My Bargain Ruck Theory has developed over three seasons to become what it is today. I honestly believe in it and believe it can work if the correct players are selected.
This season I have decided to not waste money on a ruck because lets face it, unless you have the $450,000+ to spend on the top ones they struggle to get 70 points. This season I have used this money to help my backs and midfielders out. So far my team looks like this:
DEF: J.Bowden, C.Cornes, N.Malceski, L.Hodge, A.Raines, J.W.Smith, R.Pettard
Subs: S.Hill, J.Grimes
MID: J.Bartel, G.Ablett, J.Corey (c), D.Swan, B.Cousins, T.Boak
Subs: D.Rich, T.Swift
RUC: B.Renouf, T.West
Subs: M.Pyke, A.Graham
FWD: M.Pavlich, B.Harvey (vc), S.Lucas, S.Higgins, T.Hentnchel, C.Yarran, S.Sidebottom
Subs: S.Gumbleton, H.Ballentyne
As you can see I have gone for the forwards who are coming back from injury, as well as some highly rated rookies. I see forwards as generally good scorers and if the likes of Hentschel and say Lucas or Higgins can start well then there may be an early trade to get a better forward in. the second ruck spot behind Renouf is a bit of a worry and will go to whoever actually plays (well, this is the theory for all the rucks. I need to wait until round one teams come out before the final decision is made.) The team above was given a potential score from FanFooty of 1740. Lets discuss this.
With this theory, you can pretty much gaurantee 100+ points from Pavlich, Harvey, Bartel, Ablett, Corey, Swan, Cornes, Bowden and Hodge with your 60-70 points coming from Lucas, Higgins, Boak, Cousins and Malceski. So far this equates to 1200-1250, not including the captain bonus. that leaves 8 players to score the last 800 to crack the magical 2000 points. Now, we know this won’t happen but neither will Ablett getting 100 flat each week. some weeks he will get 120 (likely) others may only be 90 (not likely).
I will now post the maths of the players who played games last year to give a bit more of an indication why i have sacrificed the rucks.
Player (2008 DT Ave.):
Swan (102.5) 22 Games
Lucas (50.2) 9 Games
Pavlich (99.3) 19 Games
Hodge (96.3) 17 Games
Pettard (45.5) 2 Games
Higgins (47.7) 4 Games
Ablett (111.7) 18 Games
Bartel (113.2) 22 Games
Corey (109.3) 22 Games
Grimes (42) 1 Game
Harvey (94.6) 22 Games
Smith (55.5) 2 Games
Cornes (85.5) 13 Games
Bowden (98.3) 18 Games
Raines (53) 2 Games
Malceski (57.3) 9 Games
Boak (83.1) 17 Games
This gives us a score of 1345 from 17 players. Not good but lets take out players who played less than 12 games. this now gives us a score of 994 from 10 players. Looking much better now. Now lets take into consideration the rucks:
West (33.3) 6 Games
Renouf (47) 5 Games
Both offer nothing but can give you 70 vital points and a now total score of 1064 from 12 players. This is a potential combined cost of $356,400 for 70 points isn’t too bad but not too good either. Let’s remember we are effectively playing with only 21 good players here but the upside is we have potentially saved $400,000-$500,000 to spend elsewhere.
If we were to consider the injured players and say they will play 30% better without injury the scores will now equate to 1451 from 16 players. Definitely respectable and competitive. 30% is a bit conservative but for the sake of this post it will be acceptable.
Of course there are some players like Hentchel, Gumbleton and Cousins that we are not sure about. If we were to say Cousins was to average 80 and Hentchel 60 then this gives us 1591 from 19 players. Add in the 70 form the rucks and it is 1660 from 20 players. Now, this doesn’t look really good but you must realise that this system does rely on injury players and doesn’t take into account players who will raise or fall in score. If the last two players were to score 120-150 between them this now raises us to 1780-1810. To bank an 1800 points each week would be a pretty good start I would think.
This system does take some guts, a gamblers instinct and the hope that some players will both come back from injury and rookies that will play. There is also questions over some players. there is obvisually more money to be saved from not taking the likes of Hill and instead picking Suban (saving $56,000), Rich for Beams, Zaharakis, Shuey or Andrew Collins (saving $40,000), Cousins for Lockyer (saving $4000) or either Pettard or Grimes for Hurley (saving $67,300 and $51,800 respectively) or Mat Maguire ($56,600 and $41,100) or either Suban or Trengove ($115,300 and $99,800), and finally Yarran for Robin Nahas (saving $46,300). At the most this can release a possible maximum of $362,000. Now, you may be saying “Why not use this spare money to buy a good ruck?” Well, why have a theory if you go against it to make yourself feel better? Here is another team that I have drawn together with the spare money:
DEF: J.Bowden, C.Cornes, N.Malceski, L.Hodge, B.Goddard, J.W.Smith, A.Raines
Subs: N.Suban, J.Trengove
MID: J.Bartel, G.Ablett, J.Corey (c), D.Swan, A.Cooney, T.Boak
Subs: A.Collins, T.Swift
RUC: B.Renouf, T.West
Subs: D.Currie, J.Giles
FWD: M.Pavlich, B.Harvey (vc), S.Lucas, S.Higgins, T.Hentnchel, A.Nahas, S.Sidebottom
Subs: S.Gumbleton, H.Ballentyne
There is still some cash to save but for a team you need 22 on the ground. I have tried to get 30 players that will most likely play. FanFooty gives me an 1800 for this side. You may ask “Why not just take in this team? It’s 60 points better off.” Well, remember the cash cows? They are the ones I will trade later in the season to upgrade the forward line. Is this side really a 60 point better side? well that is debatable. It really depends on what the rookies do and I tend to have faith in players like Pettard who have been in the system for a while more so that the highly rated rookies like Yarran and Sidebottom. I am also a fan of injury-return players. Everyone loves them. Murphy from last year was a revelation and this year I think it will be Higgins and Lucas. Hopefully Malceski can get back his form from two years ago and Jesse Smith is ready to explode. Like any DT side though questions will be asked about Raines, Hentnchel and Cousins but I have faith in both this system I have developed and my team.
