Sam Switkowski during a Fremantle training session. Picture: Fremantle FC

FREMANTLE forward Sam Switkowski has backed the AFL's crackdown on run-down tackles, saying his brain is what he wants to safeguard the most.

The League announced on Tuesday a number of rule tweaks aimed at providing further protection to players' heads.

Any player who decides to leap in the air for a smother now has a greater responsibility to protect their opponent.

An extra focus has also been put on run-down tackles with the AFL keen to avoid incidents in which players' heads are driven into the ground.

It comes as the AFL deals with an ongoing class action from dozens of former players against the League relating to concussion.

Switkowski is a tackling king with his ability to run down opponents a key facet of his game.

Sam Switkowski tackles Conor McKenna during the match between Fremantle and Brisbane at Optus Stadium in round 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

But the 27-year-old is fully supportive of the new rule tweaks.

"I'm all for the AFL bringing in rules to help protect players’ heads, I think it's super important," Switkowski told reporters on Wednesday. 

"It's a little bit hard out there because instinctively you grow up and you're taught to bring players to ground.

"Especially as a small player, the easiest way to hold onto someone especially a big fellow is to use their momentum to take them to ground.

"So there might be more caution (in how we do it now). 

"The brain is the most important thing, for me at least. I'd rather lose a dysfunctional body part than my brain."


Switkowski said it was up to the chasing player to execute a better tackle.

“We never intentionally go out there and think about getting someone's head into the ground, so it might just be a little bit more caution," Switkowski said.

"I find it's not too hard to (avoid driving a player's head) into the ground, because if you are doing that you're probably pushing them forward and it's a good chance you’ll give away a push in the back (free kick).

"(It's) not necessarily a technique change but probably more of a mindset change, just being a little bit more careful.

"I like to try and grab an arm or something and if you can get a holding-the-ball free kick from just making them dispose of it incorrectly through dropping the ball or something, it's pretty effective."


Switkowski looms as an even more important cog of Fremantle's set-up this year following the shock departure of fellow goalsneak Lachie Schultz to Collingwood.

"It was disappointing losing him last year, he's a close mate of mine and a gun player," Switkowski said.

"There's no hard feelings. I hope he does really well at Collingwood."