2017 Crystal Ball Predictions – Rucks

In this mini series we work our way through each line and ask the panel to complete the sentence. This is all done in isolation to every member of the panel and it’s very interesting to see what they come up with. Today we discuss the Rucks.


Fish:Aaron Sandilands in SC. He is made for the format. Not starting him anywhere else.

Tim: Grundy in DT/AF, Gawn in SC. Just feels to me the likely #1 scorers in their respective formats.

Rids: Toby Nankervis. No secret that I love some value in the rucks and the big Nank offers exactly that.

Scrads: Toby Nankervis. He’s been very impressive during the JLT Series and looks set to hold the #1 ruck mantle at Richmond in 2017 and comes in at a bargain price.

MJ: In DreamTeam/AFLFantasy I find starting Brodie Grundy as an irresistible option. He’s a clear #1 Ruck in the side and has not concerns of playing a shared role. His points scoring work around the ground makes up for what he may lack in hitouts.

Jimmy: Max Gawn. Whether Jake Spencer plays round one or not, nobody expects him to play anywhere near 22 games when Gawn’s ruckwork is arguably Melbourne’s biggest asset. Lock him in knowing that unless he gets injured, Gawn will almost certainly be a top two ruck again this year.

Kane: Aaron Sandilands. However, only in SC. I can’t resist a guy who can average 105+ and is priced at just $308k.

Fox: Can’t pass on the value Aaron Sandilands presents in SC this year as an R2, we’ve been in a similar predicament a few years back with Sandi and he stood tall then, can’t see why we don’t do it again.

Ben: Max Gawn. He has not missed a match over the last 35 H&A fixtures. He’s the undisputed number one ruckmen in the competition at the moment and the lack of a third man up will help him with his hit outs to advantage more than most. Pick him in the knowledge that you’ll be owning one of the two best fantasy rucks across the formats in 2017.


Fish:Toby Nankervis. New opportunities at a club where he is clearly the #1 option. Locked across all formats.

Tim: Nankervis at the moment appears to be the man most likely – if he’s the Tigers’ main ruck for a fair chunk of the season.

Rids: Toby Nankervis. Will start the year as #1 ruck at Richmond so will obviously improve with increased opportunities.

Scrads: Toby Nankervis. As above, the #1 ruck role will considerably boost his scoring.

MJ: He’s been building slowly but Tom Hickey looks primed to tear the season apart and could well push into the top 3-4 rucks in the competition.

Jimmy: Tom Hickey. I’ve been championing this bloke all preseason. Just coming into the right age for premium ruckmen to explode onto the scene and has all the right tools to take the next step.

Kane: Nothing fancy here Toby Nankervis. 

Fox: Tom Hickey’s stocks are growing, the back of last year we saw him edge closer to the Big 4, pretty sure that gap will be reigned in this year.

Ben: Toby Nankervis. The obvious pick, but the only serious option to breakout in 2017 across this line. The most enjoyable aspect of his play this season will be his fanatical tackle pressure. If he hits form, he’ll clunk a few pack marks as well. Not the perfect specimen for a ruckmen, but someone who’s done everything in his power to the get the best out of himself.


Fish: Max Gawn. Even with 2 rucks playing at Melbourne, he will be a top 5 option. As soon as Spencer is relieved of duties he will storm home.

Tim: Gawn/Grundy – I’ve got some sort of question marks over most others so have to stick with my certainties.

Rids: Todd Goldstein. Stating the obvious here. I could just say Toby Nankervis again if you wish!

Scrads: Todd Goldstein. He’s probably been going a bit under the radar as many are wary of a limited pre-season, but I think the big guy will still be a force this year and I can’t see him dropping out of the top 5.

MJ: As long as his body doesn’t fail him I can’t see how Aaron Sandilands doesn’t score enough to be among the best rucks in all formats.

Jimmy: Stefan Martin. I know a lot of coaches are being scared off by Archie Smith but like Gawn with Spencer, I am confident that Stefan will ruck solo more often than not and his ceiling will ensure he is still amongst the top ranked rucks by year-end.

Kane: Brodie Grundy in DT & AF. Should have the sole rucking duties all year long and his ability accumulate the ground, instead of amass hit outs, makes his preferred format DT & AF.

Fox: Tom Hickey is heading into this territory.

Ben: Brodie Grundy. The reasons to avoid this guy are rather limited. He has got it done for an extended period of time now and I wouldn’t expect that to change anytime soon. The latter half of 2016 suggests he may have more to offer, but a pattern of strong second halves is also emerging. We’ll have a clear answer to whether this is the case in twelve months time.


Fish: Luke Strnadica. Fair enough in SC as he is a loophole option, but I have even seen him in some RDT sides. Why? He won’t play and Darcy Cameron is only a little bit more expensive with the same DPP link that Strnadica is being selected for.

Tim: Stef Martin – He’s getting on in age, Lions have a new coach, new tactics & are on the up. Archie Smith surely gets some games at worst, which history suggests will cruel Stef’s scoring when it happens.

Rids: we are talking about me here. I can go near anyone at any point in time! No limitations for me especially in the rucks!

Scrads: Stefan Martin. Archie Smith lurking.

MJ: In the limited trade formats of SuperCoach & DreamTeam I can’t start with Stefan Martin. Rucking solo he’ll average 100+ but for how many games Chris Fagan does that I’m not sure. Pass for me!

Jimmy: Patrick Ryder. He might well go ok but I’m fairly sure he won’t be a top five option this year given the others available and there certainly isn’t enough fat on the bone to use him as a stepping stone to a genuine premium. Plus that bye round with minimal cover – yuck!

Kane: Patrick Ryder. Early round nine bye hurts and I can’t see him averaging more than the cheaper Toby Nankervis.

Fox: A Port Adelaide player who assumes authority to ruck for his club, this is a red zone and you deserve to be punished by heading down that direction.

Ben: Shane Mumford. Historically he’s super injury prone and isn’t someone the Giants are willing to take risks with. Little value across the formats at his price and thus he’s a no go for me.


Fish: Nail this line and you are well on the way to having an outstanding season.

Tim: That things will continue to change quickly in the ruck position for fantasy footy. Gawn & Grundy are all the rage this year, last year it was Stef & Goldy, the year before it was Sam Jacobs, the year before it was… whoever else (whoever it was, it wasn’t Jacobs) – who will we be talking about as being the top of the tree come season’s end this year?

Rids: Keep an eye on ruck trends in the AFL. Dual #1 ruck men in the same side for any team will hurt fantasy scoring output. There has been enough talk of this early to have me worried a little about certain guys.

Scrads: I’ll go against the trend and say that for the first time in a while, the top 2 scoring rucks of 2016 (Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy) will maintain their mantle this year.

MJ: The 2 premiums in this line that you end up with will be the difference between success and failure for your fantasy footy season.

Jimmy: Watch for Sam Jacobs to bounce back and become a genuine option again this season. Easy to forget how good he was 2-3 seasons ago!

Kane: Rucks are terribly difficult to pick with any confidence this year, so if in doubt, at least make sure the player you pick helps you combat the bye rounds.

Fox: Could the top two rucks from last year defy all odds and steal a winning quinella, or will it be two different rucks on the podium again at the end of 2017.

Ben: The top two ruckmen of last season will not be the top two ruckmen of this season. Sorry for stealing your line Tim.

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