions), Collingwood probably win

"And Collingwood can use Levi Greenwood in that (tagging) role. It's a tool we want in our tool box, but we need to train it up."

Fremantle won the inside 50m count 60-46 against Collingwood, but the sloppy entries meant the key forwards struggled to make an impact

Lyon said it was an area that needed addressing in order to give the likes of Jesse Hogan, Matt Taberner, and Rory Lobb more chances to take marks.

Hogan tallied just six disposals against Collingwood before being taken out of the game early in the third quarter.

The former Demon, who is still working his way back to full fitness following a serious navicular foot injury, is expected to play more minutes against the Eagles this week.

AAP


AAP




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