Ruck Situation - List Management

It’s not the most exciting topic but I’m interested to see what our list management decisions are at the end of the year in regards to ruck coverage.

Draper is clearly the long term number 1.

But after that there are question marks about what to put around him.

You always need to have someone on your list that you can confidently call on if your number 1 is injured and you know that they can physically stand up, not get bullied by the opposite number and can at least play a nullifying role.

For me the questions that immediately come to mind are:

  1. Is Andrew Phillips going around again next year? And as a follow-up question, should he? (turns 32 in a couple of weeks).

  2. Is Nick Bryan ready to compete at AFL level as a number 1 ruck yet? And as a follow-up, how confident are the coaching group that he will indeed make it. He certainly shows some promise. I wonder how he is viewed internally.

We will get more data over the next 10 or so weeks that will help us answer all of this come the end of the year which is great. Especially with Draper out for at least a little bit.

Hypothetically, if Andrew Phillips doesn’t go around next year, either through his own determination or the clubs, or I guess equally, if Nick Bryan was targetted by another club and asked to leave, what options are out there for us.

Ignoring state league players for now (i.e. Sam Naismith types) and just looking at currently listed AFL players…

I’ll divide this into 2 categories:


Matt Flynn (GWS) - Out of contract, 25 years of age, 33 games of AFL experience already, GWS are nearly always under cap pressure and would be fairly easy to prize out even factoring in the whole McCartney thing given he’s not a core player.

Sam Hayes (Port) - Out of contract, 24 years of age, years of development already put into him (mainly through the SANFL), I believe he is ok up forward which helps in a pairing with Draper.

Jordan Sweet (Dogs) Out of contract, 25 years of age, very big boy at 106kgs, dominates VFL but behind Tim English, 11 AFL games

These are guys who are just sh¡t enough to be at peace with moving clubs knowing that they won’t be the number 1 ruck. Which is weirdly what you kind of want and then you just hope to be surprised that they are solid footballers.


Bailey Williams (23 y.o) would be great but he is clearly the number 1 ruckman so doesn’t make sense and would cost too much.

Tom De Koning (24 y.o. Carlton) would obviously be nice as he has a bit of forward ruck adaptability and he’s clearly very talented but would cost too much IMO.

Ned Moyle (21 GC ruck) looks a great prospect and absolutely dominates at VFL level. He’d be a wonderful addition to the list but I think he’s rated too highly whereby he would probably either wait for Wittsy to retire or move clubs in a year or two on the guarantee of being the number 1 ruck. Could be an outside option only if Bryan left but even then unlikely IMO.

Max Heath (St Kilda) looks a good competitor but only 20 years old, don’t think would leave unless number 1 ruck.


Scott Lycett In and out of the side so would be gettable. 30 years of age. Premiership player. Out of contract. Sometimes looks a bit slow but recently has seemed a little sharper.

Ivan Soldo - 27 years old, Premiership player, big body, not the most sexy option obviously but proven that he can do a job in a good system.

Darcy Fort - 29 years old. Again, nothing to get excited about and ideally you’d prefer not to play him much. But has experience and can occasionally bob up in the forward line and contribute.

Braydon Preuss - 28 years of ago. He is an absolute dumb ■■■■ and has had plenty of issues with his body but all I could say is you’d get him cheap as GWS will have had enough of persisting and at least you know you’d get a big body who enjoys the physical side of the game (on the rare occasion he’s not suspended or injured).

Adelaide’s second ruck Kieran Strachan (ex Essendon VFL) would I guess be a depth option who has played some AFL footy.

There are a few others but most are either too good or just not likely to move.

Then there are a heap of guys who are predominantly forwards who you could elect to target who could play undersized as a solo ruck to cover for injury for a period of time if need be or chop out as 2nd ruck to Draper but I haven’t really chosen to focus on this type (i.e. Hayden McLean).


Why does this need is own thread?


Um yeah, cheers for your contribution!


I think it’s interesting.
Definitely a worthwhile discussion.


