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Macaffer: Tagging role is "diminishing"

Sam Gastin  January 21, 2016 4:30 PM

The future of tagging Collingwood forward-turned-midfielder Brent Macaffer gives his opinion on the immediate future of taggers in the AFL.
Brent Macaffer stays within close distance of Essendon star Jobe Watson on ANZAC Day 2014.

Brent Macaffer stays within close distance of Essendon star Jobe Watson on ANZAC Day 2014.

Brent Macaffer believes the tagging role which led him to a career-best season two years ago has “diminished” in his time away from the game.

The forward-turned-midfielder spent almost the entire 2015 season on the sidelines after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in Collingwood’s clash with Greater Western Sydney in round 22, 2014.

Almost 17 months later Macaffer is at full strength and ready to return to AFL.

However it may not be in the role he became accustomed to in 2014.

“That tagging role from when I last played a couple of years ago has seemed to be slowly diminishing,” Macaffer told Collingwood Media.

“I don’t even know if half the teams would play a tagger role so to speak. If they do, it’s more of a run-with role.”

After starting his career as a forward, Macaffer rose to fame – or in some eyes notoriety – as a shut-down midfielder in 2014.

He performed admirably on some of the best players in the game, blanketing the likes of Trent Cotchin, Jobe Watson, Marc Murphy and Gary Ablett before the untimely injury in round 22.

With the 2010 premiership player confined to the sidelines in 2015, new recruit Levi Greenwood became an occasional run-with player in Collingwood’s midfield.

While Macaffer is unsure on the future of the tagger, he believes there will be times this season when he or Greenwood will be required to play a negating role.

“I still think at times there is a need for it in certain games against certain oppositions,” he said.
 
“Whether this year it’s me doing it, or Levi doing it, we’ll have to wait and see.”

If opportunities don’t present themselves to Macaffer in the midfield, a return to the forward line beckons.

“I’ve had a few brief chats with a few coaches, and even a few senior players about where they see me fitting into the side,” he said.

“Over the offseason and preseason I’ve looked at expanding my role and going back forward to where I originally started out.

“It’s looking like a forward/mid role, which is something I’m excited about.”