Melbourne players and greats agreed that Tomas Bugg probably won’t use Instagram before a game again in a bid to irritate opposition players.
The Demons forward uploaded a photo of himself and team-mate Jack Watts before Sunday’s clash between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs and added a caption that read: “You ready @jasonjohannisen?”
Bugg was referring to the dashing Bulldogs half-back, who came in for plenty of physical attention in his side’s heavy defeat to Sydney earlier this month, and had an uncharacteristically quiet game.
That was repeated on this occasion, too, as Johannisen – winner of the Norm Smith Medal last year – had little impact in the Bulldogs’ 57-point loss at Etihad Stadium.
Bugg’s post has generated plenty of discussion in the football world, with Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge describing it as “surprising” while Melbourne assistant coach Jade Rawlings added he did not “condone that sort of stuff”.
“I didn’t know until after the game,” Melbourne’s Jayden Hunt told radio station RSN927 on Monday.
“He probably won’t be doing that again.”
Melbourne legend Garry Lyon agreed.
“He won’t be doing that again,” Lyon said on SEN.
“For me, when I read it … I said ‘oh, I don’t like that’.
“As a Melbourne supporter, I thought ‘Johannisen is going to get 35 touches’.”
Melbourne midfielder Dom Tyson said he “didn’t mind” Bugg’s post but was unsure if it was a good look.
“He’s [Bugg] a confident and cheeky type of guy … I personally didn’t mind it too much,” he told SEN.
“I think he actually knows Jason Johannisen so there’s a little tongue in cheek there.
“Whether it’s something you want to be displaying collectively as a footy club and whether it’s part of showing a lack of respect, I’m not too sure.”
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin said on Sunday that Bugg intended the post as a “bit of banter”.
“I think it’s really important to establish that we want to be a club that’s respectful and humble in the way we go about our business,” Goodwin said at his post-match press conference.
“Obviously, it raises my eyebrows when I see it [social media banter], because it’s foreign to me.”
Bugg told 3AW after the game on Sunday that his post was “just a little playful Instagram”.
“I didn’t mean too much by it,” he added.
“I know Jason, so it was just a bit of playful [banter] before the game.”
Adelaide forward Josh Jenkins defended Bugg’s right to show personality on Twitter.
To my friends in the media;
Tom Bugg's jibe was exactly what you want more of from players – personality
Remember that before condemning him
— Josh Jenkins (@JoshJenkins24) June 18, 2017
And former Essendon star Tim Watson agreed.
“It didn’t damage the team in any way and that’s the point,” he said on SEN.
“What Bugg did was nothing more than gamesmanship.
“He picked his mark and hit the target flush on the chin.”
Bugg kicked two goals and had 16 disposals in Melbourne’s 57-point victory, as last season’s premiers, the Bulldogs, lost further ground in their bid to make this year’s finals.