I am not known for my contributions


Jordan Sweet another big South Australian!
Drapes would love it.
I still think Bryan will make it.

Mate, Port fans are mixed on him. Great Tap ruck but B.O.G ordinary everywhere else.

Good luck getting Matt Flynn.

I suspect team selection will be enlightening this week. If Bryan isn’t selected, then he’s gone at the end of the year. The reason he’s not playing is he doesn’t have the forward craft currently to relieve Draper. With Draper out, that issue isn’t overly relevant.


Briggs, Williams, TDK

rest are meh

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I thought the same re: Sam Hayes but I recalled a month or so back seeing him hitting the scoreboard more than I expected (kicked 5 goals in 2 weeks) and wondered whether his forward craft was something he had honed so he could at least provide something. Look at the end of the day, all these guys are going to be flawed it’s just a matter of getting a suitable option for a good price.

Regarding Flynn, he is out of contract and Briggs has gone Super Saiyan and is now clearly the number 1 ruck so I wouldn’t say it would be an impossible task. Especially as I mentioned that GWS are always under cap pressure and we could out do them on a still moderate deal.


Draper No 1 Ruck
Bryan No 2 Ruck, play him if/when Draper is injured/rested, or the weeks when playing 2 specialist rucks is justified
Phillips one more year. When he retires, draft the best available mature state league Ruck as back up.
If there’s a unicorn project Ruck prospect available, maybe rookie.

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Personally, I don’t see Flip or Bryan as long termers so Hayes is my pick.

He does a lot well - good physicality and marking presence around the ground. Won their ‘21 Reserves B&F but Ken doesn’t rate him. His major knocks have always been tank and agility but For me he’s the perfect Phillips replacement. Same age as Draper too.

Has there been any reports that hes upset hes not getting played? Its possible Bryan is more patient then blitz.


I’d say we only need to find another ready to go ruck option if both Phillips and Bryan are gone/too old/too ■■■■. If one of them’s out, we’d probably need to draft another ruck if there’s one we like but that’s about it. If we have Draper and one other AFL level ruckman who can play, I think that’s fine for where we’re at.

Worst case scenario, they both get injured and we get smashed in the ruck for a few weeks. Unless it stops us winning the flag, I don’t see a massive need to go find a list clogger just in case. It’s not like I look back and think “thank god we had Zac Clarke/Jonathan Giles, he really saved our season”.


Not sure “cheap” is a word I’d associate with Brandon Preuss, he was on $600k for a few years.

That’s exactly the point. He has absolutely stolen a living for years on potential (his physicality mainly). Good luck to him, he’d be laughing. But the point is, now his value is rock bottom. He’s not fired a shot so if he continues his AFL career at all it will be on decidedly less money.

Chol hasn’t been getting a game for GC.

Don’t really recall what his rucking is like but is a great size, athleticism and kicked 40 goals last year.

Under used big from GC has worked out well for us in the past.


I hear he’s a bit of an R Chol

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Signals are important. We’d be telling a player who is coming out of contract that we’d prefer to cobble together a patch job ruck mix instead of playing him.

I’ve got no inside info on how Bryan is viewing this, but this is the scenario that we have Bryan on the list for.

Anyway, wait and see.

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yep, and the worst part is, you get told you aren’t “ready” and blah blah and then you go look at draper and well he ain’t exactly in the top 10 ruckman in the comp for actual ruck work. he’s a flashy project player still who gets by on trying to be the joe daniher of ruckman.

but this is the problem with the philosphy that youngsters have to “earn their stripes” and magically hit the “ready” criteria that is a magical moving line that supposedly means you aren’t well ready.
now because they aren’t willing to play bryan, with their stated aim as the medium term, you either have to continue to play an underdone draper (which i though the new essendon under scott didn’t do, you know you had to be 100% right, turns out that’s a lie) or go sole with phillips and weedman as back up, because you have no base line for what bryan can actually do in the afl, bar one game.
because phillips 3 to 4 possies a game are so invaluable apparently.