The Bruyn Manoeuvre – What the RUCK?

Published by Jock on

Howdy all and welcome to this edition of The Bruyn Manoeuvre.

John Bruyn - The DimmawitsIn this article I’m going to attempt to give you an insight into the thinking I’ll employ when picking my ruckmen. I won’t be focussing too much on ‘who to pick’, that’s still up to you, but hopefully it’ll give you a kick start.

And as always, don’t take my word on anything…think for yourself!

Righto lets get cracking.

What the Ruck!

It gets said over and over in SuperCoach circles – the ruck position is always the trickiest to select. Considering we only pick two blokes plus a bench player – formerly two of course – this is an intriguing state of play.

Even this year, with everyone fretting over Defence, a coach’s choice in the ruck will still arguably go the furthest in defining their team’s structure.

Why is this? Well for starters, I think it is because you only pick the two on field players. Versus the ten choices you have in the midfield it means that you have fewer chances to pick the ‘right’ guys.

Consider Sam Jacobs and Will Minson owners last year. If they were midfielders many people would’ve probably had both – which equals an even playing field. Instead, one set of coaches was ruing that single selection for much of the year.


Combine the above with the fact that there is typically a large gap between the best and the rest and it becomes abundantly clear – high scoring, durable ruckmen score your team a ton of points.

Take Sam Jacobs last year. Across 22 games he scored a massive 2538 points for his owners. That’s premium midfielder levels! The next best ruckmen on a points basis, in Aaron Sandilands and Todd Goldstein, scored 2269 and 2244 respectively. Subtract the extra game Jacobs’ played and he is still about 200 points in front. Bang.

It’s probably obvious then that I’m an advocate for a set and forget ruck strategy, right?


‘Set and forget’ ruckmen are rucking expensive.

Try pick a team with Sam Jacobs and Shane Mumford as your rucks. Looks nice right? Awesome bye combo too!

Damn, it’s expensive though.

Are you picking Tom Rockliff? Yes? No problems. He’s expensive but geez he can go big. No? You think he is going to drop in price and you’ll get him at his bye? Fair enough too.

Champion Data – the guys that own the SuperCoach scoring system – have said that if the new points system was applied to last year’s stats Jacobs’ and Mumford’s averages would fall by -7.1 and -12.5 respectively. Together, that’s approximately $105,000 down the drain.

Hands-up Rockliff owners – would you pick him if you knew he’d fall to $600k around his bye? Hands-up non-Rockliff owners – are you hoping the Lions captain falls to about $650k let alone $600k before nabbing him?

Nothing is certain in SuperCoach. Ask the Will ‘I’m-gonna-set-and-forget-my-rucks-with-the-2013 AA-ruckman-in-2014′ Minson owners out there. There is nothing certain about Sam Jacobs being the No 1 ruckmen again this year either.

Sure, sure, avid coaches will say that the signs were there for both of Jacobs’ and Minson’s trajectories, SC average wise, in 2014 but the fact is:

If you set and forget your rucks, you are giving the guy who nails the right value pick(s) in the ruck a head start.


You rucking beauty. I’m going all mid pricer in the rucks!

As fast as I will claim that I am NOT telling you to avoid Sam Jacobs as a selection, I am also NOT telling you to go all mid-pricer. I’m also NOT, not telling you to go all mid-pricer either. Still with me?

What I AM telling you is that the ruck position is like every other on your field. If value is on offer you have to look for it.

For rucks sake, hurry up and tell me who to pick already!

Last year, Sandilands was a ridiculously easy choice in the ruck. This year’s Sandilands is Nicholas Natinuai for me. If he plays plenty of the preseason matches and enters round 1 fighting fit I think he should be one of the first selected players.

Not only is he a SC points scoring beast when on song, but Natinuai’s price is ‘coming from the bottom’ and so won’t (read “is highly unlikely to”) fall as a result of the new ruck rules. Boom. Value, value, value.

OK let’s do some maths.

