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? (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;

Aaron Sandilands

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.

Dean Cox.

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;

Shane Mumford.

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.

Ben McEvoy.

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.

Matthew Luenberger.

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?

Sam Jacobs.

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;

Ivan Maric.

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.

Will Minson.

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.

Hamish McIntosh.

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.

Matthew Kruezer.

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.

Trent West.

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.

Nic Naitanui.

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?

Zac Smith.

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;

Jarrod Witts

Wood has shown very little so if the ageing Jolly were to get injured this massive lad could be next in line.

Sam Rowe

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.

Orren Stevenson

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.

Jarred Redden

Bolter at port who could get games if Renouf flounders or Lobbe doesn’t come on. Had a good NAB game vs Cox.

Jon Giles

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?

Tom Derickx

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.

Josh Jenkins.

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?

124 Comments

  • so it seems mcevoy / hmac is the go to combo as it stands…..

    sould we call it the mcmac?

  • I have Mummy/Giles Redden/Big O.
    I think it is impossible to pass up the unique situation of having a Rookie ruck (Giles) who is 24, 99% to play all games and should score 70-80 points a week. I dont know many rookies who will score that many points in the other positions. The only risk is if Giles gets injured before he goes up in price or you trade him you are in deep shit.

    • yer i guess thats the risk unless you have money in the bank… if he goes down or has no form you can’t affford a worthy replacment unless you downgrade someone else.

      you think he will tire like smithy did lasst year? is giles there for the year or is he a cash cow on the field?

      • If it goes to plan I would like to upgrade him about round 7-8 to either Cox or Luenberger. They are in the same bye week as him so that seems logical to me.

  • How likely is Redden to get a regular game at the moment? The Port website has Lobbe listed as 4-6 weeks away, meaning Redden could potentially lose his spot three rounds into the season.

  • Until recently was going to go the 2 premos, 2 rooks option like last year which worked great. But HMAC looks too good to pass up.

    Cox, Hmac, Giles, Redden

    The only problem is the bye round 11 though I reckon I’ll be upgrading before then so shouldn’t be an issue.

  • everyone is saying hmac is flying and all that.. which he is

    but the nth coaches have come out and said that they have purposley given him all the time pre-season because they want to get him back from last year.

    i’m sure when the season starts goldy will get more time than he is getting now – he is too good a player not to use, he averages 99 last year! thats cox like!

    i guess hmac is priced well.. even if he scores 70’s it may be enough fo a while… im just not convinced that the scores he is getting now will translate into scores in the real season.

    i sense a mass exodus after round 2-3 or 4 when he scores a few 60s in a row and people wanna get off, it could be the start of ruck troubles ala a few years back with the clarke/seaby/kruz.. burn-trade-o-rama.

    ive been known to be wrong though!

  • also no love for west?

    he looks prime to break out

    • Nice write up mate, another one thats sparked everyones interests. Although not for me i could see West being a massively unique pick, i haven’t seen one person who has him or wants him…he’s barely on anyones radar. Quite capable of averaging 80-85 though…

  • Nice Write-up Mate. Im going with McEvoy and Jacobs this year.

  • I have Cox as my primo and cash cows West, Redden & Giles on the bench. Also have a sneaky Sellar in the backline so I can trade out a cash cow, slot in Sellar on to my bench, and trade in a primo backman.

  • I was originally doing the one premo, 3 rooks structure.
    But I’ve returned to the classic set and forget: Mcevoy, Jacobs (Giles, O)

    Also, on Mumford, I wouldn’t be too concerned about any competition at the Swans. Seaby is a specialist ruckmen and has only been used in Mumford’s absence. Pyke on the other hand (when in the side) is used in the ruck only when Mumford is resting – if he rests up forward then you can expect some +12’s.

  • My ruck options change by the week (day). I originally had Sandi, HMac, Giles and the big O.
    That then changed to Sandi, Giles, big O and Derryx.
    Currently, I have taken the huge punt with dropping Sandi due to the “rest” factor and now have HMac as my number 1. He is too cheap not to have. Giles looks good enough to average 60 – 70 so he will do initially as number 2. Stephenson is still there as he will get game time and therefore will increase in value as will Redden if he continues with his NAB cup form.
    I wonder how many more times this will change before round 1.

  • I’m starting with Sandi (depending on if he plays round 1) and McIntosh. Giles and Redden on the bench.

  • For me it has to Macca Macca Giles and Redden

  • Starting with Sandi and 3 rookies…aiming for a Sandi/Cox combo when, cross fingers cox price drops…
    I have a vague memory of Cox being cheap at the start of last year due to injuries the previous year…everyone jumped at him…
    Little worried after Sandi didnt play on weekend and notice he’s not picked for this week…
    Hope he play following week…sigh…If he doesnt, and isnt picked for round 1 may have to reverse the game plan and take cox and get sandi later…

  • PS @@ Stephan martin could go all right..he looked good against the pies…

  • I’m startin with the “Mac attack” mcevoy and Mcintosh with big o and giles on the pine.

  • At the moment i have Kru/Hmac with Giles/O, but i’m starting to think it might be a big risk starting with 2 mid price injury prone rucks…although i do expect both to rapidly rise in price.

    Adz you have got me looking into big West now since there’s not much talk on him, he did ave 76 behind Ottens last year and looks like he loves a bit of a tackle. Being the expected starting ruck with a large jump in playing time he should be looking at a huge jump…he is 102kg aswell so won’t be a push over at 25 years old…something to think about!

    • murt you freaker! you have an identicle ruck combo to me and identical thoughts after reading this article (on west). Still my gut says kreuzer will turn a few heads (and opinions) this year, so can’t see myself dropping him (especially with warnock out of action atm as well)

      • Haha hopefully we are both right then! Whats wrong with Warnock? i had no idea he was out…i just think Kru is set for a huge breakout year and i like the way he plays.

  • i see mumford as being the solitary ruckman at the swans this year with pyke and seaby as fringe players, he did it so well on his own last year with assistance from roberts thompson and alike so i don’t see why it would change. he could average 95 i reckon and a 50% chance of starting for me

    • Mumford and McEvoy are the two ruckmen who don’t really have any competition, so both should get heavy game time this year. Back up to probably come from Kozi and LRT/White.

  • Get two premium ruckman in there to start..save yourself alot of grief.
    Honestly, they are the two simplest positions to fill. Get a combination of Mumford, McEvoy, Luenberger, Jacobs, Cox, Sandi in and you will not go wrong. Get Giles,and whoever you like to make some cash.
    26 other more pressing problems.

  • Going with Cox, H.Mac (Giles, Redden) but will probably change again. I know i have 3 byes in rd 11 but Ill have upgraded by then. Going with the F*#k you bye’s strategy this year. Cox, easy pick.

    I just cant go past the value of H.Mac and I cant see my aggots growing enough by rd 1 to start a rookie ruck and back them till the upgrade, thats like 8 weeks!

  • Starting with McEvoy as my number 1 premium. Have Nic Nat in that second spot at present. Still undecided with that second spot. Just got a gut feeling that Nic Nat is gonna break out this season.

  • I think if you’re going to go set and forget you really need to pick Cox this year. He’s still going to be 200 points better than any other ruckman, and he’s one of the most durable available in the position.

    Hmm, interesting, I may have just talked myself into starting with Swan :P.

  • For me, Minson’s position as chief ruckman combined with his nab form and reasonable price make him a good option. Also can’t ignore Hmac, with Giles and Redden on the bench (Redden’s shown more than Orren as a 2nd ruckman).