Suck it up, work your backside off and don’t be distracted.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley says that’s what he would have told Scott Pendlebury if his captain was on the wrong end of what is now known in the AFL as a Macaffering.
Buckley is dismissive of what has happened since Friday night, when Collingwood’s specialist tagger Brent Macaffer shut down Richmond captain Trent Cotchin.
Macaffer’s tactics have reignited strong debate about midfield tagging.
But Buckley says the reaction has been hysterical.
“When I was playing and I got held, how I would expect to be coached and how I felt was that I just didn’t work hard enough,” Buckley said.
“I made it too easy for the bloke to defend me.
“On some occasions, when you’re going through learning how to deal with that tag, you realise … that you’ve put your hands up and given up.
“If that happened to Pendles, I’d be pulling him aside and saying ‘I know you’ve been through it quite a few times, but you didn’t work hard enough today’.”
There was a light moment in the debate when Buckley reflected on how he used to handle hard tags during his stellar playing career.
“I can tell you there were times personally … it didn’t happen very often … there was this one time …” the Brownlow Medallist said with a smirk.
But otherwise, Buckley is deadly serious that the reaction has been over the top.
He revealed Collingwood had contacted the umpiring department about the Macaffer-Cotchin duel and asked for any video examples of missed or unwarranted free kicks.
“They sent through two edits – one of them was questionable in our eyes,” Buckley said.
“Their feedback would be … that contest was umpired well, which is against the hysteria that has taken place over the last couple of days.”
Buckley also was unimpressed that umpires coach Hayden Kennedy had passed comment.
“With all due respects, I don’t really care if Hayden likes it or doesn’t like it,” Buckley said.
The ‘Pies coach again gave Macaffer full support for the job he did on Cotchin.
“He did it particularly well,” Buckley said.
“He’s a ball player; he’s a fair player; he’s a disciplined player; he sticks to his task and he did it particularly well.
Buckley added Pendlebury was expert at countering a heavy tag.
“Keep working, keep moving – get to the next contest,” Buckley said.
“Pendles does it really well. Don’t be a sitting duck.”
Buckley said there is no doubt where most attention will be at the start of Saturday’s game against North Melbourne.
“It’s going to be on Caf and whoever he goes and picks up and it’s going to be on Clokey (Travis Cloke) and probably Scott Thompson, if he picks him up,” Buckley said.
“The umpires are going to be under some duress – they’re going to be under some pressure. So are the players.
“Let’s play the game – it’s not in bad shape; it’s going alright.”