AFL umpires boss Jeff Gieschen has admitted Carlton champion Chris Judd deserved more free kicks last week when being tagged by Fremantle’s Ryan Crowley.

Crowley’s shutdown job on Judd drew the ire of Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett, who tweeted that the Freo midfielder was “a joke” and should “play the ball, not the man”.

Speaking on AFL.com.au’s weekly programĀ It’s Your Call, Gieschen said Judd was unlucky not to receive more protection from the umpires.

“By and large Crowley did a terrific job, but quite clearly during the game there was a couple of times we missed free kicks to Chris Judd,” he said.

“But this can happen any week.”

Gieschen noted that the umpires were aware of a growing trend of new tactics by taggers this year.

“We are on the record of saying that taggers are very subtle at the moment – they’re grabbing low down on the shorts, they’re grabbing wrists, they’re being very cunning with the way they’re doing it,” he said.

“We’ve noticed in the last couple of weeks in particular the tagger has been taking more liberties and we just need to make sure we’re very vigilant in that area.

“The bottom line is we’ve just got to protect the ball player.”

The show highlights other controversial umpiring decisions from round five, including whether a free kick given against Jack Redden for tossing an opponent’s boot should have been paid.

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