Star Fremantle midfielder Andrew Brayshaw is bracing himself for another tight tag ahead of Sunday’s AFL clash with Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
Brayshaw was in stunning form during the opening two rounds of 2021, but has struggled to shake tight tags over the past fortnight.
The 21-year-old was held to 19 disposals in the round-three loss to Carlton.
And in last week’s win over Hawthorn, Brayshaw was limited to just three first-half disposals opposed to James Worpel.
Brayshaw spent stints of the second-half tagging Tom Mitchell in a bid to get himself into the game, and he eventually got off the leash himself to finish with 15 disposals.
Adelaide’s Ben Keays looms as Brayshaw’s tag on Sunday, and Dockers coach Justin Longmuir says assistants Josh Carr and Joel Corey have been preparing the young Fremantle star.
Carr was a renowned tagger during his 207-game AFL career at Fremantle and Port Adelaide, while Corey had to deal with taggers throughout his decorated career at Geelong.
“We’ll prepare for it. Keays has proven he’s done it successfully in the past, so we think that’s their motive for selection,” Longmuir said.
“They (Carr and Corey) have gone through his vision and given him some tools about how to go against as a tag.
“Andy was really positive about his second-half against Hawthorn, and really positive about some things that he can do to help the team and help himself.”
Fremantle will need to find a way to stop in-form spearhead Taylor Walker, who has booted 20 goals from four games this season.
Walker only managed 15 goals from 14 games last season, but the new rules have suited the 30-year-old perfectly.
“What Adelaide have been able to do is manipulate space for Walker really well,” Longmuir said.
“They’ve been able to get speed on the ball, which helps any forward. He’s been on the end of some really good supply. The way we defend as a team is going to be important.”
The Crows have defied the doubters to post a 3-1 record over the opening four rounds.
Fremantle (2-2) have struggled away from home so far this year, and they have a terrible 1-8 record at Adelaide Oval.
Dockers skipper Nat Fyfe booted 0.6 against Hawthorn last week, and his goalkicking will be firmly in the spotlight against Adelaide.