Feature Article

5 Rucks for the Future

Sometimes the position that gets easily forgotten about in SuperCoach is the ruck line. Only having to select three rucks for the season, and play two of those each week, a set and forget strategy is usually targeted. However, season 2017 gave us some headaches in the selection room but we saw some bright prospects and proven performers strut their stuff to not only help our 2017 campaign but lead us into next year’s dilemmas.

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Sean Darcy

Ross Lyon may have found his next Aaron Sandilands in 19-year-old Sean Darcy. After Fremantle’s injury list collected more big men, Darcy was given the opportunity to debut in Round 14 against the Cats. A score of 50 SuperCoach points wasn’t so bad, but 40 hit outs told the tail here. Weighing in at 111 kilos, the man with two first names made an impact to round out the year. He collected 99 SuperCoach points in round’s 15 and 21, 87 in round 18 and 93 in round 22. Was named in the 40-man squad for the AFL Players 22 under 22 alongside Gold Coast’s Peter Wright, just to put his year into perspective.

Looking ahead

If Darcy had of been given more opportunities, he would’ve risen above $400,000 mark in just his first season. Illustrating an average of 79 points from his first eight games of footy, there’s a bucket load of potential for this kid. His body is already ready to compete with all the top tier ruck men in the league, a pre-season on skill work and strategies will have this guy the most picked ruck-men in years to come.

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Matthew Kreuzer

Carlton’s big man had a huge breakout season, the former number one draft pick put up huge numbers across the board, giving him an average of 110 at years’ end. In his first month, Kreuzer scored 121 and 117. His dominance from rounds seven to 21 is what really stood out. During these 14 matches, he managed to score over 100 all but twice, averaging 123 altogether. First season averaging triple figures.

Looking ahead

Kreuzer will be nearing 29 by the time next season comes around, however he’s got at least one or two solid years left in him. Was the highest scoring ruck this year in SuperCoach, and there’s no reason why he can’t back that up with the form he was in closing out the year.

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Toby Nankervis

Came over from Sydney and impacted his new home straight away. Some may shy away from the demand of playing number one ruck for such a famous club, but Nankervis gave the Tigers first use of the footy more times than not. The 23-year-old began his first five weeks at Punt Road in style, scoring 114, 124, 107, 91 and 127. Soon enough, he was the most popular picked ruck-man. In the back half of the year, Nankervis’ scoring fluctuated, which was expected from a guy who’s only played six games in a full season before.

Looking ahead

As young as he is, Nankervis won’t hit his prime for another year or two, he was ranked twelfth in total hit outs this season but that’s not all he does to gain SuperCoach credibility. Averaging four tackles a game is great for a big man, he also marks and disposes of the ball by both hand and foot. In round 15 he managed 56 hit outs, seven tackles and 16 disposals for the day – a performance that oozed potential.

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Jarrod Witts

The former Magpie relished under new opportunities this season, cementing himself as Gold Coast’s number one ruck and stringing together a few solid outings. Witts, who played 40 senior games with Collingwood made an immediate impact on the Sunny Coast, playing 18 games for an average of 94. Beginning the year with 81, 100 and 114 was a sign of things to come, and those who risked selecting the $217,600 ruck man got paid. Witts finished the year accumulating nine more scores above 90, raising his starting price by $257,300 and almost doubling his starting ownership.

Looking ahead

At 24, Witts is in a situation where he could establish himself as a lock at the beginning of each year. The Suns have Peter Wright to help him out, but Tom Nicholls is hanging by a thread – so his job security is as safer than it’s ever been. The most games he’s played in a season is 20, and he only played 18 this season. After another full preseason, Witts could begin surprising us and start filling his potential.

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Braydon Preuss

Preuss was somewhat a talking point in his debut season at Arden Street, playing eight games and occasionally getting the nod over All-Australian ruck Todd Goldstein. He scored 111 in his second ever game, followed by 87 a week later. After playing the first four games, Preuss couldn’t find his way back into the side until round 19, with for consecutive games from then and a high score of 85 during this period

Looking ahead

North has stated they’re keen to keep Preuss, who looks to take the baton off Goldstein’s hands once his time’s up. Developing for VFL affiliation Werribee will benefit Preuss, however so will playing at the top tier. Let’s hope we see more of him in season 2018 and can then judge what his future beholds.

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