The G&G Rucking Factory

Written by on February 7 2020

Well this was supposed to be about why you’d be mad to not just lock in Grundy and Gawn and throw away the key for another 12 months, but how things can change?!

The below chart illustrates why we all have tickets to the best club in town …

Not only did Reg and Max smash it again in 2019, but they did it in style.  They represented two of the three highest total point scorers across all lines and if you’d VC/C’d one into the other for the ENTIRE season (barring their collective bye obviously), you would have accumulated 3,102 points just from that!  Even when they played against each other (in pink), we now know to go with Max if we’re going with either.  This approach would have delivered an average weekly Captain’s score of 134.9.  And I might add, that THAT is by following the unwritten SCT rule of captain picks, “if they score 125+, you take it”.  It could’ve been more if you’d gotten greedy in certain Rounds!  Simply put, they were outrageously consistent statistics from the two of them.  Again.

Two years running now and Cox’s curse appears well and truly shot.  Or is it?  Max’s recent medial ligament strain (B grade – new injury) and his past history with knee injuries has some of us questioning if the disco party at the best Factory around, might now be coming to an end.  Max himself professes that his body likely won’t make it to 200 games.  It’s hard to believe he’s only played 120 to date.  It feels like he has been around much longer than that.

As I boldly stated in the pre-season last year (ignore me, I do it a lot) that I felt Grundy would likely improve (he didn’t!); I am actually predicting that he will improve in 2020.  His ruck craft is still improving, he ranked 9th for contested possessions in 2019 (ahead of Dunkley & Macrae) and he’s still only 25.  I truly believe his peak is ahead of him.  Max on the other hand, may soon be passing the baton on.  But who to?



Latest news out of Melbourne footy club is that Max is back running and will be involved in match sim within 3-4 weeks [EDIT: he is now expected to take some part in both Marsh Series games].  I recall that we were all a little concerned the week before the season started last year when he wasn’t training fully, but look how that turned out (barring Rd1).  Incredible specimen that he is, I’m aware that there are a number of people on SCT who’d like to evaluate the alternatives.  Now there are a few ways we can look at this.

  1. Just lock in the Rucking Factory
  2. Pick an alternative Premo, for the duration of the season
  3. Pick an alternative RUC with the Rd14 bye, with the plan that you will upgrade to Max on his bye, or
  4. Pick an ‘under-priced’ RUC with a view to making cash and trading to Gawn or similar when the time is right

To take each in turn:



Locking the two in costs a heap of course, but not locking them in when you consider just how far ahead the two of them are, will likely cost you points and reduce your VC/C options each week.  Also consider that if one of them goes down, you will almost certainly have enough cash to trade to whoever you want, AND have been given crucial time to assess who the best alternative is.

VERDICT: Worst-case, you are up on aggregate points and it has cost you a trade.



Picking an alternative for the season might NOT be such a bad move.  We have all likely had a look at this over the last couple of weeks when fearing the worst for SuperMax.  So let’s have a look at the best alternatives first.

Goldy rolled back the years in 2019, but he may well be playing level 3 Frogger in 2020!

Marshall had a breakout year in 2019 and appears set to improve in 2020 despite the arrival of a trimmed down Paddy Ryder.  In match sim at RSEA Park, Paddy has been playing predominantly forward as a key target.

Lycett had an outstanding 2019 and with the departure of Ryder and Frampton, looks set for a sole 1stRUC role in 2020.  Has struggled in the past with injury but is currently fit and firing.

ROB had an astonishing first full-year at the Crows having trained professionally and biding his time on the sidelines waiting for the opportunity.  No doubt the trade for Frampton was to give him the occasional chop-out that he’ll need, but will surely only improve in 2020.

Finally there is English.  By all accounts he’s returned looking huge, fitter and ready to take another significant step.  While his numbers at the end of last year aren’t quite Grundy’s of 2017, they are not too far behind.  He may need another year to take the leap to elite, but I’m expecting a 10-15 increase in average at a minimum in 2020.

