Round 15, 2012. Matthew Lobbe shoulders the ruck load for Port against the old enemy Adelaide and concedes a record 61 hit outs to Sam Jacobs.
I put a line through him that day. Turned to Higgo and just shook the old head. This kid was never gonna make a number 1 AFL ruckman. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him head down to the SANFL, bob up as a second ruckman occasionally before getting the arse.
Very occasionally I’m proven wrong. And this looks as if this was one of those occasions.
2014 Price: Supercoach $464,400, AFL Fantasy $439,300
2014 Position: RUCK
2013 averages: 86 SC, 81 DT (19 games)
2012 averages: 71 SC, 67 DT (9 games)
2011 averages: 75 SC, 72 DT (10 games)
On the face of it he looks a rubbish option. Had his best season average with 86 Supercoach last year, not exactly bargain priced at $460K odd. You’d have to be off your dial to consider him wouldn’t you? I thought so as well.
The thing is – Lobbe pulled his finger out in the back half of the season in 2013. He had to. Koschie needed him.
A few things went his way. Firstly, Jarrad Redden stuffed his shoulder against the Dogs in round 10. This meant that Matty had to step up to the plate as the clear number 1 ruck. The other things is that the only other prospect to help with the rucking was Brent Renouf who, with all due respect, shows significant spud tenancies.
He found his confidence in the wet against the Swans in round 13 when he gave Mike Pyke a hiding to nothing on his way to a nice 110 SC. Yes he only beat a big uncoordinated Canadian bloke in the mud but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that he found some self confidence. I could see it in his eyes and could hear it in his voice on the phone after the game.
By round 20, with some solid game time and fitness under his belt he emerged. He delivered 5 tons in his last 6 games (including finals) at an average of 114 Supercoach points. This included a ball breaking 154 against Geelong in round 20 where he managed 59 hit-outs, and an arousing 127 against Fremantle where he busted out 15 tackles in a hungry display.
2014 Predicted Status: Premium
Predicted Average 2014: 94-107 SC
Selection Status: A real option here.
He will go into the 2014 season as the clear #1 ruckman at Port who are a team on the march. He’s 24 now and is just the age you look for when hunting for a break out ruck contender. I expect him to outperform his opening price and would suggest that he will be a value selection this year.
Provided he has a solid preseason he could be a real special this season. If you like him as your first or second ruckman I reckon that could work out very well for you.
However teams will have done their homework on him over the summer. With that, he’ll have a few learning curves to go through yet before he reached elitehood. While I see an 100+ average as very possible, I wouldn’t expect him to average as much as he did in the arse end of last season.
I’m not certain he’ll make the cut in JR Brumby FC this season. He’ll compete with some of the other premium ruck’s for an R1 position in my side, but at this stage I may spend the extra coin to get a ruckman who has demonstrated Elite prowess over a longer period of time. This is structural as I’ll be looking at a 1 premium, 3 rookie ruck structure this season if I can muster the cattle I need to pull it off.
Over to you lot – what are your thoughts on Matty Lobbe?