Pretty much everyone on BigFooty knew that Ben Hudson was a must-have player this year, and there were a couple of other cheapies whoâ€™ve since risen to a more appropriate price. So, the time is right to upgrade to a â€˜premiumâ€™ ruck â€“ but who? Last yearâ€™s All-Australian ruckman is under $300k after a bad start to the year, and there are others more expensive with question marks hanging over their heads. Iâ€™m having real trouble picking just who to target here, but Iâ€™ll fill you in on my thoughts. (You may want to read my overall strategy reasonings before continuing).
Best cheap rookies:
Ivan Maric ($134k): Maric looked ok last year when he played a few games for Adelaide, and with Bhiglands out, I reckon heâ€™s pretty certain to overtake Jon Griffin and become the second ruckman. However, in terms of value for money, Iâ€™m not sure heâ€™s worth this muchâ€¦
Matthew Leuenberger ($107k): Number four draft pick last year, and although young ruckman generally take time, word on the street is that Loonie could get a run this year. If that happens, his price will rise â€“ heâ€™s a possession-winning ruckman, like Dean Cox. But 107 is a fair bit to fork out for a guy who is far from a certainty to play
John Meesen ($82k): The risk here is that Meesen is behind Hudson and Maric in the Crowsâ€™ pecking order (boom boom), and after suffering a serious knee injury pre-season, may be behind Griffin as well. However, heâ€™s solidly built, very talented, and a reasonable stat winner for a ruckman. On the other hand, heâ€™s got very little history of good form in the SANFL. So in summary â€“ heâ€™s cheap, but a big risk
Aisake Oâ€™hAilpin ($69k): Now, now, calm down and here me out. I know Aisake isnâ€™t even on a senior list yet, but Pagan loves him and heâ€™s been in good form in the VFL. I reckon the Blues see him playing ruck for a few years to come, and I reckon theyâ€™ll take the chance to give him serious gametime this year. It doesnâ€™t hurt that Cain Ackland is in such pathetic form at the moment (and they resorted to a young, skinny Josh Kennedy in the ruck last weekend against
Adelaide). Bring on the Irishman!
Best upgrade targets:
Dean Cox ($347k): Hereâ€™s where it gets interesting. Cox is in my opinion clearly the most reliable ruckman in Dream Team, capable of consistent big scores. But heâ€™s injured, and having that amount of money on the bench every second week is a recipe for disaster. Worth seeing how heâ€™s going with the injury before picking him
Jeff White ($350k): White has been a star for the Demons so far this year. However, he has a history of injuries, too, and after being burnt a couple of years ago Iâ€™m reluctant to jump on board
Josh Fraser ($363k): In form at the moment, and this wonâ€™t last for the whole season. Could be a good scorer, but be aware it wonâ€™t stay at this level forever
Brendan Lade ($292k): Certain bet to rise in price, but will he score enough to make it worthwhile? Iâ€™m not in it for value increases, I want the best scorer I can get. Not sure if Lade is my man this year, even though Broganâ€™s injuries have cemented his gametime
Hamish McIntosh ($298k): Wish I had him at the start of the year, but I reckon heâ€™ll run out of steam as the year rolls on. No thanks
Jamie Charman ($256k): I really rate this bloke, but heâ€™s having a shocker so far. See analysis for Lade
David Hille ($274k): Another whoâ€™s certain to rise in price, but for some reason I like Hille as a reliable scoring option. The Dons always give him gametime, (although if Laycock can get fit and firing his matchtime will fall), and heâ€™s a goalkicker. The Laycock question is one that Iâ€™m not willing to risk, though
Well, there we have it. No real definitive answers from me. However, if I have to nominate my verdict, I reckon Iâ€™ll go with Cox, and if heâ€™s hurt Iâ€™ll go with Fraser