Rucking Punt

Lads, with all of the talk around varying set and forget ruck options, I thought that I would do some analysis on the main candidates. Assuming that most sides are running with the Giles and Big O options as 3 and 4.

For this analysis I have used what i deem to be the 7 most popular ruck options..being:

  • Cox
  • Goldstein
  • Sandilands
  • Leuenberger
  • McEvoy
  • Mumford
  • Jacobs

Sooo… how do they stack up?

Firstly lets take a look at 2011 and some of the key stats.

On average I think that most of us would be happy if our 2 starting rucks are averaging over 90 per game, so how many times did they do that?

  • Cox 76% (19)
  • Sandi 75% (9)
  • Goldstein 71% (15)
  • L Berger 68% (15)
  • McEvoy 55% (12)
  • Mumford 47% (9)
  • Jacobs 47% (9)

These guys amass there points in 2 distinct ways.. either Disposal or Tap and Tackle.

Disposal %

  • Cox 45%
  • Sandi 42%
  • L Berger 42%

The remainder are under 40%. Mumford, Jacobs and Goldstein fall in to the tap and tackle category

T&T Category %

  • Mumford 59%
  • Goldstein 53%
  • Jacobs 50%

McEvoy is the interessting one who is a good blend of the 2 at 38% disposal rating and 42% T&T.

If we also compare the start of the year to the finish of the year.

Player R1-12 R13-24 Diff
McEvoy 90.9 86.1 -4.8
Goldstein 101.4 97.3 -4.1
Leuenberger 85.2 100.7 15.5
Cox 114.6 94.4 -20.2
Mumford 83.9 99.7 15.9
Sandilands 103.1 77.3 -25.9
Jacobs 78.1 94.7 16.6

Mumford, Jacobs and Berger flew home in 2011… whilst Cox and Sandi started in a blaze of glory (obv Sandi’s big toe affected his output in the latter part of the year). McEvoy and Goldstein were very consistent.

All have a very high ceiling with Sandi having the lowest ceiling at 129.

Looking ahead to 2012 and what kind of draw these guys have.

Goldstein and Jacobs both play GWS and GC twice and based on last year..ruckman like playing GC…so am assuming that similar scores will play out against the Giants.

The below analysis looks at the teams that each ruckmen play twice and their 2011 average against that team. (where rucks play GWS am using GC average)

Goldstein GC WCE ESS WB GWS 86.8
Leuenberger CAR MEL GC WCE WB 90
Mumford GWS HAW WB STK GEE 108.8
Sandilands PA ADE RIC WCE MEL 98.3
Jacobs PA GEE GWS FRE GC 101.3

So how do you work out what is the right combo for you?

Personally I am taking my rucking punt on Mumford/Jacobs combo… both are number 1 ruckmen at their club with no real competition, both play GWS twice, with Jacobs playing GC and PA twice. They are both fit for the first time in a while and play easy games early which should  equal out their discrepancy around performance through the early and latter part of the year. Their price is nice leaving some room to  upgrade in other areas.

Any way hope this was useful and hit me up for further comments or analysis…as i have it all.



  • 1st :)

    Great timing for the write-up! i was just working out my rucks trying to decide between McEvoy and Cox! i think St Kilda have the better start to the season and then if i dont syb ‘ll trade McEvoy for whoevers firing at the bye!

  • Tossing up with sandi/Jacobs or sandi/Berger … Jacobs would save me some coin.

  • I wonder if all these posters get so excited about coming first with their missus. Probably not. And I sure as hell hope they don’t should out ‘first’ if they do come first.

    That aside, I’m glad to see a ruck article up, as this year seems to be the most hotly contested ruck options for the past few seasons. No longer is a Sandi-Cox a lock, it’s not even seen as an option by some coaches.

    Personally, I’m thinking of using one premium only, and then GIles, Stephensen, and a rookie on my bench (Rowe/Derickx). This gives me cash to turn 2x 300k options in my DEF/FWD into keepers off the bat. Then I can upgrade to decent rucks after byes, when it’s shown who will sink and who will swim.

    And for those who say this strategy is a waste of trades in upgrading them, I would spend the same amount of trade upgrades in other positions, but my starting lineup could score 20-30 pts per round in the correct fwd/def/mid options.

    • I’m in the same mindset also.

      Sandi/Cox/Burger then Stephenson, Giles & Rowe.

      Leaving money elsewhere.

    • yeah i agree… you could have have a backline as 4 guns 5 rooks for example and 3nout of the 5 rooks has to play each week, where as in the ruck only one of three have to play each week and we know giles will… so IMO the 1 gun 3 rookies is a very safe way to spare cash

    • That is very funny!!!

    • Hey RL, crunching the numbers… to work do you want the Big O to average about 80 as premo rucks will average 95 I reckon +- 5. Then your two mid pricers (any two) eg. grimes and lake trading them to two premiums.

      Does it discount the possibility that your two midpricers may score keeper averages which is why your punting on them? What about turning your singular weakest rook into a premo and keep your smokies mate?

