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Deck of Dream Team

Rowan Marshall – Deck of DT 2024

RoMar gets first hand to the ball, just like Hat Chat’s Deck Hand, Jake.

Player Rowan Marshall
Club St Kilda
Position RUCK
Price $1,036,000
Bye 0 & 15
2023 avg 115.8
2023 gms 23
Proj. avg 115
Draft range 1st round

Click here for 2024 Fantasy Classic prices.

There are many reasons we all love AFL Fantasy and one of those is that there are so many successful strategies and ways to play the game, none more so than in the ruck line in 2024. There is a saying which encompasses this: All roads lead to Rome. But in this case, do all roads lead to RoMar?

Why should I pick him?

SET AND FORGET BABY! Gawn are the days (pun intended) where there were only 2 names on our lips when it came to selecting a Set and Forget ruck line up… well kind of. There are realistically still 2 names but these changed hands dramatically in 2023.

English and Marshall not only took the game by storm but also our hearts, locking themselves in not just as comfortable R1 & R2s but also as top 3 players across the whole competition. Marshall’s 2023 average of 115.8 sits it as a top 5 Ruck season in the games history, sliding in behind 2 seasons of peak RuckPig Brodie Grundy, an adjusted Coronaball average for Max Gawn and of course Tim English this past year.

RoMar played all 23 games and finished the year on a tear with a last 3 scores over 130, a L3 average of 135 (plus a 138 in the Saints solitary final) and incredibly almost 10 points clear of the nearest player over this period. Captain option anyone?! He also has an incredibly high floor, as after his round 1 concern of 71 points, his only scores under 100 were 83, 96 and 99 respectively. Finally, excluding English, RoMar was also more than 600 Total points and 13ppg ahead of the next best ruckman in ‘23. This was after even being subbed in one game whilst demolishing the Suns!

Marshall was set up for a rise to fantasy stardom once we were aware of the retirement of Paddy Ryder, and fortunately for all fans we have not seen a change in St Kilda that suggests they will continue with anything but a single Ruck setup. Interestingly if we delve deeper into the stats, St Kilda ranked 2nd last in both Ruck Contests and Hitouts, so with their best stoppage player and tackler Jack Steele returning to full fitness, does this mean he could improve even further with another year solo rucking under his belt?!

Now you must be thinking at this point, it’s a no brainer? Everyone must have him so what’s the point? Well that’s where you’re wrong. At the time of writing RoMar is less than 10% owned, with an ownership less than an awkwardly priced George Wardlaw, suspension prone Toby Greene and a fringe 22 Matt Crouch.

Marshall avoids the early bye that hurts a couple of our other ruck prospects, and with no negative impacts when looking at the St Kilda offseason changes, he’s every chance to be the R1 this year.

AFL 2019, Rowan Marshall contract, St Kilda, new deal, re-signed

Why shouldn’t I pick him?

There is really only 1 reason not to pick Rowan Marshall and I think it’s obvious to everyone. And  no, surprisingly it’s not the fact he plays for St Kilda.

Unfortunately what comes with being a top 3 player in 2023 is a price tag that reflects it, $1,036,000 in fact. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t know what I’d do with a million dollars in real life (maybe we should ask @Obermullet), but in AFL fantasy I do know we are talking about almost 7% of our salary cap on one player. There is an argument you shouldn’t have even 1 player over the magic million dollar mark, but even if you aren’t in that camp there is certainly a limit, and are you happy with one of them being a ruck?

Reflecting back to the start of the article actually reflects on why his price represents even more of an issue, which is the endless possibilities from the former set and forget duo Gawn ($831k) and Grundy ($677k). Whilst their status as R1 and R2 has certainly changed since their amalgamation at the Demons, their separation this year has a lot of coaches drooling at the thoughts of a reunion in their fantasy teams. Priced 20% and 35% cheaper than Romar respectively, it’s hard to argue that the 2 premier rucks of the past 10 years couldn’t represent more value. Throw in a single ruck setup for Tristan Xerri ($580k) after Todd Goldsteins move to the Bombers and a potential for Jordan Sweet ($387k) to take over as Ports #1 ruck and you’ve suddenly got multiple options which scream upside in your ruck line.

The final piece of the ‘why not to pick’ puzzle comes back to the need to buck the trend of the top players in the competition regressing in the following season. We have seen time and time again that the ability to maintain scores after a peak season is significantly less likely than likely (insert @Jaiden_Popowski stat here) and we will need to see something from Rowan to show he is different to the majority.

Deck of DT Rating.


It feels unfair to not put a top 3 player of the previous season in here as an Ace, but simply put there is a reason he is the 5th most picked premium ruckman at this point. Whilst there is definitely caution surrounding the early byes of Gawn and Grundy AND whether they can recapture their glory days, the money you can save is awfully tempting at the very least. I don’t expect a regression and I can comfortably see him being a top 2 Ruck at seasons end, but buyer beware what other fantasy players will be doing with all that extra cash.

Follow @DunkleysDonuts on X and also @HatChatAFL.

Full-Time Fantasy Fanatic, Part-Time Fantasy Podcaster on HatChat - SA Born and Bred Bulldogs fan.

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Baldrick's boys
Baldrick's boys
2 months ago

Nice write up! Any thoughts on whether Hayes returning has any impact on RowMar this year?

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