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The Art of the Tag

Matt de Boer has taken to his role as a tagger like a duck to water.

GIANTS tagger Matt de Boer has revealed the level of preparation he puts in ahead of tagging an opponent on game day. 

The 29-year-old, who had played primarily as a forward for the GIANTS over the past three seasons, has been one of the GIANTS’ best performers over the opening nine rounds playing a shutdown role on a number of the competition’s midfield stars. 

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De Boer has told The Footy Phil Podcast that the move was inspired by a premiership winner from West Coast.

“I think it was the only way I was going to get into our midfield,” de Boer said jokingly.

“I pestered Lenny Hayes over pre-season and planted a few seeds after seeing what West Coast did last year with Mark Hutchings, but I spent most of the pre-season on the wing and up forward. 

“In the final week of the pre-season they said ‘have a go at tagging Cogs (Stephen Coniglio) and we’ll see how you go’.

“I did that and tried to harass him as much as possible and then we tried it in week one and we’ve stuck with it ever since.” 

 

De Boer is known within the club as having an eye for detail and a penchant for preparation and organisation.

Those two traits have helped him greatly in his role as a tagger.

““I watch about two to three games with Lenny and I’m just looking for modus operandi of the opposition, a few tendencies and then I just try and break that down generally,” he said.

“Then put in a plan that if they do X I’ll do Y.”

The former Docker, who watched Ryan Crowley win a Doig Medal as Fremantle’s club champion while playing primarily as a tagger, has his own notes on how to successfully play the role of tagger.

“You’ve got to be able to cop heat on social media, I think I’ve ruined a few Super Coaches this week,” de Boer said.

“Concentration is one and discipline to task, so I put in a strong plan with Lenny and Leon, leading into the week.

“Then obviously, like Mike Tyson said, ‘everyone’s got a plan until you get hit in the face a couple of times’ so within that you’ve got to be adaptable. 

“These superstar players, they’ve got a bag of tricks so it’s trying to combat them, and I guess physically preparing well as well because sometimes you’ll play on someone who is super fit or super quick or super strong or a combination of all three.”