Let’s assume Sam Jacobs’ average does fall 7.1 points in 2015. Now, let’s also assume that up until his round 11 bye he records two less hit outs to advantage per game owing to his slightly interrupted preseason:

Sam Jacobs starting price in 2015 $620,100 (average 115.4)
-> Minus 7.1 from his average (scoring change) = -$38,152
-> Minus 10 from his average (2 less hit-outs TA) = -$53,734
Jacobs becomes a 98.3 averaging, $528,214 priced ruckman* by round 11

Now, let’s say Matthew Leuenberger repeats his 2013 year and averages 97 (before the 2015 rule adjustment)

Matthew Leuenberger starting price in 2015 $358,000 (average 66.6)
-> Plus 30.4 to his average (improved scoring) = $163,411
-> Minus 7.5 from his average (2015 scoring change) = -$40,315
Leuenberger becomes a 89.5 averaging, $481,096 priced ruckman* by round 11

This means picking Leunberger might have cost us 88 points (8 point difference for 10 rounds) BUT it has made us $123,096 straight up and preserved the $91,886 Sam Jacobs’ price has fallen.

Furthermore, not only are we ahead almost $215,000 versus the Jacobs owners but we also had an extra $262,100 to spend on our starting squad. This could arguably have been used to more than bridge that 88 point gap between the two ruckmans’ averages.

Okay, I can hear the Crows supporting crowing from here. Why should we assume Sam Jacobs’ hit outs to advantage fall at all? He’ll be right for round 1. And besides, who says Leuy will average anywhere near 90!

My answer to this is that SuperCoach is about probabilities. Sam Jacobs is priced at a level representative of a career best, All-Australian year. His average and price risk is to the downside.

Matthew Leuenberger is cheap. Yes, he’s been injury riddled, but he will not fall in price. There’s downside risk – definitely – but on balance it’s reasonable to expect him to appreciate in price and score reasonably well.

PS this is not an advertisement for picking Leuy!

How well is of course the $50k question. If the answer for you is “I dunno, about 70” then re-do the maths above and you’ll see the equation starts to favour the Sam “set-and-forget” Jacobs owners.

In 2013 I started Mark Blicavs as my R2. At this stage, I’ll be looking for value in my rucks in 2015.

Hang on, we’re not finished. What about the rucking rookies – there’s ruck all!

It seems that way at this point doesn’t it? As it stands I’m not confident that any of the cheap rookie ruck options are worth picking. They either won’t play, or may only for a couple of weeks.

I have been wrong in the past though – Tom Derickx case and point.

Without an injury occurring I can’t see the Swans playing Naismith or Nankervis – Pyke and Tippet will get the gig there I reckon. Perhaps Lobb or Phillips will sneak in at GWS but I think it’s more likely they’ll prefer an additional midfielder in their 22 and support Mumford with one of their talls. I don’t like to cheer on an injury at any stage but Nathan Grima going down does bring Sam Durdin a step closer to our sides.

Look, the fact is, we won’t know until round 1 is upon us and we have some NAB form to look over. Put simply, right now your teams should have either a cheap R/F locked into R3 or a placeholder rookie ruck if you are that way inclined.

So which of these options should I rucking pick?

I have Tom Read at R3 and I think you should too. If you have Mason Cox as your R3 then he better have been the last bloke picked in your side – and only because you needed that extra $7k – or you need to listen up!

Presumably, Cox made your team because he lets you swing Tom Bellchambers (TBC from here) or another R/F from your forward line, OR, he at least gives you that option down the track.

Great, I like your thinking BUT you’re missing something. Tom Read of Geelong is actually the the guy you should have at R3. Here’s why..

Let’s look at the draw up until the first bye.

Below I have set up a table comparing Mason Cox at Collingwood and Tom Read of Geelong’s playing schedules. On it I’ve listed when they play, the times they play after (or against TBC) and the times they play after the obvious captain choices.

Mason Cox

Mason Cox

Tom Read

Tom Read

First things first. If your selected R3 is to be truly useful as your R/F link he needs to play after or, at a minimum, the same time as your playing R/F. This is so you have as much flexibility mid round as possible. If TBC is a late withdrawal and your R/F is already locked your trading options to avoid a potential donut will be limited.

