One of the greatest taggers in AFL history, Geelong great Cameron Ling made a knack of stifling the best midfielders in the competition right throughout his legendary career.  

Taggers are the hot topic around the league, with a number of players being assigned run-with roles this season and many proving to be incredibly effective.  

Described by the likes of Sam Mitchell and Dane Swan as the toughest opponent they faced, Ling found a great balance of restricting whichever player he was assigned to, while also breaking forward to have an impact offensively.  

Ling discussed the return of the tag on this week’s episode of ‘To the Final Bell,’ while also describing what it takes to be an effective run with player.  


 "It was always Bomber Thompson's goal as a coach,’ Ling said.   

“He would show me vision of the really good taggers, like Adam Simpson in his early days doing run with roles and how he stopped certain players, but then also got plenty of the ball himself and influenced attacks. 

“The first time Bomber gave me a tagging role in a game, it was my second season and I played against Port Adelaide, specifically Josh Francou.  

“I was so fixated on just stopping him, I remember holding him off while one of his teammates came and picked up a ground ball that was sitting next to me and took off with it. 

“I knew in my mind it wasn't right, and Bomber said no, I'm not having you play like that and he dropped me. 

“It's all about how you get the balance between limiting that really good player and joining in the offense.”  

Ling went on to play 246 games across 12 seasons with the Cats, becoming one of the most feared opponents for many of the competition’s top midfielders. 

Collingwood's Dane Swan and Geelong's Cameron Ling compete for the ball during the AFL 2011 Toyota Grand Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Geelong Cats at the MCG, Melbourne.

One of the most effective jobs Ling did was in the 2011 Grand Final, keeping Dane Swan to 20 disposals and just one in the last quarter, after the Magpies on-baller averaged 32 disposals per game that season.  

The skipper also managed 20 possessions of his own, pushing forward to kick the last goal of the match as the Cats stormed home in the final term, in what would ultimately be Ling’s final AFL game.  

The Geelong great will be elevated to Legend status in the Geelong Football Club Hall of Fame this Saturday night, alongside a number of other Cats who will be awarded for their service to the club.