Finding Premo – Rucks


It wasn’t that many years ago that when it came time to pick our team, the first thing that we would do was lock in Cox and Sandi as your 2 rucks and then move on to the rest of your team. It was set and forget, you knew they would both smash it and every other ruckman was there to just make up the numbers.

How times have changed? Or have they?

Sandi has injured himself again, Nic Nat may or may not have OP, Cox seems like he will be running around for about his 80th year.

What we do have this year is everybody’s favourite rucking snack… The Berger! Yep Matty Leuenberger has received a heft discount from the wonderful folk at Virtual Sports and priced @ 233k. He must be seriously considered by every DTer if not a Monty at R2.

For comparison sake I have included Bergers 2011 stats in this article just so that we can have a similar comparison to the rest of the bunch.

There are a few exclusions in this analysis, but I chose the guys that I thought were either most relevant or most people are picking. Apologies to Smith, Kreuzer, Jolly, Jamar, Hale, HMac, Lobbe and others.

Also this year we have the luxury of having 4 decent rucks named as DPP: Cox, Nic Nat, Ryder and Roughy. Giving us all some extra flexibility when coupled with a Rookie priced Rowe, McBean or Sinclair.

So enough of an Intro… let’s go Finding Premo’s

I will assign a points value based on how that player ranks. 1 point for 1st, down to 15 points for 15th rank. At the end of the article, I will rank players based on those points. Obviously this is subjective on the way that I have chosen to measure them, but you will get a guide.

As usual, consistency is first



For the rucks I am using a benchmark of 90 points.

So how many times did they score 90 or over…and to be greedy.. % of time they score over 100


Next I will look at their Purple patch. The number of consecutive games that they score above 90


Now some of these players have had multiple spurts of consecutive games over 90, where that has happened, I have taken the higher average.

Here I introduce a new stat called “Beige Time”. This looks at how many times they score under 90 and what their average is when they score under 90.

This stat gives you an indication on what you can expect for when they aren’t firing. Clearly the higher the average the better.


Last measure of consistency is Standard Deviation… this is a fairly standard statistical measure, that in layman’s terms looks at the variance between highest and lowest scores (its more complex than that, but you get the gist).

For this the lower number is the better, however Std Dev can be deceiving as if a players floor (lowest score) is 100 and their ceiling (Highest Score) is 155 you would probably be happy with a high std dev, so I think it is important to also look at their % of time they score under 95.  I have then multiplied these 2 figures to get what I call an Acceptable Std Dev.




Now let’s look at ceiling… When they go BANG…. how BIG do they Bang!!

Whilst I rank consistently very high, it is also good to look at scores above 100 (this is purely me being greedy!)



Coming Home

Now let’s look at how these guys finished 2012.

Looking at the year in halves and going under the assumption that those that finished better than they started will continue that form in to this year.



Starting with a BANG!

How does there 2013 draw stack up?

Are they better to start with or to upgrade too?

I have looked at the teams they play prior to their bye and used their scores from 2012 to determine a rough average (this is obviously assuming they score the same, not allowing for any improvement or decline)


Lastly, whilst there is no ranking on the below, I think it is incredibly important to understand how ruckmen earn their points. Are they a Tall Midfielder?, A Lumbering Dinosaur? Or a Tackling machine?

This will all have a bearing with the new ruck rule… make of it what you will.




So there we are. All of the above does not take into account, role change in team, competition for the pill and a million other things but gives you a bit of a stat breakdown and a snapshot into more than an average.

How do they Rank?



Before I started researching this article I had McEvoy locked at R1 with Berger, but I can no longer deny the ageing legs of Big Cox.

I have a feeling that ruck strategy will be very pivotal this year.

I am sure that this will spark some conversation, let me know in the comments who you are starting with?


Cheers, @RainmanDT


  • good one RM!

    ive still got Zac Smith pencilled in pending further NAB form… he was huge in season one then had the downer last year. He has little competition, looks massive and fit this year and could have the belated 3rd year in!

    Big watch for me.

  • I’ve got Cox and Leuey ATM Locke in the rucks. Then once the dominant ruck makes himself apparent ill move cox to the forward line and bring him in.

  • Coxy must be almost ready for the Zimmer frame! Appears to have been around for ever! Great effort for a big man! By the way, what’s the new ruck rule all about?
    Thanks for these write ups been a get set : )

    • In around-the-ground ruck contests, ruckmen must stay at least 1 metre apart until the ball leaves the umpire’s hand. They are then allowed to make contact, but it’s likely that they often won’t have time for the all-out wrestle and a bit of a vertical leap can be used. So it’s thought that this new rule may suit the likes of NicNat over a Jolly or Jamar.