During rounds 1-10 Cox plays after TBC 5 times versus Read’s 7. Significantly, Read plays after TBC for each of the first 4 rounds of the season. This is huge because this is when things will be most uncertain and your team will be most vulnerable.

Next, if you are going to pick a non-playing player he better be usable as a VC/Captains loophole agent or you’ve wasted that rookie slot. Forgoing cash generation is a big call.

During rounds 1-6 Cox plays after Gary Ablett once (in rd 1) and NEVER plays after Tom Rockliff, Joel Selwood, Nathan Fyfe or Scott Pendlebury (same team). This means that after that single round 1 game Cox becomes useless as a VC loophole agent. Things improve marginally during rounds 7-10 but by then the damage is done.

On the other hand, during round 1-6, Read provides 12 unique VC loophole options and remains more useful in rounds 7-10 than Cox. In addition, Read’s most useful rounds are the first 4 of the season.

But it doesn’t end there.

Read’s usefulness as a VC loophole agent is because he plays for Geelong who play far more late round games than Collingwood. This means, not only is he more useful as your R/F link, AND allows you to loop your VC more often, but he should also allow you to Emergency loophole several times through the early rounds.

Between rounds 1-10 Cox plays 3 Sunday games and these only come in rounds 7, 9 and 10. Over the same span Read plays 5, however 4 of these are rounds 1 through 4!

If you’re gonna win the title you need to start the season well. Trust me, Read’s your man.

Pick wisely people.

The rucking end.


 *For these calculations I’ve only used the round 1 ‘magic number (MN)’. The ‘MN’ is simply the coefficient Champion Data multiply with a player’s average to arrive at their price. This number actually fluctuates through the season. Typically by round 10 it will have fallen to about 5000. I’ve ignored this fall in the above calculations as the conclusions drawn are not materially impacted.

Follow JB on twitter: @imjohnb


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So JB, do you think the stratedgy of having Leuenberger at R2 and bellchambers in the fwd line is good? or should we just go with one of them?


What a fantastic article! I think you have sold me on Leuey. I currently have Jacobs but now am considering downgrading him to free up cash!


Thanks mate glad you enjoyed it.

dont trust the nat

I'm sorry gents, but Nic Nat burnt me hard last year. Cost me early points and ultimately a trade. Would need to see a standout performance in at least a few of the preseason games, but given he won't be playing this weekend is only adding to my doubts.


Naitanui was under-done early last season due to injury. His 2nd half of the season was enough to impress me.

If I was WCE I would be resting him. His the No1 ruck for the first time, and will need to carry 80% of the rucking duties (with Cox retired), its a long season, why start him in NAB week 1, when week 2, or even week 3 will surfice. He only needs 1, maybe 2 runs to find form.


You were burnt by NicNat due to lack of pre-season research. Anyone who did the research didn't pick him as he did next to no pre-season training


Great write-up JB.

Great point with the Cox v Read match times, hadnt looked that deep into the schedules.

Naitanui is a must, as you point out.

Im tossing up between Sandilands & Goldy for the R1 position, favoring Sandilands at this time, but may switch during the NAB cup.


I like sandi as a bit of a pod too mate. Goldy a very solid bet tho

Pauly Walnuts

JB, I've had R1 Jacobs R2 Nat & R3 P. Wright R/F (Gold Coast ) locked in and reluctant to change as I have loaded my M & F with guns, waiting on the NAB with rooks,and prepared suck n see with the D as the season rolls on. I suppose opinions are like backsides ,everyone has one ! Don't get me wrong I loved your theory , excellent work. 🙂


Wright is a long shot to play, maybe spending too much there mate? Look at Hannath or cheaper imo

Stevie J

Is anyone considering Nichols from GCS?


Was sitting at R2 in my team for a couple of weeks but was carrying too many mid priced players across the lines so he made way.

Plenty of upside and scoring potential when you compare him to the other rucks in the 300k-400k range.

If he does OK in the NAB I wouldn't have too much hesitation in moving him back in and using the coin to upgrade a mid pricer elsewhere

Seaford Scouse

Hey Stevie, he certainly offers value but has failed to put together anything close to a full season yet, very brave choice if you ask me, less injury risk going with any of the other cheaper options if you compare history and that’s a scary thought given it Co trains kruze and tbc!


