Who will bring the Ruckus?
Finally! I hear you say, finally an article about the topic we all want to know about… Who the ruck am I going to pick in the ruck? Adzman goes through the names we’ve all been talking about, and more, to make up the ruck line in our Dream Teams.
Finally! I hear you say, finally an article about the topic we all want to know about… Who the ruck am I going to pick in the ruck? (Sorry, poor I know) Everybody seems to have a different opinion, and as a result for the first time in years we have more than just one cookie cutter team. We have premo laden teams with 3 rookie rucks, we have fence sitters taking a premo/mid ruck strategy and we have the set and forget people who have skimped elsewhere on the ground. Added to this is the fact that people think there will be a changing of the guard this year and our premiums of last year will be superseeded by a new group of super rucks……. So will it happen? What is the right strategy?
If I knew this I’d already be widening my garage for the FJ cruiser as we speak, but seeing as I don’t all I can do is my research like the rest of us. So with all this being said I thought it time to take a look at the many ruck options this season. They all have their positives and their negatives, let’s see who stacks up. I’ll rank them all with their own personal risk rating.
By now you’ll probably realise that my half arsed way of researching is less about stats and more about instinct so I guess you could take from any of this what you will! There will probably be a more in depth ruck article to come down the line, this is more about getting the DT talk community talking and see what everyone has on their minds for the all-important ruck spots.
Let’s start with the Ageing Premiums;
3 year ave. – 95, 97, 95
For years Big Sandi has been first picked in people’s teams, he has had little or no competition for his spot at Freo and he gets 40+ hit outs per week without even trying. But last years injury has raised doubts in some people’s minds, can he carry that massive frame around for another season?
Pros– he’s 211cm tall, he’s proven
Cons-he’s heavy and has been slowly succumbing to injury, coach has forecast rest.
Risk rating– Big Sandi gets a risk rating of 3 turf toes out of 10……. If you pick him you can’t really go wrong, he will score you the points you want, but there is the chance of injury/rest as the season goes on.
3 year ave. – 107, 84, 107
If Sandi wasn’t your first picked this guy was, he is the prototype DT ruckman, basically a loose midfielder running around the vast Subiaco surface getting possessions at will. He is coming off a career best season; can you afford not to pick him?
Pros- he’s proven, he’s a DT gun with an average last year of a whopping 107
Cons- He has just hit 30 years of age, he is very expensive and he is just starting to feel the heat from NicNat who will take more ruck time off him.
Risk Rating– Big Cox gets a risk rating of 3 NicNats out of 10. You can’t really go wrong with him, he is getting on in age but he still seems fit as a fiddle. The risk seems to come from an emerging NicNat which could leave Cox floundering up forward for long periods.
Now we head to the wannabes;
3 year ave. – 91, 79, 55
Instinct tells me the mummy will have a huge season but there’s just something niggling in the background that’s stopping me from buying him. The man famous for the sausage eating record at Bunyip is a brute around the stoppages getting loads of tackles and stats. He had a huge end to last season which usually leads to another break out.
Pros-plays in a stoppage heavy team, gets loads of tackle points
Cons- has competition from Seaby, Pyke and a number of others.
Risk Rating– Mumford gets a risk rating of 5 sausages out of 10. He could very well go and tear it apart this season but I just worry about the other rucks on the list stealing points, it’s only a personal concern, if you pick him he probably won’t let you down.
3 year ave. – 90, 58, 44
McEvoy seems like a bit of a dinosaur but he still manages to get around the ground well to pick up stats and marks. He is the lone big man at the saints (forgetting Kozi) meaning he should get points week in week out by default. He had a great break out year last year but you would think there is still some left to come.
Pros- Only decent ruckman at the saints, no competition for spots/game time
Cons- Possibly unproven as a super-premium ruck.
Risk Rating- Big McEvoy gets a risk rating of 1Dinosaur out of 10. I don’t see much risk at all in this pick, you will be picking him on the hope he turns into a super-premium and natural progression from last year should get him at least close to that.
3 year ave. – 92, 72, 46
Luey started the pre-season as a lock for a lot of people but many have been going cold for no particular reason. He is a high draft pick who finally hit his straps last season after being injury free. Natural big man progression should see him boost his average again into super status but will the addition of Hudson and Longer muddy the waters?
Pros- Looks to be a gun ruckman in the making, ready to explode
Cons- Hudson or Longer may mooch ruck time off him
Risk Rating– Big Luey gets a risk rating of 4 Hudson’s out of 10. He is and will be a gun ruckman and DT’er it’s just a worry that Hudson has been plucked from retirement and Longer has already shown a bit, how much will they play?
3 year ave. – 87, 69, 44
Jacobs has impressed me as a player ever since he snuck into the Carlton team as a rookie upgrade a few years back. He is mobile, strong and had a solid year last year with a few huge scores in the mix. Like the rest of the wanna-be premos he had a solid break out last year and natural progression should see him really bump it up again.
Pros– Only real ruckman on the list, super easy draw
Cons– Still yet to prove himself fully, red hair.
Risk Rating– Big Sam gets a risk rating of 2 ranga’s out of 10. I personally don’t think there is much risk at all; he has an easy draw and no competition for spots, it’s just a matter of if he can take the next step in consistency and output. There is also the risk of red rage but he has shown no inclination thus far.
Todd Goldstien. 3 year ave. – 99, 74, 50
Goldstien broke out massively last year to surprise everyone in the absence of big Hmac. He is mobile, athletic andwas scoring points at will. Now Big Hmac is back and it remains to be seen how the dynamic will work.
Pros– Proved last year to be a premium scoring ruck gun
Cons– Hmac is back, along with Petrie, they have a lot of talls.
