Expert Panel: What’s the ideal SuperCoach ruck set-up this year?

The ruck line is proving problematic for a lot of coaches this year with uncertainty about Max Gawn’s split with Luke Jackson, combined with no clarity around Jarrod Witts’ Round 1 readiness or Braydon Preuss’ selection credentials.

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As a result, Honeyball rounded up some of the best brains in the SuperCoach business to offer up their ruck plans with a little over a fortnight until Round 1 begins.

The expert panel includes seasoned veteran The SuperCoach Bull, SC scribe and regular top 1000 finisher Dylan Bolch, former SC round winner and 2020 top 200 finisher Casey McDonald and 2020 top 150 finisher Janath Fernando.

The SuperCoach Bull @the_SC_bull

This year is all about set and forget. For that reason I’ve selected Sean Darcy and Brodie Grundy, with Charlie Comben on the bench. I do like the look of Witts and Preuss as R2s, but the risk if something goes wrong is too high. You would need a war chest to trade up to an uber premo, and there isn’t much below to target rookie wise. Comben at R3 provides DPP swing for the long term, and the plan is to grab a Rowan Marshall type if he gets given FWD status when DPPs get announced across the season.

Dylan Bolch @BolchDylan

I’ve always gone down the set and forget path in the ruck line and it’ll be no different in 2022. Brodie Grundy picks himself ​​because he is a known commodity. His past four seasons have all resulted in an average of 115+ and he looks as though he is ready to reach the heights of his All-Australian years again this season. I’ve also opted for Gawn. I’m not too concerned about the Jackson factor and he doesn’t have the same injury risk that Darcy has. Gawn’s run to begin the season is too appealing to turn down as well. He faces opponents who traditionally give up lots of points, or players he has had the wood over in the past. R3 will be either a loop option or one of Sam Hayes/Jack Hayes/Comben depending on rookie availability in Round 1. 

Casey McDonald @NaCheers

This year I’m experimenting a little. I personally think Grundy is going to have an absolute ripping season so he is locked in. I have gone with Marshall at R2 in hope that he can squeeze out another 110-point season like he did a few years back. Also another part of me is hanging onto the fact he is an ever so slight chance of DPP change. With the extra trades this season I’m happy to punt on this with so much uncertainty around the ruck choices and the extra cash allows me to balance out my team a little. Rucks are the most intriguing position leading into the the season!

Janath Fernando @JanathFernando4

From the get go I locked in Grundy as my first-choice ruck. Grundy shredded a couple of kilograms over the summer and is now covering the ground like his 2018 and 2019 All-Australian seasons, giving me full confidence that he will bounce back to his full SuperCoach potential. For my second ruckman, although not yet set in concrete, I will most probably roll out Gawn. Whilst I did initially want to start Darcy over Gawn, the injury concerns which have already mounted up in the pre-season has all but locked in the Gawndy combination.

Even if Gawn doesn’t reach the same level as he reached when he averaged 140 in 2020, his multiple scoring avenues including his elite intercept marking and goal-scoring ability vindicate the selection. At my R3, I will most likely be starting Sam Hayes who I have a good feeling will debut at some point in 2022 due to Scott Lycett’s durability issues. Alongside fading Darcy, I am not a huge fan of starting Preuss at R2 due to the troubles which may be faced if the pick does not work since he would then need to be upgraded to one of the premium ruckmen – i.e., think back to the Matt Flynn/Paul Hunter/Lloyd Meek R2 situation of 2021. Stashing Preuss at R3 however is a totally viable option.

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