BRENT Macaffer's preparation to play on the competition's best midfielders involves watching Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley do the same thing. 

The Collingwood tagger, who will likely guard Carlton captain Marc Murphy for the second time this year this Sunday at the MCG, is relishing the role he's now played for a season-and-a-half. 

Macaffer says he has great respect for Crowley, whose tactics have often created controversy, and watches him closely when it comes to planning for a specific opponent.  

"He's the No.1 guy for the past seven or eight years," Macaffer tells the AFL Record, in a feature interview that runs this weekend. 

"I think most guys who are tagging now would be stupid not to look at him and see why he's been so successful.

"It's his mental application and his discipline to his role. That's something I've taken out of the way he plays."
Macaffer's scalps this year include Murphy, Jobe Watson, Luke Shuey, Dom Tyson, Nick Dal Santo and Trent Cotchin.

In the AFL Record interview, he also speaks about the fall-out from the controversial job he did on Cotchin in round four, and how he felt when targeted by supporters on social media afterwards. 

Macaffer also recalls the disappointment and frustration he felt when he came agonisingly close to returning to the Collingwood team at the end of 2012 after a long recovery from a knee reconstruction. 

And, he remembers his great friend and former housemate John McCarthy, who died in 2012 while on an end-of-season holiday with Port Adelaide. 

"We still talk about him, and about the fun times we had," he said. 

"There were a lot of good times and a lot of stories are still told."

Read the full story in this week's AFL Record, which is available at all grounds.