Carlton coach Mick Malthouse has warned against an over-reaction to the role of the tagger following Brent Harvey’s three-game suspension.
The AFL Tribunal on Tuesday night found the fiery small forward guilty of misconduct.
North Melbourne’s 382-game veteran threw his tagger Liam Picken to the ground and pinned him with a forearm to the throat during Sunday’s round-21 clash at Etihad Stadium.
A tough back-pocket player in Richmond’s 1980 premiership side, Malthouse says there’s room for taggers in the modern game.
The triple-premiership coach says the umpires are doing a good job policing the battles between superstars and their minders.
“See I was an ex-tagger,” Malthouse told reporters on Wednesday at the YMCA’s Bridge Project Breakfast.
“If we are going to just sum our game up by saying we need superstars in the game of football, with all due respects to them, first and foremost I’m a great admirer of Brent Harvey …
“However there is a place for taggers. We’re not all gifted like some of the superstars.
“There is a role for them and there are rules that shouldn’t be any different for them than they are for other players.
“So if you infringe, you infringe. It shouldn’t be just because you are a tagger that you should be ultra-looked at to say ‘well make sure that he doesn’t infringe’.
“That should happen all over the ground.
“So I’m a little bit caught in saying that if we want to have the superstar play, then there’s got to be a banning of taggers playing the game.
“I don’t think it’s possible and I don’t think the game caters for it.”
Malthouse says star onballers can’t expect to get 35 touches each week without having “some player put up a resistance to him”.
Malthouse’s 1980 premiership teammate and ex-Richmond coach Kevin Bartlett said Harvey’s actions were wrong, but star players deserve better protection.
“You’ve got to know which players are going to be targeted because they’re the ones that draw people to the game,” Bartlett told SEN Radio.
“It is important that throughout the entire game that umpires are wary of the tactics taggers use.”