(Written & Created By Hot Sauce)
Coaches, please give a hearty welcome to our new Contributor, Hot Sauce. He’s got some very insightful articles coming your way over the pre-season. All going well, you’ll see him on a weekly basis during the season. Take it away, Hot Sauce…………
Every year, the biggest dilemma coaches face is the three spots for the Rucks. Just three players out of 30 – such little room for error. Coaches who get this right have a strong advantage over the rest of the field by either picking the top 2 Rucks for the year and maximising their points scored for the full season while saving trades; or picking the right mid-price/cash-cow Rucks as ‘stepping-stones’ to upgrade to the best performed Rucks while securing big scores with safer bets in other areas of the ground.
This year is a bit different to years past in that we have two outstanding candidates in Grundy and Gawn who were head and shoulders above the rest of the pack last season. So, is it a foregone conclusion to pick them both in 2019? Or do we pick one and try find a bargain or ‘diamond in the rough’ with the other? Perhaps we skip them both focussing our cash on other areas and upgrade later in the year?
I will deep dive below to try and find an answer to this puzzle, whether we should pull the trigger and go with Grundy & Gawn (G&G); or Grundy/Gawn & Other (G&O); or Other & Other (O&O). So, what the Ruck should we do?
Here is why we should go with G&G:
1. The Massive Scoring Boost
In 2018 both Grundy and Gawn played all 22 games and amassed an enormous 5,675 points combined (an average of 258 points per week) for the lucky few coaches who backed them in from the start of the season. That is a huge advantage of 480 points (22 per week) over the next best combo without both G&G (which was Grundy & Martin) and 1,123 points (51 per week) of the best combo that had neither of G&G (Martin & Westhoff).
That point generation is hard to pass up on given both G&G’s dominance last season compared to their Ruck counterparts while the evenness across premium players in other positions allows for some unique picks as their scoring base won’t change as much in comparison. So, for what used to be an area for unique picks, the Rucks now seem to be offering up two uber-elite and very safe options that you can rely on week in and week out while ticking off 2 potential VC/C options every week.
Grundy amazingly had only 3 games below 100 (with a low of 95) and 13 games over 120+ including a whopping 8 games over 140+. On top of that Grundy has increased his average score every season since 2015. If that sounds too good to be true, then let’s add Gawn’s amazing season which consisted of only 4 games below 100, 14 games over 120+, and like Grundy, a season that included 8 games over 140+. You should be drooling right now!
2. Saving Trades
Every coach must delicately balance points accumulation and cash generation all while trying to reserve as many trades as possible for the dreaded injuries/rest games/form slumps that could come at any point. So why not lock in two players who are as close to sure things for their position at the start of the season and focus that energy elsewhere on the field.
Although this means more trades elsewhere so “what’s the difference” I hear you screaming at me – well my ‘in-need of anger management’ friend, the difference is with G&G in the Ruck you are as close as conceivably possible to securing the top ranked players for that position where elsewhere is considerably more difficult. You would be lucky to secure 2 or 3 of the top ranked players (6 for DEF/FWD and 8 for MID) before Round 1 so why not take advantage?
3. Weak Premium Alternatives In the Ruck
OK so let’s say you won’t go with the G&G set & forget set-up but instead go with either a G&O or O&O selection, it raises a difficult question – who else do you choose? You have two options; either an alternative premium to either Grundy or Gawn, or a potential ‘stepping stone’ Ruck that will allow you to get to G&G quicker with minimal trades. I’ll address the latter later in this article, but for now let’s look at alternative premium options.
Of all the best possible options, there isn’t a single player screaming out to be considered as a Top 2 Ruck. Stef Martin, ‘Big Boy’ McEvoy, The Hoff and Goldy were the only players to crack the ton last year. Paddy Ryder, Nic Nat and Matty Kruezer are the only other two Rucks to crack the ton in the last three years with Sandi and Sauce seemingly well past their prime. Of these potential premium selections, it would be only Goldy and possibly Martin, that you could think could compile a good enough season to justify skipping G&G. The rest are either past their prime; long in the tooth; carrying injury concerns; or all of the above. None of these players can be selected with the same level of confidence as G&G.
** Solid debut effort from Hot Sauce! Look out for PART TWO tomorrow morning……… – Schwarzwalder **
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