Is it wrong to not have any players from the club you support in your team, and only 1 on the watchlist?

I am a Hawks supporter, without a Hawks player in my current supercoach team, and only Whitecross on the watchlist.

I like the idea of going to the football and supporting my team, and a few of my teams players because they are also in my supercoach team, but I just cant see them getting in to start with (except Whitecross if he shows he belongs in the Hawks best 22).

I will never barrack for opposition team players, but Supercoach certainly makes you watch games differently.

Pauly Walnuts

Mate, excluding a selected few, Hawks players don't really rate in Supercoach due to their evenness in their team, that's why they win Premierships, and no I'm not a Hawks supporter.


I have my eye on Big Boy in the ruck.

Last year he found out the hard way how the Hawks feel about a player who isn’t playing as well as he can. I’m sure he thought he had the #1 ruck spot as his own when he came over from the saints.

My feeling is the Big Boy has done some hard yards this pre-season to become the lone wolf ruckman at hawthorn and he therefore should be undervalued at $490k.

He is on my watch list but not in my team yet.


Birchall until he hurt his knee was in my team, Gibbo now on my watchlist. Lewis is in, Anderson & Whitecross on watchlist. They may be even, but also highly efficient by foot and as a stronger team, usually have the bigger slice of the SC points.


I'd like to get some idea's from everyone who is taking a R/F swing. What are you doing if Nic Nat is a late out? I think he'll get rested atleast once this year. I want to pick him, but I'm not sure I can trust him. I know Ryder is a good swing option in your fwd's, but will he be in the top 6 fwd's…..I'm not too sure he will be, especially as he'll be playing mostly fwd for port I'd imagine, so a 90 average looks more on the cards.

So in saying that, by going a Goldstein or Jacobs instead, I think the points difference between Goldstein/Jacobs to Nic Nat will be stuff all. Where as Ryder to the 6th highest scoring fwd could be 10 – 15 pts apart. So is it really worth it???

Now we look at Bellchambers in your fwd line. He's never played more than 18 games in a year. He's never averaged over 85pts in a year, he averaged 56.3 last year (yes injury affected, but he's always been that way). Lets say he gets that 85, he will go up about 150k. For me, those stats and having another injury prone player with Nic Nat, who is injury prone as well, is a definite no for me, as at best he'll make you only 150k.

Lets look at it from another angle. In the past 5 years, Nic Nat has played in 84.5% off all possible home and away games. Bellchambers only 53%. So by having both of them, and going by stats of the last 5 years, you have 31% chance of Nic Nat and Bellchambers not playing in the same week! That's almost a third of a chance that your Bellchambers back up plan will backfire and cause you 2 donuts.

I forgot to mention. Both boys might get banned from some or all AFL games by ASADA!

Looking forward to your thoughts, cheers!

Bog rat

I'm no expert hawkstowe, have you considered Lycett


Awkward price at 418k. If your spending that much, you want him to be a keeper, and he wont be in top 2 rucks or top 6 fwds at seasons end. Cant afford to have these blokes in your team if you want the 50k, in my opinion.



I am putting a R/F in my forward-line to start with, but envisage that before the byes I will insert a R/F.

I am not too concerned about NicNat pulling out late, I dont think it will happen. The WCE will manage NicNat's workload this year, given he is the #1 ruck, and doing approx 80% of the ruck work (with Lycett doing the forward-line ruck work, and giving NicNat the occasional spell). I think Nic Nat will play 20-21 of the 23 games, and when not playing it will be due to fatigue management in the later part of the season. I think he will be omitted on the team selection night, giving us time to prepare a plan.

Hopefully his value will climb to the extent where we can trade him out as the long season starts to impact on him, for another Premo ruck.


The only problem with that theory is you don't want to waste sideways trades just because someone is most likely going to have a week rest. And I doubt very much that he will play all 22 games. Up to you mate. But I think the risk isn't worth the reward with only 1 ruck bench this year. I'm just keen on getting some ideas off everyone to see what there doing. As Nic Nat is a beast, and I'd love to pick him, but just don't see how!

