Deck of Dream Team 2012: Tom Rockliff
I know many of you think my obsession with Tom Rockliff is unhealthy, and well, you would probably be right but I guarantee you would feel the same if you selected him from round 1 last year. The bloke is an absolute jet, but for the purpose of the Deck, I have stepped back and written this article from a non biased view. (Maybe slightly biased).
Why should I pick him?
In 2011, my boy Rocky had a secondary breakout where he took his average from 87 to the brink of DT elitism 112. One of the best things about Rockliff, apart from being a top bloke is that fact he puts in 100% each week. No matter the opposition or result, he never leaves a coach disappointed through lack of effort. Over his first 9 games last year, Rocky made steady improvements from the previous year, and looked on track to average around 100. Throughout this period, Rocky managed 4 outstanding 100’s which included 2 impressive scores over 130, and 5 sub ton scores of which only 2 were below 90, one of which was caused by an injury that resulted in being subbed off and consequentially miss the next 2 weeks. From this point, the real Tom Rockliff stood up, absolutely dominating the competition and showing why he was elevated to the leadership group despite lacking the experience of some of his teammates (He was also elevated to the leadership group of destROY on a number of occasions throughout the year). From round 13 to 24, Rocky showed he is ready to be considered in the elite group, topping the 100 point mark on every occasion including 10 scores over 110 and an awesome 151 vs the Eagles, eventually averaging 121 during this 12 week block. There are concerns that his brilliance will be recognized by opposition clubs and he will attract more negative attention from taggers, but while Simon Black is still playing, he seems to be a walkup to cop the number 1 most weeks. Apart from being a ball magnet, you have to respect Rocky’s all round game which is why he was able to score so consistently throughout the second half of the year. He is great at working to space for marks and on 2 occasions last year he managed double figures in the category, while he is also an outstanding tackler, registering 13 and 14 in his last 2 games of the year.
Why shouldn’t I pick him?
The only frustration from a coach’s perspective in regard to having Rockliff in your lineup is his teammate’s lack of ability to kick it to him. When I went to watch the Lions vs Hawks at Aurora Stadium, there was 3 occasions where he was open by 20 metres on the back flank, twice the ball went flying past him out of bounds and the other turned into a contested possession on the ground (which he won of course) but it cost him 3 points for a mark. As mentioned above, coaches must be prepared for Rockliff to receive close attention at times throughout the year.
Deck of DT Rating:
King- With an average of 112 for the year, Rockliff is considered a King although his form over the last 10+ weeks was definitely worthy of Ace status. This guy is an absolute machine, and is part of an improving Lions team which will be beneficial to his scoring potential. If you are scared off by Swan’s price, Rocky is your man. Get him in either as a single purchase or potentially part of the RedRock Berger combo. After tweeting Jack Redden and Rockliff about his pre-season progress, Rocky assured me he was flying, while Reddo seemed convinced he is fit, despite his inability to “lose his puppy fat”. I love the fact he has spent time in Arizona this pre season, look what that did for Swannie in the second half of last year. His chance of starting in destROY is 99.9%, ah who am I kidding? 110%.