JARROD WITTS (GC) $518,300
Matches played 2015-17: 31 (+21 VFL/NEAFL)
2017 matches: 18
2017 SC Points: 94.3ppg
SC score 2016-2012: 50, 73, 72, 64, DNP
2017 Av. Hit-outs: 37.9 (Win rate: 51.3%)
2017 Av. HAd: 11.6 (30.6%)
2017 Key stats: 13.3 disposals (CP 7.1), 2.6 marks (CM 0.4), 4 tackles
2017 goals: 2 goals, 4 behinds
Bye Round: 10
Respect, Wittsy! Everyone who selected him as a mid-priced ruckman in 2017 will forever have a soft spot for the big fella as he lifted his SC average to 94ppg in 2017 on the back of great tap-work and plenty of contested possessions and clearances (3.6 per game) as the Suns’ number 1 ruckman. Only a late season shoulder injury prevented his season from achieving mid-price perfection!
However, that late season injury is the reason why he won’t feature in my SC side (and that damned Round 10 bye). While Witts is young enough to have some upside, he has missed 14 matches through injury in the last 3 seasons, too many to consider him when he is priced near durable options like Jacobs and Goldstein.
Oh, well. Never mind, Wittsy: We’ll always have 2017!
Cue song: The Way We Were (Barbara Streisand).
Memories, like the corners of my mind…
DAWSON SIMPSON (GWS) $290,300
Matches played 2015-17: 6 (44 in the VFL/NEAFL)
2017 matches: 2 (+15 in the NEAFL)
2017 SC Points: 88.0ppg
SC score 2016-2012: DNP, 49, 61, 89, 37
2017 Av. Hit-outs: 38.5 (Win rate: 55.0%)
2017 Av. HAd: 13 (33.7%)
2017 Key stats: 6.5 disposals (CP 3.5), 2.5 marks (CM 0.5), 2.5 tackles
2017 goals: 0 goals, 1 behinds
Bye Round: 13
Simpson has only played 30 matches in his 11 year career, his best return coming in 2014 (at Geelong) when he pulled the boots on 14 times. Since crossing to GWS, he has only played 6 matches in 2 seasons as backup to Shane Mumford and now it appears that Rory Lobb has gone past him as first ruck.
This was evident in 2017 when Simpson played 2 matches to cover Shane Mumford’s absence in the regular season (while Lobb played Ruck-Forward), but after Mumford was injured in the Qualifying Final GWS preferred Lobb as sole ruck for the Semi- and Preliminary finals.
Not that Simpson is a poor tap-ruckman, recording a 33.7% hitout-to-advantage rating last season, but at 210 cm he is just not mobile enough for modern footy. The Giants have confirmed that his pace concerns them, with media reports in the preseason that Rory Lobb would be used in the ruck to increase their midfield mobility.
With Lobb’s dodgy groins delaying his preseason, Simpson is likely to play a few games early, but the club seems unlikely to play him for an extended block of matches. And even if they do, he is unlikely to score well if he shares tap-duties.
Sorry folks, nothing to see here!
BEN McEVOY (Haw) $523,300
Matches played 2015-17: 58 (4 in VFL in 2015)
2017 matches: 22
2017 SC Points: 95.2ppg
SC score 2016-2012: 67, 84, 90, 93, 104
2017 Av. Hit-outs: 32.4 (win rate: 49.2%)
2017 Av. HAd: 10.0 (30.8%)
2017 Key stats: 12.5 disposals (CP 7.1), 4.0 marks (CM 1.7), 3 tackles
2017 goals: 14 goals, 1 behind.
Bye Round: 12
With Ceglar out of action for the season, Big Boy returned to the form of his St Kilda days as Clarko finally allowed him to ruck alone. Despite his elite fitness, he wasn’t a big possession winner however he used the ball well and hauled down enough contested and intercept possessions to score well in Supercoach.
So, will McEvoy match that form in 2018?
I’m damned if I know! Watch the JLT closely because Hawthorn has long favoured 2 ruckmen but with the Hawks performing well with Tim O’Brien pinch hitting in 2017, Clarko may have changed his mind!
