Collingwood's Sharrod Wellingham has reignited the focus on the AFL's ducking debate, challenging West Coast's repeated denials that they use the tactic to win free kicks.
Wellingham, who will be a key cog of the Magpies unit aiming to bring down the Eagles at the MCG on Saturday, believed that while brothers Adam and Scott Selwood received frees for their natural actions in going head-first for the ball, others had learnt to mimic their style to woo umpires.
West Coast coach John Worsfold and Eagles players have denied the strategy had been designed to get more free kicks.
But Wellingham said Collingwood players would be wary of the tactic and intended to refine their tackling technique for the battle which will reward the winner with top spot on the ladder.
"It can get pretty frustrating for us players, those blokes who do that," Wellingham said yesterday on Melbourne radio station SEN.
"It's a tactic and you've got to make your way around it. I think we might have to tackle a bit lower and maybe not worry so much about pinning the arms or what- ever and maybe just get them to the ground.
"But whatever tactic you take in, you're going to have to make your way around the fact that they might drop the knees or lift up the arms.
"I think it's instinctive for the Selwoods in that they kind of lead in with their head, as they do with every contest.
"When they do that, you're going to hit them high, but some other players are kind of watching them do that and seeing the amount of kicks they receive and making the most of the rule."
He said Luke Shuey was one West Coast midfielder who had perfected the craft: "He's very good at it and good on him."
Wellingham, who hopes to sign a two-year contract extension soon, has played predominantly as a forward this year.
He said the Magpies conducted a mid-season review during a camp at Port Douglas last week and were feeling refreshed and ready to attack the second half of the season.
It had been timely to recharge away from the daily training grind before the big clash with the Eagles.
"Definitely down here in dreary, old Melbourne ... getting away in the sun can be very refreshing," he said.Wellingham expected Ben Reid, Heath Shaw and Alan Toovey to return to the team.