      Put it this way, I’m off to fanplanner to see what this could look like as a balsy move like 1 premo 3 rooks, if it works, could really set someone up for overall top 100, which I’m hoping to crack. Could be an epic disaster if either O or Giles don’t fire/ get injured.

      • Re: Giles.
        Giles will be the number one ruckman at the Giants with Lade coming in as his backup. Even if he doesn’t fire, the Giants have 0 ruck stocks. They have to play him unless they want to use O’hAilpin as a sole ruck, which no one wants to see, or use Downie, who will get dominated.

        As for the all important math (for mtooler):

        Option A – Premium Rucks
        Cox/Goldstein/Giles/Stephensen = $1,240,100
        Score: 100/100 = 200pts
        Bench: (70/70)

        Compare this to:
        Option B – Cheap Rucks
        HMac/Giles/Stephensen/Rowe = $588,700
        Score: 80/70 = 150pts

        The extra $651,400 you spend on premium rucks (Option A) gains you 50 points. That is $13,028 per point. Players are currently priced around $5000 per point. So you are paying way more than you need to.

        Additionally, this extra $651,400 if the difference of turning Connors or Lake into Broughton or Enright AND turning Pfiffer or Docherty into Hayes or Barlow AND turning Windelich or Miller or Morton into Pavlich or Zaharakis or Sidebottom.

        Option A (Premium Rucks/Smokies/Rookies)
        Connors/Docherty/Winderlich = $600,500
        Score: 70/70/80 = 220 pts

        Option B (Cheap Rucks/Upgrades)
        Broughton/Hayes/Sidebottom = $1,227,800
        Score: 90/95/95 = 280 pts

        So Option B not only nets you an extra $24,100 for the kitty, but you have three potential keepers instead of two, or if HMac become a keeper, four instead of two. This saves you four potential trades in upgrading, and can have an output of 10 extra points per round.

        So tell me again why this is a bad idea?

        • Wow deep stuff…very interesting though opened whole new can of worms for me….as if not hard enuf already…good work i imagine u being like one of them guys off The Big Bang Theory Lol ( no insult intended)…
          Nice article Warney (belated)…..

    • you make an interesting point, but i see ruck premiums scoring similar to other positions however i dont think thats the case with rookies

  • fifth!

    im going the no premo ruck combo and spending my money elsewhere;

    kruezer, hmac, giles, big o

    • risky i guess….. neither are their clubs number 1 ruckman, when giles will be and could average similar and stephenson will have a very healthy average is he is the number 1 ruckman… i think he averaged 95 in the VFL so he was playing against afl listed ruckmen most weeks.

      • VFL averages don’t always translate well into AFL form though. Brock McLean, Will Minson and Andrew McQualter all dominated in the VFL last season as well.

      • im a big believer in Kruezer and that he can average 90+ which will make him a keeper for me. if hmac doesnt set the world alight im sure he will still make $$. i think he will average 75 at a minimum.

        The other 2 should make a heap of cash and be cowed/upgraded eventually.

      • I’d say best case scenario you’ll get stuck each week trying to predict which two to play with each scoring between 40 and 100. But who am I to question the King? go for it.

        • i’ll stick with hmac & kruezer on the field, for the 1st 5 rounds at least and then assess from there…..

    • Good call, I’m not even selecting rucks and saving the four rookie prices for elsewhere.

  • Rpper article Rainman!
    Some very interesting stats indeed.

    • Thanks Guys,

      There are a couple of smokies that seem to stack up ok too. It is interesting given last year we were all running with Sandi/Cox and would not have really looked at the other 5 guys mentioned.

      Who will be the ones that prove us wrong this year? Maybe H Mac is back? Warnock, Maric, Martin, West? We may laugh now but I am sure there are one or two who will make my Rucking Punt next year.

  • Mumford and Leuenberger have almost identical numbers by averages, I’m kinda surprised there’s such a disparity between the number of people looking at Leuenberger as opposed to Mumford, though durability is also a concern.

    Personally, I think it’ll be Sandy Lands for me, I think he and Cox are still the two outstanding premiums of the position.

    • True.. I just wonder what Vossy plans for Big Ben Hudson are…and whether this may impact on the berger?

      Young ruckmen and injuries go hand in hand so hopefully all of the above guys can play out a full season and give us an interesting dilemna for next year!

  • Sandi/Cox

    • Otherwise known as the Gritty Dick combo …

      Nice article Rainman … I am personally looking at the Jacobs / Kreuzer combo with the standard Giles and Big O on the side … Both Jacobs and Kreuzer have the capacity to hit big tons on their day and I think Kreuzer is way underpriced considering he was a Number 1 Draft Pick … Best of luck with DT everyone, once again it should be an interesting ride. :-)

  • That average of 77.3 in the last half of the year for Sandi makes him very underpriced, surely you’d be mad not to pick him. Just need to hope that he has no injury problems this year…

    • Agreed

    • Yep. Sandilands is so consistent when fit. He always scores around that 95-105 mark. Doesn’t have that massive ceiling but he doesn’t bottom out as bad as the others can.
      Sandilands will be top 2 if he stays fit.

  • Cox and Sandi will be 1 and 2 by year’s end.

    • By average? Yes.

      By overall? Maybe.