Over to you Clarko!
MAX GAWN (Mel) $503,700
Matches played 2015-17: 49 (6 in VFL in 2015)
2017 matches: 13
2017 SC Points: 91.6ppg
SC score 2016-2012: 118, 102, 62, 67, DNP
2017 Av. Hit-outs: 35.9 (win rate: 53.4%)
2017 Av. HAd: 11.6 (32.3%)
2017 Key stats: 12.3 disposals (CP 6.9), 3.5 marks (CM 1.7), 3 tackles
2017 goals: 4 goals, 4 behinds.
Bye Round: 13
Maxy tore the competition a new one in 2016 with his dominant 118ppg average but like so many ruckman before him, he couldn’t back it up. In Round 3 his hamstring tendon went twang on 27 SC points and we didn’t see Maxy again until Round 14. When he did return he was clearly underdone as was expected and his form was erratic.
The only positive is that his misfortune now gifts us a supercheap premium ruckman for our teams. I have heard a few Supercoaches mention that Max is too injury prone but that is not overly accurate. The fact is, Maxy has only missed 13 games in total since 2013, with his 8 week break in 2017 his only significant injury.
For me Maxy is one of the few ‘sure things’ in Supercoach this season.
TODD GOLDSTEIN (Nor) $521,400
Matches played 2015-17: 61 (2 in VFL)
2017 matches: 19
2017 SC Points: 94.8ppg
SC score 2016-2012: 108, 127, 107, 113, 93
2017 Av. Hit-outs: 30.3 (win rate: 45.5%)
2017 Av. HAd: 9.9 (32.6%)
2017 Key stats: 13.4 disposals (CP 6.5), 2.8 marks (CM 0.5), 3 tackles
2017 goals: 12 goals, 6 behinds
Bye Round: 13
Goldstein’s fall from grace was sudden and unexpected, shedding 19 ppg in 2016 and a further 13 ppg in 2017. Many coaches assumed the issue was simply wear and tear after years of solo rucking but recently we discovered Goldy’s form slump has been related to issues in his personal life. Brad Scott has made reference to the rejuvenation of Goldstein this preseason and that Preuss will have trouble winning his way back into the team so perhaps we’ll see a return to form (and solo rucking) for Goldstein.
Not that Toddy was terrible last year. Despite 2017 being his worst year since 2012, he averaged only 3 ppg behind the third best ruckman in Stefan Martin and he was the second highest averaging ruckman when he rucked alone. To be exact, Goldstein averaged 106.5ppg when rucking alone but only 77.5ppg when rucking with Preuss in 6 games and 95.5ppg when rucking with Daw in 4 games.
Now that Daw is playing in defence, let’s just hope Preuss spends a season in the VFL, leaving Toddy free to pump out those big tonnes again!
PADDY RYDER (Ess) $566,500
Matches played 2014, 15 and 17: 62
2017 matches: 22
2017 SC Points: 103ppg
SC score 2016-2012: 86, DNP, 101, 90, 105
2017 Av. Hit-outs: 37.8 (win rate: 54.4%)
2017 Av. HAd: 11.5 (30.4%)
2017 Key stats: 12.6 disposals (CP 9.5), 3.2 marks (CM 1.6), 3 tackles
2017 goals: 11.7
Bye Round: 10
After a season out of the game as a member of the banned (ex-) Bombers, Paddy Ryder was slow to return to his best form in 2017. In the first half of the season he looked very rusty, only scoring 2 tonnes and averaging 83ppg across 11 matches. That certainly changed in the second half of the season as he charged home like a freight train, averaging 113.8ppg and pumping out 9 tonnes.
If he can continue that form into season 2018 and play 22 matches again, Paddy has the ability to be the highest scoring ruckman. The only downside is that damned Round 10 bye.
A Supercoach ruck duo of Gawn and Ryder would scare any opponent but what are you willing to cop a donut in Round 10?