I was roundly ridiculed and abused for going into the season without a quality ruck (read: Dean Cox) and instead going in with four rookie rucks and redistributing the money into my midfield where I believe more value is to be had.
Last year was my first foray into following a theory with DT, and although I didn’t end up going too well I stuck with my theory throughout the season.
My starting team last season was:
DEF: Goddard, C.Cornes, Malceski, Hodge, R.Houlihan, Raines, Hill (Petrenko, Suban)
MID: Ablett, Bartel, Corey, Cousins, Swan, Boak (Anthony, Rich)
RUC: Bellchambers, A.Browne (Jacobs, Spencer)
FWD: Franklin, B.Harvey, Higgins, Skipworth, Ziebell, Ben Reid, Deledio (Sidebottom, T.Walker)
To start with I got hurt by swapping Braughton out for Suban, listening to Wallace and not going with Angus Graham in the ruck instead of one game Browne, Cousins hurt me, Bellchambers hurt me, Harvey hurt (low scores finished off by an injury) and Malceski hurt. I also was forced to play with less than 22 on the ground a number of weeks but was still pulling in 1850-1950 those weeks and didn’t really get stung until the last few rounds (the DT finals rounds).
The trading went as follows:
OUT Wright ($136,100) IN Brennan ($308,300)
OUT Ross ($246,600) IN Wilson ($75,300)
OUT Petrenko ($140,400) IN Gilbee ($315,400)
OUT Higgins ($345,900) IN Riewoldt ($431,000)
OUT Suban ($176,200) IN Silvester ($75,300)
OUT Franklin ($273,200) IN Chapman ($439,200)
OUT Cornes ($347,400) IN Lockyer ($373,700)
OUT Ziebell ($273,300) IN Ballantyne ($86,600)
OUT Walker ($212,700) IN Wright ($86,600)
OUT Raines ($190,500) IN Ross ($238,000)
OUT Krakouer ($275,400) IN McGlynn ($274,500)
OUT Hill ($251,500) IN Grimes ($186,400)
OUT Meesen ($148,800) IN McIntosh ($358,800)
OUT Cousins ($364,000) IN Coughlan ($176,400)
OUT Harvey ($371,400) IN Johnson ($406,400)
OUT Skipworth ($250,800) IN Krakouer ($294,300)
OUT Bellchambers ($176,000) IN Meesen ($86,600)
OUT Browne ($75,300) IN Graham ($86,600)
OUT Reid ($156,800) IN Brown ($115,100)
OUT Malceski ($298,800) IN Harding ($292,800)
So I feel the trading I did ok but not outstanding. The one thing that did help was not selecting Cox as the injury bug hit him and a lot of teams.
This year is a bit interesting and requires a bit more thinking. The lack of outstanding back and forward rookie options will make the whole selection process interesting. At the moment my team looks like the following:
DEF: Goddard, Hodge Buckley, Hurn, Drum, Waters, Ladson (Hunt, Sheppard)
MID: Ablett jnr., Gibbs, Stanton, Swan, Selwood, Trengove (Barlow, Kayler-Thomson)
RUC: Vickery, Lobbe (Trengove, West)
FWD: Riewoldt, Brennan, Dangerfield, Knights, Polkinghorne, Veszpremi, Gumbleton (Rockliff, Tapscott)
The reasons I have picked some of the players are as follows:
Drum: I rate this bloke and feel has doe pretty well when given an opportunity but will he get a go at Geelong?
Waters/Dangerfield: Under an injury cloud both but as long as they can perform and I can upgrade I will be happy here.
Gumbleton: I need a forward that is going to play and between him and Rusling I think these players are the most likely.
So right now before the actual DT positions are out are the following issues:
Goddard: If he isn’t a back Enright will come in here
Jack Trengove: If he is a forward he will play there and someone else will come into the mids
Bastinac/Cunnington: If they are named as forwards they will come in for Rockliff and Gumbleton
Bate/Wilkes/Adams: other options to come in but will really have to fit into my plans and available positions
Other issues are:
Gumbleton: Will he play? If he doesn’t and Rusling does there is a straight swap there
Buckley: I actually don’t think he will play so my backup for him will be any of X. Clarke, Kennelly, Polak or Farmer
Drum: Same players as Buckley are options as is Hunt on the bench.
