The RUCK department is the part of everyone’s team that gets left until last and given little thought, but this year we have already had so many questions coming through that we needed to address them. Who might break down? Who will break out? Who are the rookies? What ruck structure to use? So here it is, DTFML’s thoughts on the Rucks…
R1 – THE GUN RUCK
I have had many discussions with DTers this preseason about locking in a gun ruckman for the R1 position. Can Maric do it again? Will Jacobs become an uber ruck? Probably and probably and both are good options. However I think the names that are spoken about the most are…
Natanui – would have been many teams first ruck pick this year with the general consensus that this excitement machine is poised to explode… But not yet. Groin surgery has left him a non-participant in preseason and we will be looking at upgrading to him during the season when he is back and firing.
Cox – this of course leaves the #1 ruck spot at WCE back in the safe hands of the multi-all-Australian ruckman who averaged 99 pts last year (even when sharing with NicNat). I think the DT world agrees that Cox is now one of the biggest locks of the year. However… he has also earnt himself dual position FWD/RUCK… Meaning we can actually put Coxy in our forward lines (cos he will score as much as a premo fwd) and if our value ruck choices don’t work out we can just swap Coxy in. See structures below for examples of this.
Sandilands – staying in the west, and the Dockers big man seems to be over the turf toe, with new boots and some new preseason personal best running records. Sandi cannot be underestimated as potentially the most dominant ruckman in the comp when fit and could average 100+ if he does.
R2 – THE VALUE RUCK
A few names have emerged as genuine value Ruck options this season thanks to trades and last years injuries. Here are the 2 big ones…
Leuenberger – Comes back from his season long injury in 2012 as Brisbane’s #1 ruck and has proven previously he can score big and consistently. Once upon a time(2011) he was compared to the great man Cox as the mobile modern day ruckman. If injury stays away, he could average 80+ and is priced at only $233,600!!!
Goldstein – Thanks to the departure of H-Mac to Geelong, Goldy now sits clearly at the top of the ruck pecking order at North, and with barely a ready ruckman to share it with. Both Currie and Daw are yet to play a game, no Pederson or HMac, leaving maybe Petrie for some forward half pinch rucking. What I’m saying is expect a lot of Ruck time for Goldy which can only help his score! His only concern is his (lack of) athleticism around the ground and low possession counts compared to others, so I’d expect a 70+ average in 2013.
R3 and R4 – THE CHEAP/ROOKIE RUCKS
Usually we try to find the 2 newest ruckmen who might sneak in for some games throughout the year, and make some cash to help upgrade elsewhere. The past 2 years have seen certainties like Zac Smith and Jon Giles walk up as their teams #1 ruck, but we shall not be so lucky in 2013. Instead we have a few ‘maybes’ to keep an eye on to find out how they’ll slot into their teams pecking order.
Currie or Daw – Well one of these fellas has to become the #2 ruck at North to support Goldstein. Daw looks ready for a shot after a year in the VFL and Currie is a mature ager who could walk in and play tomorrow. Who will get the nod…. Not sure… So watch the NAB cup and pick whoever is most likely to be the #2.
Witts or Grundy – Again it looms that one will firm as next in line at the Pies. While recruit Lynch will likely replace Dawes ruck support role, Collingwood need to blood a replacement for Jolly so jump on whoever stands up as his #2.
Dual Position – With the possibility of Cox (or Roughhead, Ryder or NicNat) in your fwd line, the R4 position could be a cheap option to allow for this swap, especially if one of your primary rucks is out for just a week or two. It is likely that the rookie options simply will not play this year but some names to watch are Rowe (3rd in line at Carlton) or McBean (thin frame at Richmond). Another to watch is Setanta O’Hailpin in his new role at GWS who for $157,700 looms a genuine option if he is healthy so hold off until we know if he’s good for round 1.
RUCK STRUCTURE – HOW IT FITS TOGETHER?
So with 4 ruck spots to select, we recommend you pick 5. Hahaha.
R1 – the gun – Sandilands, Maric, Jacobs, McEvoy, Mumford etc.
R2 – the value – Leuenberger or Goldstein
R3 – the rookie – Currie, Daw, Witts or Grundy
R4 – the dual – Rowe, McBean or O’Hailpin
FWD – Lock in Dean Cox
There are no answers to DreamTeam, just possibilities, so once again we hope this article just gives you some new ways to look at selecting your team and some new names to watch in the NAB cup.
What are you waiting for, comment with your thoughts below and go back to dreamteam.afl.com.au and play with your ruck selections!!