Risk Rating– Big Goldy gets a risk rating of 7 Hmac’s out of 10. It’s a high price to pay for somebody who may have his ruck time and points halved because of the in house competition. If however the dynamic works you could pick without hesitation and you would have a relative unique.
Now to the mid pricers;
3 year ave. – 59, 57, 54
Maric moved from the crows to the tigers this year in a move that both will say was for the best. The tigers think he can take them past 9th and he would think this is the chance to prove himself after Neil Craig’s poor treatment of him. For mine he has always been a bit of a foot soldier but it’s not unheard of for a ruckman to break out late. He has started well in the pre-season so I guess it could be wise to keep an eye on him.
Pros- Experienced, mean mullet.
Cons– Richmond has a horrendous draw, other rucks on list pushing him.
Risk Rating– Big Ivan gets a risk rating of 8 Neil Craig’s out of 10. It would take big balls to pick him in your side but players have been known to play out of their skins at a new club. Has looked good so far.
3 year ave. – 73, 63, 67
Minson has had a bit of a torrid time of it under Rodney Eade, also he was understudy to other ruckman so was forced to play forward a lot. After being dropped to the 2’s it seemed he had been well out of favour but now that Eade and Hudson have gone it is Minsons chance to stake a claim as the dogs number one. Has started the preseason well.
Pros– Number one ruck at the dogs, experienced body
Cons– Can he actually play?
Risk Rating– Big Will gets a risk rating of 6 Eades out of 10. He was often slated by Eade but now looks good to take the number one ruck role at the dogs. Would be an ambitious pick but if you are playing a mid-price strategy you could go worse than picking this guy, he could make your season.
3 year ave. – 79, 80, 90
Hamish is a DT favourite for a lot of coaches and at his price he is being considered by more than a few. He is coming back from a dreaded achillies injury which have been known to cause issues. He has to push past Goldstein in the ruck but form so far has been super.
Pros– Proven player, cheap, good early form
Cons– Achillies injury, Goldstein
Risk rating– Big Hmac gets a risk rating of 5 Achillies out of 10. At his price you can’t really go wrong but the big risk here is how the dynamic with Goldstein works, if Hmac gets his fair share he will be a steal.
3 year ave. – 65, 75, 75
Kruuz has teased since his debut but injuries have seemed to hold him back from fulfilling his potential. Every year we hear that he is flying but same thing happens. Personally he seems a little undersized to be a dominant ruckman and will forever suffer like Josh Fraser. Will he be a ruck or forward?
Pros– Able to play a few positions, seems fit
Cons– Injury prone, a lot of talls to compete with.
Risk rating– Big Kruuz gets a risk rating of 7 scalpels out of 10. He could come out and blow us all away this year but he could also get injured…. Your call.
3 year ave. – 76, 46, 13
All of the break out rucks from last year had a similar set of averages… they went from 40s to 70s to 90s. West averages tell us he is in prime position to break out this year. He has just taken over the number one slot and has looked good pre-season.
Pros-Figures indicate a break out year, number one ruck, good early form.
Cons– Has he shown enough in his career? Big Orren factor?
Risk Rating– Big Westy gets a risk rating of 6 Orrens out of 10. Basically it all depends on how much time Big O gets in the middle. Teams don’t recruit 29 year olds to sit and rot in the 2’s so it’s a definite concern. Must monitor this situation.
3 year ave. – 75, 61, 52
Nic Nat has been coming along nicely, transcending that line from athlete to player. He will probably never be a ‘footballer’ as such but the mere fact that he is such an athletic freak will take him most of the way to being a star. Should step up again this year and take more time still of Big Cox.
Pros-Athletic freak! Mean dunker.
Cons- No football brain, competing with Cox for ruck time.
Risk rating– Big NicNat gets a risk rating of 6 dreadlocks out of 10. He is a freak there is no doubt about it, but I still see him drifting in and out of games, he can do anything on the footy field but will he boost the average up enough to be a keeper?
1 year ave. –71
Smith flew out of the blocks in his first AFL year and changed our ruck mindsets completely in the process. If a mature ager can compete and score well in a new team why couldn’t it happen again? Smith tired toward the end of the year and his average slipped to a nice price. Can he come back in year two and break out fully?
Pros– proved he has the tools to play, no competition
Cons– can he back it up?
Risk Rating– Big Zac gets a risk rating of 3 out of 10. Not a lot of risk here really, he has no competition and has shown he can play the game. The risk comes from the fact we don’t know if he can back up from last year, and if he can actually increase his output enough to be a keeper.
Finally we look at the cheapies;
Wood has shown very little so if the ageing Jolly were to get injured this massive lad could be next in line.
Mature age recruit who showed a bit up forward in the SANFL, has a lot of competition for spots but dual eligibility is a plus, monitor the NAB.
29 year old who will surely get games, injuries at Geelong mean it is only he and West, should score enough to make you worthwhile money.
Bolter at port who could get games if Renouf flounders or Lobbe doesn’t come on. Had a good NAB game vs Cox.
This year’s Zac Smith. Mature age in a team with little ruck options, needs to be in your squad, is it on the bench or the field?
Has been trailed as a forward, this mature age recruit had a year ruined by injuries. He is coming from a long way back and needs to get past a few other players but could be an option.
Was head hunted by Adelaide for a reason. Can play and has the size to compete, they only have one real ruckman so could get games if Jacobs gets injured or as a sub/back up. Played well in the NAB
So there we have it. Of course there are loads of other ruck option that I have not mentioned but these are the main guys that have crossed my mind. Getting the rucks right will have you a step closer to the car while getting them wrong will rule you out. So who do you like? Who are you picking? What strategy are you running with?