Both Drum and Buckley not playing: Hurley, Drummond, Geary or Pettard and a rookie will come in.
So this should have all my dilemmas covered.
The rucks I have picked are for the following reasons:
Vickery: I feel he will play for Richmond all year alongside Simmonds and will hopefully build on his $200,000 starting price.
Lobbe/Trengove: One will play for Port but both will get a go so one will start on the ground and one will start on the pine
West: Someone has to back up Ottens and I feel West will get an early go at that.
I have waivered a touch this season to include Vickery. Originally I also had Hille but Now that it is speculated that he won’t play until towards round 9 I feel it is prudient to have an extra rookie ruck who I can trade out for Hille when he becomes available.
So the first part of the theory is complete. The next bit is where real planning and self control comes in. Trading.
What needs to happen here is I need to decide who are the keepers and who are the non-keepers and the possible keepers. Some are obvious and here is my current list:
Goddard, Hurn, Hodge, Ablett jnr., Gibbs, Swan, Stanton, Selwood, Trengove (this year’s Rich in my opinion), Riedwoldt, Brennan, Knights.
Barlow, Kayler-Thomson, Lobbe, Trengove, West, Gumbleton, Tapscott
Hunt, Rockliff, Ladson, Vickery, Sheppard, Polkinghorne, Veszpremi, Drum, Waters, Dangerfield, Buckley
So the immediate thought here is that I have too many players who I want to get rid of. If I need to get rid of all my keepers and possibles then that leaves me with only two trades, which could really hurt when injury strikes. I honestly don’t think this will happen but it is definitely something I need to keep in mind.
To summarise, This theory is that rucks are not worth the money due to more inconsistency than the average player. Yes, they can have blinders but their poor games tend to be very poor that is why I have chosen to redistribute the money saved here to upgrade a mid player to a premium to hopefully make a more consistent player.
I am sort of hoping people will open their minds and see this for what it is: an option that I have chosen to play and an option for others to tinker with if they choose.
Basically, two seasons ago I decided to go against conventional thinking and not play Cox at the time as I thought rucks seemed to be a bit more inconsistent than other positions. In doing this I selected rookie rucks straight up. This proved a masterstroke as Cox went on to get injured and I didn’t need to waste a trade.
With the extra money I saved in both seasons I have tried this I have had a midfield six that never got traded. 700 points guaranteed without thinking and always having a captain.
This season brings more difficulties into it for two reasons:
1. Gold Coast and the issues that come with them and;
2. New rule about interchange.
The first is a bit easier to deal with than the second. Because of the byes pretty much what I have tried to do is select no more than three players from the same team and tried to have sub coverage in the rounds where there are three teams with byes (for the early rounds only).
The second rule is where more thinking is required. Most teams have said the second ruck is dead (R.I.P.). This will mean the versitile player such as Jarrod Brennan and Tom Hawkins will be more valuable to teams. What this means to me is that more money needs to be spent on rucks as you need them to play and there is only a guaranteed 16 to play each week instead of the roughly 25 in other seasons.
Firstly, I have had a look at he cheap rucks available and pinpointed a few I like. I generally try to aim for rucks under $200k so my initial names are:
So seven players to fill my two ground spots.
I initially struck off Robert Campbell due to only being a rookie and Brad Moran due to Adelaide signing Jacobs.
Secondly, you need to look and see how a team will play. North is the most interesting as they have three very good rucks in Petrie, McIntosh and Goldstien. They have indicated early that all three will play but with early season operations to McIntosh at least both Goldstein and Petrie will play. All three are fairly versatile in positioning so makes it more likely all three will play when fit so I am not concerned about that so Petrie goes in.
Jamie Charman is old, injury prone, has younger players in front of him and a Brisbane youth policy that doesn’t help his cause. No thanks – but will watch in pre-season.
Mark Seaby is an interesting one. Sydney head-hunted him, got him, started him as number one then he got injured. He was subsequently overtaken by Shane Mumford so where does that leave Seaby? Well I think still as number one with Mumford up forward. I think both players are too good to not play. The loser here will be Mike Pyke who played well at the end of last season but if one of the rucks goes down then a midfielder will come in as Sydney also have pinch-hitting rucks. One to watch but I am confident he will be playing.
David Hale will be my selection if Seaby isn’t playing. He is a new signing at Hawthorn so will play and is a ruck which Hawthorn needs so again, will play. Interestingly enough I have Max Bailey as a bench ruck right now but David Hale is a definite player to be looking at but his scoring is a bit on the low side so he is #3 for me.
So now you can see my thinking and why I have gone with Seaby and Petrie.
So here we are after three seasons refining. I now feel that Bargain Ruck has a lot of potential. Also, you do not need to pump the extra dollars into midfield, try putting it into either the forward or back line. I have pushed a bit of money into the forward line this year as I feel there are enough cheap backs that will score well. You still get the cheap bench and rookie players to upgrade your rucks, but the rucks are the only players that need upgrading.