Let’s have a look at some numbers

The above evaluations are based on Max GAWN averaging 125 in 2020.  Please bear that in mind when evaluating the alternatives, should you think he will average significantly more or less than that.

The extra cash has been evaluated in PTS terms (far-right column). These values have been assessed not simply as the cash saved and what you can get onfield for that, but are tempered by both the onfield pts of your existing team AND the potential pts lost by not picking Gawn.  Because this evaluation is based on you picking an alternative for the season, there is no trade cost involved.  The left-hand column in the RED BOX, shows what that player will subsequently NEED to average for the alternative to make sense.  Those in green are safely high enough for you to not worry about their output too much as it should be good enough for your ‘weekly totals’ to be competitive when everyone gets to full premo.  The grey averages should be treated with caution.  These totals will NOT be enough to remain competitive with pts totals when everyone gets to full premo (or earlier) and those in black are simply not viable as keepers.  NB, none of these values take into account your lack of VC/C points lost by not having Max, so be warned.

Note, these averages are what they NEED to average in 2020.  If you think they’ll average more, then they become increasingly viable as keepers only.  But, if you don’t think your alternative will average more than 112+, then he is NOT a viable alternative KEEPER because you are unlikely be able to make up the points elsewhere on the ground post-byes, despite you thinking you are at full premium.  The 13pt gap (between Gawn and your alternative) makes this true.

VERDICT:  I think Lycett and Marshall are viable.  Goldy too but he comes with risk.  The others are either too risky (injury history) and/or won’t average 112+ to be viable KEEPER options.



If you think ROB can average 108.4 to the byes or that English can ave. 103.7 over the same period, then they are viable on the assumption that it will cost you one trade only and they afford you their ave. minus 50pts onfield for that Rd13 game.  If you are going to need two trades, then you need them to average 110.6 and 105.9 respectively, but really even pricing the trades at $140k each, I think these figures undervalue what is actually required.

VERDICT:  While ROB looks attractive, the maths here is complicated and while it takes into account est’d magic numbers at Rd14 and all sorts of other variables, I’m still not convinced.  I think this is because of the forsaken, unmeasured value of your VC/C value for Gawn each week.



Let’s look at NicNat, Jacobs and English

First, whichever one you choose, you are almost certainly going to need two trades to makes the move AND you are forgoing a legitimate VC/C option each and every week until you bring GAWN in.

What is likely to happen to Gawn’s price in 2020? Well,

NicNat has suffered his fair share of serious injuries and becomes a Frog in 3mths’ time.  I am basing his est’d ave. on his last5yr ave. which I think is generous.  It doesn’t look good for NicNat.

He’ll only make $47k and he’ll be priced more than $150k short of Max.

VERDICT: NO. Will require two trades and you will haemorrhage points while waiting to make the trade. And then there’s the injury concern …

Sauce now joins GWS and is apparently fitter than ever.  But he is also an ageing Frog (will be 32 in May) and has ave’d 92.9 over the last 5 years.

He could make $116.5k by his bye and he has the right bye to help you out in Rd13, but

VERDICT: similar to NicNat, it will require two trades to upgrade to Gawn.  While the additional pts from money saved and the cash he will make himself are decent, they will never quite add up to points lost and trades saved.  Close, but no cigar!

Finally Tim ENGLISH. Tim is not a Frog (can you tell I like the Frogger analogy 😉 ) but rather, he’s right on the cusp of serious Breakout contender.  His last three averages read 35, 63.6 and 82.6 last year, with a last 5RdAve. of 92.6.  Returning, bigger and stronger and with another pre-season into him, I’m gonna assume he will ave. at least 92.6.  I think he’ll go better than that but,

He’ll make little cash by his bye and his scoring just isn’t sufficient to warrant starting him in 2020, unless you think he is on the cusp of a huge breakout.

VERDICT:  English comes down to personal opinion.  If you think he can increase his average by 20pts in 2020 then get on board.  Personally I think it’s more likely to be 2021 before Tim becomes seriously relevant.

