Two Rucks

I’ve been criticised strongly last year and this for advocating playing two rucks. One Blitzer (you know who you are) even said that that was 1980s football. If he was old enough to know, he might have said 1960s, but never mind. It’s all circular, and the circle has turned. Today was our second match playing both Phillips and Draper, and we won the ruck comprehensively, as well as winning the match.

Here’s what Josh Mahoney had to say about the two rucks in his post-match summary:

Again playing the two rucks, we saw Andrew Phillips come in and the impact he’s having, not only himself, but what he’s allowing Sam Draper to do — to play in tandem — they’re just going to get better and better, working together — and Peter Wright was a really good target for us up forward.

It seems (from the bit in italics) that the Club intends continuing with the two ruck system — because it’s working very well.


We need two rucks. Phillips stays. Wright needs to be anchired in the forward line. Jones is critical- he can push up to make a contest on the wing.


The best sides play two rucks - Demons, Brisbane.

With Fort out, Fagan brought young Fullarton in without hesitation.

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Agree should be two rucks.
I don’t mind phillips and he’s probably our most natural ruckman and probably should be no.1.

but in saying that unless they think they are going to make finals and be a serious threat (and if they think that, they should be taken out the back and shot) then the ruck combo should be draper/bryan.

no point delaying finding out if these 2 can work in tandem long term, and phillips isn’t going to be around much longer, and in a supposedly learning and development year x2, why waste anymore time not using it to develop as much as possible.

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Lets face it, we needed to against Melbourne, so we have just adopted it.

As for allowing 2MP to play the whole game forward, when he gets out of control, opponents do what every other team does to star forwards, put 2 defenders on him when the ball comes in high.

So, what do we do when we get Jones back. Can we have a “resting ruck”, 2MP AND Jones ?

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Is there really any pattern to it? I think it’s far more often dictated by what rucks you have, how athletic they are, how skilful; and what other tall forwards.

Picking 2 rucks is fine if they’re at least close to pulling their weight somewhere else on the park, for the 50% of the game they’re not in the ruck.


@Windy_Dill, thoughts?


That does become very top heavy. Will be interesting. We struggle as is when the ball hits the deck inside our F50, accomodating another 200cm player won’t help in that regard.

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the ruck combo should be draper/bryan.

No. perhaps the ruck combo should be Phillips and Bryan or Draper, so that the two tyros can learn ruck-craft from the experienced man.

phillips isn’t going to be around much longer

Who says ? He’s fit, and only 30, the same age as Max Gawn. As you get into your 30s, you may lose speed, but you gain in strength, which is what a ruckman needs.I’d give him five more years, barring serious injury, of course.

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Phillips & Draper should pair together, until Bryan is going nuts in the VFL.

Eventually it will be Draper & Bryan.


The experienced 53 gamer Phillips.

Draper’s played 25 games; Bryan has played…… 1.


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Probably similar to last year with Hooksy, Jones and Wright. The main issue for me is one of them getting in the way of 2MP. Both rucks contributed today

I don’t mind Draper learning the ropes in the forwardline.

maybe just get him to snap the ball from outside 50 too. Ryder could do it.

will help when Bryan comes along.

Draper goal seals the match, but loved Perkins and Guelfis goals on the run too.

I think its fine to play 2 rucks and 2MP atm so that 2MP can stay forward because otherwise when he is in the ruck we have no good talls inside 50. If we get some other forwards playing well, say Jones and Baldwin are healthy and get some form, I think it would be better to play 2MP as a forward target pinch hitting in the ruck and drop Phillips.


2 rucks until Jones is ready.


Yea that was me, I stand by it. Once Jones and Stringer are ready, it’ll be back to one ruck.

Whether that’s Phillips or Draper who knows

We won’t go with a forward line of Wright, Draper/Phillips, Stringer and Jones.
If we do go with 3 “genuine” talls + Stringer it’ll be one of Francis/Baldwin, not a resting ruck

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Its not 80s retro at all as we see this in other teams sucesssfully this year. And its an option we can choose given the oppo. But for me without a true marking CHF option atm (Francis and Jones out, Baldwin developing) we do need another tall presence up there I’d say. To take the heat off 2MP or relying on him to crash the packs all day. We did seem to rule the air and edged the restarts. And Draper improved I think as a result of Phillips taking a lot of the load and grew in confidence.

Long term is Draper and Bryan or another tall becomes a KPF to negate the need as much … but Phillips is doing a job for us and competes tirelessly whilst helping their development and often pops up with a goal. I wonder what Truck and Cara will do for Freo?

Team needs to crumb better than today though. I thought Crows happily feasted on our taps and pack bring downs a little too much, hence them staying in the game. But we won and with 2 rucks.

The win though scratchy is the biggest plus.

Edit: Just saw the team song being sung by the players. I’ll take my Draper criticism back for this week.