Ryan Crowley's tactics have been criticised. Photo: Getty Images
Ryan Crowley's negative game-day tactics have been scrutinised again, with North Melbourne champion Brent Harvey the latest to object publicly to the approach of Fremantle's reigning best and fairest player.
After featuring in several feisty exchanges throughout last Saturday's qualifying final at Geelong, Crowley's day ended with a heated on-field discussion with Cat Steve Johnson.
While it's understood Crowley did not offend Johnson with any personal remarks, the Geelong player was said to be decidedly unimpressed by comments he considered to be unsporting.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon made the point, in the days before last weekend's final, that Crowley deserved the same protection from umpires as other players received.
Lyon also forecast that Crowley would be ''physically targeted on and off the ball'' in Geelong.
There is recent history between Crowley and Harvey after the Fremantle player was fined $1200 in June for pinching the North Melbourne veteran in round 13.
Harvey responded to Crowley angrily after the siren of that match and Fremantle's attempt to fight a report failed.
Upon reviewing footage of Crowley's latest skirmish with Geelong players, Harvey told Channel Nine: ''Clearly I'm not the only one that's a little bit upset with him.''
In what sounded like a backhanded compliment, Harvey said: ''I think he's a really good tagger. Obviously he's the number one tagger in the competition.
''I think sometimes he oversteps the mark with some of the things that he says and does.
''I think certainly we [Crowley's opponents] should be getting a lot more free kicks when you're not looking at the football and stuff like that … I think he doesn't need to do some of the things he does because he can get away with just tagging. And again, he's a very, very good tagger.''
When the case was put that Crowley was just doing his job - and that he was clearly doing it very effectively - Harvey responded: ''I agree 100 per cent … if that's the way he gets a game each week, I'm sure Ross Lyon absolutely loves him. So keep doing what you're doing and you'll get a game every week.''
Former North Melbourne premiership player David King said that Harvey could come to regret the public complaint he made about things that Crowley allegedly said on field. ''It surprised me that 'Boom' [Harvey] would say that because all the talk was about the pinching and that sort of thing that went on. He didn't actually mention the pinching and he probably should have said 'look, he pinched me', and it would have been done … he was reluctant to say it last night, but he's already said it at the tribunal,'' King told radio SEN.
''But the verbal side of it, I'm not sure what you could say to a player who has played … 370-odd games of footy that could put him off. And I think Boom probably shouldn't have said that, because that will come from everywhere now.''