      • Cox plays every game even when injured and Sandilands injury was one of the rarest ever… I’d be more worried about Mumford getting suspended or Hudson taking game time away from Luenberger

        • Cox I wouldn’t be worried about, but Sandilands has a history of missing a couple of games here and there, which brings down his overall total. In 2009 for example Petrie and Sandilands scored the same amount of points overall, despite Sandilands’ average being eight points higher. If you have good back up it may not cause a problem, but it is something to consider.

  • sandi, mcevoy (giles, big o)

    that way giles can cover each of sandi and mcevoys byes

  • Ayce Cordy anyone??
    New coach not really much else competition – hudson gone, minson too shit and only other is jordan roughead??

  • Who needs a premium ruck when you can have HMac (80’s average), Giles, Stephenson (70’s) and Rowe (few games) for a bit over the price of Cox.

  • rockin article!! after reading it its mcevoy out and possibly jacobs in or might even go the hmac/ 3 rook combo which seems to be getting a lot of thought from others also… either way mcevoys out. his 2nd half of the year was well on the slide. thanks heaps for the heads up!

  • awesome article!!

  • considering kreuzer and sandi but interesting to see how hmac goes in the nab cup

  • what about 4 rookies? I mea in the past fw years I have been burnt by sandi’s turf toe and rucks get injured, fact. so why not go four rookie ruckman?

    I was thinking
    giles (will play close to 22 and average 60-70)
    big O (if he plays will average 70)
    rowe ( looks set to play alot of games upfront for carlton and is travelling well in preseason)
    and derickx ( been trainin at full forward and looks the the third tall in hardwicks favoured system)

    after the byes I bring in two premos….

    am Icrazy or could it work?

    • HUGE risk, not a whole lot of reward (Are Giles and Stephenson really going to be THAT much better than rookies in other positions? And will Rowe and Derickx be guaranteed a regular gig?).

    • I would go one of Hmac or Kreuzer as your number 1 and 3 rooks.

  • For me SANDI is a LOCK for these reasons:

    -priced at a deflated average due to his toe injury
    -last year’s injury was a freak toe injury and shouldn’t trouble him this year
    -presents great value if he can return to his 2010 form and average
    -there is no reason why he can’t return to form with only a freak toe injury stopping him in 2011

    That leaves the question of who should partner Sandi.
    I think it’s out of COX, L’BERGER or JACOBS

    +best ruckmen in 2011
    +should have another good year (~90+)
    -over 30 years old
    -most expensive ruckmen

    +possible breakout year (2nd half improvement)
    +presents good value

    +easy draw
    +possible breakout year

  • R(F)ucking P(C)unt

  • I was thinking of going this, but turned it down for two reasons;
    a) Massive risk for job security and donuts.
    b) HamMac offers immense value, 80-85 average for 270k.

  • Im going for McSandy combo.. or Sandy Mac.. or laptop at the beach. whatever you wanna call it.. i think the 95 average of Sandi for his price and the 75-85 H-mac will get me close to 200 points a week…. for a bargain combined price

  • Berger / Sandi.

    However, strongly considering Mumford over Sandi – if he can avoid injury and suspension he will average over 100 for sure!

  • hahaha Warnie

  • not a whole lot of support for berger and maric. theyre the 2 i’ll play every week (plus stephensen and jiles, of course).
    – finished the year like a train
    – will get more game time with clarke gone
    maric is priced at 59 but will now be the number 1 ruck in an improving team

    • Maric played number one while jacobs missed some early games and had two good ones then died off i think. being number one ruck doesn’t mean points e.g. hudson/jamar. gotta pick someone who racks them up in the ruck and there’s a few who do.

      also Hmac scored well before goldstein became good – he used to share duties with petrie and hale a bit but i think goldstein is likely to ruck a lot more and Hmac be a foil in many games for petrie who got double teamed a lot last year. if goldy goes down hmac might score well

      • Agree on Maric. Good tackler, not much of a DT’er.

        On Hamish, how much he’ll score is uncertain, but he is definitely underpriced. Whether he’s better value than the rookies remains to be seen.

  • MMMMMMM a Sandi berger for me

  • Nobody thinking of playing Stephenson / Giles as your numbers 2 and 3? (beats me who would be number 4)

    Everybody’s pretty comfortable starting rookies in the mids / fwds / backs, so why not the rucks? Especially with a lack of good back / forward rookie options.

  • thinking of going unique and picking up berger and jacobs thoughts? otherwise its berger and mcintosh

  • Anyone know what Jolly is priced at???? what are your opinions on him???? Had a hard year last year with injury but still could get good avg……. and thoughts of the other pies

  • Luenberger – Kruezer – Stephensen – Rowe…. DONE

  • Sandi, h Mac, Giles, Stevenson

  • What should I go for?

    1) Sandilands, Giles (Stephenson, Rowe)


    2) McIntosh, Kruezer (Stephonson, Rowe)

    Please help!!!

    • 1st option looks better to me especially since the price of the rookies will raise as cash cows

  • Sorry but the SandiMac will be my combo then my two rookies will be Stephensen and Giles, looking at no trades used in my ruck through the bye rounds (bar injury)