Phew.  I’m glad that’s finally over.

Thoughts community?!

So what's your approach to the RUC conundrum in 2020

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37 thoughts on “The G&G Rucking Factory”

  1. Great work AS. Had come to similar conclusions on the players you mention myself, but nice to see a bit of data to back it up.


    1. Having spent a few hours on this going through the stats, I am less convinced than ever on G&G. Lycett when playing sole ruck last year shows he can compete with Gawn in 2020. Obviously it’s risky, but I am tempted. Might just be a case of overthinking 😉

      Currently have


      1. I’d love to pick Lycett too AS. If Gawns injury was an extra month or two it’d make the decision a lot easier


        1. Lycett solo rucking opponents for his 125 SC ave and 33.6 hitouts
          Cats, Dogs,Crows,Lions,Tigers

          Max hitouts v those opponents 53,34,30,25,37(48V.Nank 26V.Soldo) ave 35.8
          Max SC ave V. those opponents 115.4 (includes 140 ave V. Tiges from 134 + 145)

          On an apples V. apples comparison i.e Max hitouts and SC ave V. the teams where Lycett rucked solo
          Lycett ave 10 SC points p/game more than Max
          Max ave 2.2 more hitouts p/game than Lycett


      2. Top job AS. I still am a believer bcoz I believe that Gawn will be ready by R1. I also contemplated the Lycett option since he has a monster roof but the head to head with many of the experienced rucks doesnt look good and I hate losing the Gawn VC options.
        Spanners in the works for sure and you never know G or G may get injured in the season so that plan B exercice is not futile.


  2. The tricky part is that if Gawn does miss any games, or even just starts slow, by the time the bye comes around he will still cost a lot (requiring 2 trades as you say). It just doesnt seem worth starting anyone else; even if he misses rd 1 I’d be tempted to start him.


    1. I’m 100% with you BBQ if you’re gonna look to upgrade to Gawn, but if you’re simply looking at an alternative keeper for the entire season (especially if they have a different bye), I do think Lycett and Marshall are viable. It’s a gamble/risk for sure and you’ll want a min. 118 to be certain you’ve made the right decision, but I think both are capable at a push.


      1. Definitely a risk, especially given Gawn outscored the 3rd ranked ruckman (Goldstein) by 227 points last year despite playing 1 less game. But whether it is this year or not, eventually starting the big 2 in the ruck will probably backfire (injuries, form, etc) so if you did start without him it could well prove a masterstroke. Not sure if this is the year though.

        I agree that Lycett could be the one who could go close to 120 this year. Marshall I’m not so sold on, given the addition of Ryder – even if he does play majority FWD he will still probably take at least 15% ruck time you would’ve thought. Generally sharing ruck duties is no good for SC output.


      2. Good point All Saints
        I have locked in Lycet since Gawn injury
        however preseason is too long
        Being on the community series


  3. Good read AS!

    Even after Gawns injury i haven’t thought twice about not starting G&G! Grundy and Gawn are streets ahead of the rest. IF picking an alternative only one i like is Lycett (averaged 122 after the byes!)

    But even with Lycett looking good there is no chance i start without Gawn. Captaincy is also one of the biggest reasons (You would never captain Lycett!). With a loophole option available you can VC/C G&G 14-16 times throughout the season! Safe as you like! Lock them in!


  4. Everybody Ruck Now!

    Whomp, whomp whomp, whomp whomp!

    I have pondered a while and decided that I’m keeping both in my team and if for some reason I have to pick someone else, I will at the time. Also, easier to go Gawn to someone than the other way.


  5. I have another alternative: Ceglar.

    Hawthorn have signalled that Big Boy McEvoy will man a key defensive post, and JC will be their main rucking man.

    This means he is potential keeper on the forward line if he can average 95, as well as provide valuable cover.

    Starting him gives you alternatives:

    1. Move him forward once you have assessed and bought your R2.
    2. Don’t keep him, but use him as a stepping stone to your R2.