TOBY NANKERVIS (Ric) $488,300
Matches played 2015-17: 32 (27 in VFL/NEAFL)
2017 matches: 21 (1 suspended, +3 finals)
2017 SC Points: 88.8ppg
SC score 2016-2015: 75, 42
2017 Hit-outs: 24.7 (Win rate: 39.3%)
2017 HAd: 6.8 (27.5%)
2017 Key stats: 14.8 disposals (CP 8.0), 3.1 marks (CM 1.0), 4 tackles
2017 goals: 11 goals, 7 behinds
Bye Round: 14
Like Jarrod Witts, Nank the Tank made many Supercoaches very happy with his break-out season. Possibly Sydney weren’t as happy as they seem to be making a bad habit of giving away quality ruckmen to other teams.
Being young for a ruckman, Nankervis did fatigue as the season progressed. He started the season with an 8 match average of 102.9ppg but only averaged 80ppg over the finals 13 matches. To help him complete the season, the Tigers played Ivan Soldo on 6 occasions, during which Nankervis only averaged 75.6ppg.
Other than his inexperience, the main reason for Nank’s fatigue as the season progressed was his heavy reliance on his mobility to compete with opposition ruckman. He worked his butt off to average a handy 15 possessions per match, take plenty of intercept marks and sneak forward for 11 goals but he only averaged a below average 6.8 hitouts-to-advantage per match.
This poor ruckwork has prompted the Tigers to discuss bringing Hampson in to help with the ruck work in 2018, allowing Nank to play more forward in 2018. Whether they can afford two talls is questionable but it does cast doubts over selecting Nankervis again this season.
Until he improves his ruckwork and fitness it may be best to avoid Nank the Tank for your Supercoach team.
SCOTT LYCETT (WC) $277,100
Matches played 2015-17: 28 (+15 in WAFL)
2017 matches: 1
2017 SC Points: 63
SC score 2016-2012: 83, 72, 78, 66, 38
2016 Av Hit-outs: 18.9 (win rate: 40.6%)
2016 Av. HAd: 4.9 (25.9%)
2016 Stats: 12.3 disposals (CP 7.3), 3.3 marks (CM 0.9), 4 tackles
2016 goals: 14.8
Bye Round: 12
No sane individual would really consider starting with a player who has missed 23 matches in only 3 seasons but the mid-price ruck combination of Witts and Sandilands worked so well in 2017, I’m thinking crazy thoughts.
Could I start with Lycett, who averaged 83ppg as second fiddle to Naitanui in 2016, and then swap him out for Ryder at the byes?
How often do those plans work in Supercoach?
Not often, I can tell you, but if Lycett is named in Round 1 and Vardy is not, surely you have to consider him!
NIC NAITANUI (WC) $465,900
Matches played 2015-17: 35 (inc. 2 personal leave)
2017 matches: DNP
2017 SC Points: DNP
SC score 2016-2012: 106, 104, 91, 96, 114
2016 Av. Hit-outs: 34.5 (win rate: 57.8%)
2016 Av. HAd: 11.4 (33%)
2016 Key stats: 12.5 disposals (CP 9.9), 2.3 marks (CM 1.6), 3 tackles
2016 goals: 8.3
Bye Round: 12
NicNat’s story is also well known, with his ACL injury ruling him out of season 2017. If he plays, his tap work is so magnificent he is guaranteed a 90+ppg average, but so far this preseason the message coming from the West has been mixed.
Is he fit? Will he play in the preseason? Will he be rested, costing either a donut of a trade?
For me, I don’t think we can answer these questions with enough certainty to start with the big unit, so buyer beware!
So who is starting for Thommo’s Tribe?
In a perfect world I would select Gawn and Ryder but I just don’t want to cop a donut in Round 10 so the clubhouse leaders are currently Gawn, Jacobs and Goldstein. As I said earlier, durability is my favourite word for the ruck line-up in 2018!
I had previously run Gawn and Lycett to free up some cash but Vardy was so impressive in JLT1 that I am no longer certain Lycett is the second ruckman at West Coast, let alone in my SC team.
To be quite honest though, my R2 will change 10 times by Round 1. The ruck line-up is sure to be season defining.
At least we have Maxy!
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