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Upgrade analysis: Rucks

Pretty much everyone on BigFooty knew that Ben Hudson was a must-have player this year, and there were a couple of other cheapies who’ve since risen to a more appropriate price. So, the time is right to upgrade to a ‘premium’ ruck – but who? Last year’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. I’m having real trouble picking just who to target here, but I’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 he’s pretty certain to overtake Jon Griffin and become the second ruckman. However, in terms of value for money, I’m not sure he’s worth this much…

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 – he’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 Crows’ pecking order (boom boom), and after suffering a serious knee injury pre-season, may be behind Griffin as well. However, he’s solidly built, very talented, and a reasonable stat winner for a ruckman. On the other hand, he’s got very little history of good form in the SANFL. So in summary – he’s cheap, but a big risk

Aisake O’hAilpin ($69k): Now, now, calm down and here me out. I know Aisake isn’t even on a senior list yet, but Pagan loves him and he’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 they’ll take the chance to give him serious gametime this year. It doesn’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): Here’s where it gets interesting. Cox is in my opinion clearly the most reliable ruckman in Dream Team, capable of consistent big scores. But he’s injured, and having that amount of money on the bench every second week is a recipe for disaster. Worth seeing how he’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 I’m reluctant to jump on board

Josh Fraser ($363k): In form at the moment, and this won’t last for the whole season. Could be a good scorer, but be aware it won’t stay at this level forever

Brendan Lade ($292k): Certain bet to rise in price, but will he score enough to make it worthwhile? I’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 Brogan’s injuries have cemented his gametime

Hamish McIntosh ($298k): Wish I had him at the start of the year, but I reckon he’ll run out of steam as the year rolls on. No thanks

Jamie Charman ($256k): I really rate this bloke, but he’s having a shocker so far. See analysis for Lade

David Hille ($274k): Another who’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 he’s a goalkicker. The Laycock question is one that I’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 I’ll go with Cox, and if he’s hurt I’ll go with Fraser

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