    For me, I was always selecting JC, even before Max’s injury. Therefore the question is how do I redeploy Max’s salary. I get to pick another premo – maybe a risky one like JKelly who I wouldn’t otherwise select because of durability – who I can use for points until they get injured, and use that as my decision point to buy my R2.

    This buys me time, I am not leaking points.

    Effectively using a premo as a stepping stone, or a sideways trade is not a strategy straight out of the normal playbook, but is a left field option for our rucking dilemma


    1. I like your thinking Phil, and apologies for not including him in the analysis. To be honest, I’d forgotten all about him! 🙁


  6. I’m sticking with GG. Been wondering long and hard who will be kicking themselves at the end of the year…..GG holders or the others. On the balance of probability it will be the others cause….
    1. GG is GG !!
    2. If either fail for whatever reason, anyone else is available….if the others play catch up, its likely gonna be two trades…..thats the equivalent of $280k !!
    3. 19 Rounds of c loops…the numbers above in this article show the value of that in 2019 when 3102 pts would have resulted. This year 19rds * 125pts per rd * 2 for captain = 4750 !!! And that doesnt include the 3 rounds where the GG loop is not possible, but other juicy loops are.

    Nothing lasts forever, but until it does…its GG for me.


  7. Anyways, why doesn’t the great Tom Bellchambers get a mention in this ??? Should get a few votes just cause of his missus !!


      1. Ouch you two – I’m not talking to you both now for some weeks!!!!

        Pick on my bombers at your own peril!!!


        1. Hey Macca…I’m a mad bombers fan…my comment re Bellcho was genuine….surely the most underrated ruckman in the history of the game.


  8. Good write up as always.

    I’ve voted GG as that will be what most likely happens. There has only been one other ruck that could tempt me away from gawn and that is ROB. Bang on 500k or a tad higher. He was epic last year and got better and better, is actually younger than I thought. Good mids around him, has a big cieling too.
    Just can’t see myself not picking gawn tho. Unless he isn’t right and it’s obvious I will roll with ROB


  9. What are peoples thoughts on the Rookie rucks?

    Who’s most likely to play more during the season?

    TU: Meek
    TD: Cameron

    Comment for other


  10. Any thoughts on patton as f6?
    Dpp, can cover one of GG in byes, priced at about 60 ppg, and the hawks have a great record with recycled talls.


    1. See how he looks in PS Wighty, but he will most likely be a rollercoaster as a KPP. The thing is if he does go on a roll he might peak in price before the byes and if you don’t sell him high he might well lose all the cash he made. In that case his value as a cash cow would be diminished if you kept him over the byes, or his values a bye cover would be lost if you upgraded him to take advantage of the cash gain. Personally, I can’t see him being a keeper, so you’d be banking on being able to make a profit after the byes for the pick to be a success.

      I have had him in my team briefly, mainly because of the value of the DPP fwd/ruc as you say. Phil made the point above re: J Ceglar, who might be a better option, despite costing a bit more, because he has been slated to ruck solo for the season. He averaged a touch under 100 in his last 3 last year, which if I recall coincided with McEvoy shifting to defence. But again, you would be banking on Clarkson keeping McEvoy down back all year, which I also see as a risk.

      The DPP is definitely a good option though, even if just for your loophole r3. Last year I didn’t have it and as a result missed out on ROB which really sucked haha


  11. At present I have the sauce option as it provides another keeper elsewhere – Conigs is now sitting in my midfield and wasn’t with Gawn. This type of analysis is wonderful but always difficult to account for all the variables. The one flaw that it see when looking at Sauce is the comment that it will require potentially 2 trades bring back Gawn (true based on score prediction). What this ignores is the additional premo sitting in fwd/mid/def that does not need 2-3 trades to upgrade.
    I am obviously hoping the sauce can come out and smash it with such a wonderful midfield.


  12. Hey AllSaints are you giving/selling these articles to jockreynolds or are they just copying, pasting and rearranging?



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