Moments after Essendon coach John Worsfold extolled Ryan Crowley’s attacking potential, the most notorious tagger in the AFL proved the point.
Crowley took a big mark early in Friday morning’s intraclub hitout and looked lively as a mid-sized forward.
While Crowley has built a solid reputation as a tagger – and a pest – Worsfold said there is more to the former Fremantle veteran’s game.
“We shouldn’t forget he wasn’t drafted as a tagger – he was drafted as a good footballer, a midfielder who can run,” Worsfold said.
“He also has good goal-sense, which he really hasn’t been able to display over the last few years because he’s been an expert in another role.
“We definitely think he’s a player who will play an attacking role through the midfield.
“We know he can play tighter through the midfield if required, but he can definitely worry teams when he’s forward as well.”
Crowley is among eight players who have joined Essendon this season to help fill the spots of the 12 serving anti-doping bans.
Several, such as Crowley, come from successful teams and Worsfold said Essendon are picking their brains.
“With Ryan, we’re trying to tap into that – `what do we do here that’s at a lower level than what you did at Fremantle? And why is that? What benefit did you get out of that? Is that something we want to explore?'” Worsfold said.
Crowley found out last week that at least one of his young teammates is a quick learner.
No.5 draft pick Darcy Parish was paired with Crowley in midfield drills and the veteran noted the youngster was giving away too much space
“Then when they played against each other on the Friday, Parish did a couple of things he’d mentioned to him and took the ball away from stoppages,” Worsfold said.
“It was painful for Crowley when he saw a young kid actually just take that knowledge on so quickly and put it into play.”