Tarrant Johnson 'too important' to lose Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse says he might have suspended Chris Tarrant and Ben Johnson over their roles in a Sunday morning brawl had they not been such important players. Malthouse, who made the final decision to select the pair to play against Adelaide on Saturday night, admitted the club's response to player disciplinary breaches differed according to their value to the side. "The fact that Chris and Ben are senior players crucial to the on-field success of Collingwood has influenced my decision," Malthouse said. "Had they been youngsters on the fringe of selection I might have thought a playing ban was in order for them." Malthouse, who made the comments in his column for The Australian newspaper, said he would be criticised for the stance. But he said he was just being honest about a view that every AFL club took internally, that there were different rules for different players. "You're kidding yourself if you think it would happen differently anywhere else," Malthouse said. "Different players get treated differently. "I believe so-called consistency is overrated, you make decisions on a case-by-case, week-by-week basis." Malthouse also said he doubted a stricter punishment would have acted as a "warning shot for younger players at the club". Collingwood skipper Nathan Buckley said the actions of Tarrant and Johnson were a "slap in the face for the whole playing group" but said they were remorseful for their actions. "I can tell you they're both pretty dirty on themselves to what happened and their part in it, the fact that they put themselves in that position," Buckley told the Nine Network's Footy Show. "It's something the club's not happy with, it's something they're not happy with." Tarrant's manager Paul Connors strongly defended the character of the Collingwood forward, saying the AFL star was "a wonderful young man". The club announced on Wednesday it had fined Tarrant and Johnson $5000 apiece for breaking team rules, after they were involved in a brawl outside a Port Melbourne nightspot around 3am last Sunday. A man was hospitalised after the brawl and the two Collingwood players are assisting police with their inquiries. Connors, who also manages Johnson, said Tarrant's character in particular had been maligned unfairly over the last day. "Yes, he has had a couple of indiscretions over the past few years, but generally he has worked very hard to address things," Connors said. "He's come down from the country as a 17-year-old from Mildura - the Chris Tarrant I know and the people who know him, know he's a wonderful young man. "People have a perception of Chris that I believe is not correct - the people who know Chris well, that being (those at) Collingwood, team-mates and his close friends, know him to be a very passionate person." Before the weekend, Tarrant had been involved in three off-field indiscretions during his AFL career that became public. Johnson, this year's Anzac Day medallist, was involved in two incidents during the 2003-04 off-season. Connors said his clients had been subjected to trial by media since Wednesday morning, when it was revealed they had been involved in the brawl. "What's disturbing is the manner in which the players have been treated, particularly by the media, as there seems to be no presumption of innocence," he said. Meanwhile, Sydney coach Paul Roos said on Thursday there was no strict rule on whether his players were allowed out late at night. "I think you have to pick and choose when you can and can't do it, obviously there is a big difference between a six-day break and an eight-day break because the bottom line is it does have an effect on your preparation." Roos said allowing players to socialise helped younger players mix with senior players, when they might otherwise find it intimidating to approach them.