      • Thanks mate. Makes sense. Trying to move the rucks to being more of an old style utility and free up the play.

  • Excellent work as always Rob. While Cox appears to be dominant I think he will be overtaken by the Mullet this year.

  • ATM big mummy Ruck 1 should improve on his injury plagued season last year and the Berger Ruck 2 but also keeping an eye on what malthouse does with warnock this season

    • I agree cale had Mummy last year said I would never go back there but new season new thoughts.

  • Bloody magnificent Rainman. I’ve been happy with my Maric/Berger combo for a while now, and this article reinforces this. I was looking an Nic Natuini (NicNat’s Itialian cousin?) for a bit, but then I decided I wanted the best of the best. There are of course ruckman not mentioned here, personally I think H-Mac is going to do very well and Zac Smith certainly looked good on the weekend. To be honest I don’t think there’s much between the premo rucks I think, at the end of the year, it will be the structure of your Rookie rucks that see the game won or lost. Once again, a fabulous article and I look forward to more in the future.

  • Despite being ranked last I really think bellchambers is in for a massive year, 90+ average. All but garunteed the number one ruck spot now he is locked in as my r1 with leuey r2.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. He looked lean and mean in his NAB cup games and he will dramatically improve this year. 90+ for sure.

  • I’ve got the Mullet and Berger combo atm with Rowe on the bench. However, I’ve also got Big Cox up forward so effectively a 2 premium ruck depending on if Berger can get back to his best as per 2011.


  • Ruck is the only spot I haven’t chopped and changed so far (has it really only been a month since DT opened?). Still pretty happy with Cox & Berger on field, and Daw at R4. The only change I’ve made is to have Rowe as R3, instead of Witts. Hoping to bring in NicNat as a FWD once he comes back from injury, then switch between he and Cox when I need to. Roughy is my backup to that plan.

  • Kreuzer? Number 1 pick with undeniable talent. Was coming back from a serious injury last year and had a limited pre-season, yet he still managed a very respectable 78. Came home averaging 90 in the last month and a half. He’s not even 24. He’s had a solid pre-season. New coach. He will be the number one ruckman come year end. You heard it here first.

  • Great article Rainman and a fantastic series!
    I’m having my Berger with a side of Cox and this article makes me feel pretty good about that.

  • J Jenkins, not even a mention?I Have big Cox and Jenkins both dpp with C Sinclair sitting on my forward bench. With Mic Nat out for a while, Sinclair could get games before Lycett. S Rowe and D Currie as bench options.

  • I’ve got Cox and Berger locked, with Rowe and Grundy… Thinking I might try and bring Z Smith in though… Perhaps move Cox to the forward line to do so… Will likely change a million times before lock out!

  • Currently going with Coxy in the forwards with Jacobs and Berger 1+2 in the ruck. Also like Zac Smith and even Josh Jenkins with Tippett leaving, smashed it up in the game against Freo as well as his second NAB game. On the watch list.

  • Anyone thinking about Zac Smith at R1?

    Can easily beat his previous average of 58, surely?

    • Id wait to see how he goes in games 2-3 in the NAB before you consider jumping on that train. He should show improvement, but by how much?

  • I have the two Brissy boys in ruck ATM. Martin & Berger

  • No 1 Roughy for me i had him all last year No 2 berger Cox in the forward line and Daw and currie on the pine… Sam Row on the pine in the forward line Ruckman everywhere lol all the best folks Hey as a few of you know i am a sydney fan BUT i am not sure about Mummy at the minute..

  • This article is brilliant once again Rainman. Coxxy is a legend and deserves to be the highest priced ruck. Although there are a few up and coming players that will inevitably steal his mantle.

    My question to the lads is simple. Coxxy vs Maric?

  • I currently have burger at R1 with Vardy at R2, its pending on whether when HMAC gets back for the start of the season and also if vary gets a game

  • mcevoy and berger for me atm good choice or what?

  • Roughead, Leuenberger, Witts, Currie … Rowe in FWD bench. Glad to see Roughead not widely considered … hoping he will be a good POD this year. Not sold on Big Cox this year.

  • Goldstein is my number 1 them leuy. Hamish mac Moved on and Goldstein will be the dominant ruck man for north. Pretty fair price too just over 400k.

  • Brillant again Rainman! It’s good to see these distilled purely into numbers – it removes the subjectivity as much as possible which is difficult to do sometimes.

    This also confirms my intial thoughts of having Maric R1, Leuenberger R2 and Cox in the forward line. One thought I have is Naitanui will be eased into the season and spend more time in the forward line as he builds match fitness. The upshot is Cox will get more time in the middle, and hence getting more possessions and hitouts.