Gary Real

Good point on asada


Don't think anyone should be worried about Nic Nat missing a game. Jacobs was the only ruckman to play all 22 last year. If your rucks both play 20+, I'd consider this a big win.


Many thanks JB. Some very solid advice here for all coaches.
A ripper read that has confirmed some of my thoughts.




Nah it's not wrong Donavan, they share the ball around too much to have any SC must haves and at least you can just watch your team play without having to worry if your premium is struggling or not.

FWIW I don't have any Hawthorn players in my side, but I have Gibson and Lewis on the watchlist. I reckon Whitecross will be eased into it at Box Hill, may even be a downgrade target.

Bog rat

Fantastic article JB


Thanks big rat


Sublime as always with your insights, Mr. Bruyn.

Leaning towards Goldie. Bit of a price dip and he's one of the few rucks you can count on for 20+ games. Luey and Martin dynamic not sure of. 2013 Luey was clear #1 ruck. With Martin and his penchant for the tape, would rather take the easier route. Plus have gut feeling Goldie along with the rest of the Roos will do better this year.

R3 like Nanky. Pyke and Tippett aren't iron men so think he'll get some time. Earning is always better. Plus have a Freo boy as a loop.

Again, excellent topic and writeup, JB!


Hi Throttle.
I agree with you in that Martin simply has to impact on Lueys scoring potential. Martins performance when he came in last year was outstanding, and simply cannot be ignored by Brisbane. The only comfort comes from the fact that Luey really isn't a forward, and as such the potential for them to split the Ruck duties is limited. Where does that leave the Team Dynamic, whom knows?
I'm currently running Nat Luey, but I must say, it doesn't 'feel' right!
Of the super Premo Rucks, Goldy would also be my choice.


Hey Rocksta!

Like Maric as well but don't think he has the staying power of Goldie. If I go the cheap ruck route, considering Nicholls. Need to be the clear R1 and show impressive NAB form.


Yeah Maric & Goldy my preferred choices with nicnat, both finished strong but goldy + nicnat share same bye so its an issue for a few $ more can get sandi but leaning towards dropping to maric


That they share a bye shouldn't bother you too much. Gaz and Pendles can pick up the slack. And Goldy and NicNat can do the same round 12. And a river runs through it…


Yeah tend to think Martin won't affect him too much. Perhaps cap his av at 85-90. But you'd take that I think


Also Bris have no Jonathan Brown anymore. Will Martin see some fwd time?

Dustbin Feltchers

great article JB…i've been going through the fixture trying to nut out which R3 ruck to have for the vc loop hole…pendles is my preferred vc option as he plays early games..ablett or rocky as captain…Read seems to be the man..thanks for sharing. there don't seem to be many rookie the donut vc loophole may as well be a cheap ruck. If anyone can explain why you would waste a rookie mid then i will doesn't makes sense as they provide cash generation…and there are plenty of them to choose from…cheers


No worries mate


I don't see why so many people are considering TBC. Yes i agree a R/F would be beautiful for ruck cover, however that's a big risk in your forward line for an unproven injury prone player. I'd much rather a Jack Martin over TBC for the same price. If you have Luey and he goes down, wouldnt you be trading him out regardless? I'm just very confused as to all the fuss, please someone explain to me why TBC would be a good selection.

As it stands i have nic nat and big boy in my rucks, with wright as R3 (saw a very promising article on him this morning).


TBC is only picked so as to utilise the R3 R/F swing in the case one of your starting Rucks goes down. Given you have Luey as your R2, it's highly likely that you will need cover. As such, having TBC will save you trades.
I'm running the gauntlet myself and leaving TBC out. If Ryder was out and out first Ruck at Port, it would be best to have him in your forward line to create cover. Problem is, Lobbe is also a good Ruckman and as such I cannot see how Ryders price won't go down in the early rounds until the dynamic between the 2 of them is sorted out.
I can see the merit in having TBC in your forward line early doors, but for 6 rounds tops


hmm.. i see that. i just don't think he'll score well/he could go down as well in which case you'd really be screwed haha! I think i'll stick with mcevoy and nic nat in my rucks. mcevoy should give me a nice POD too 😉

cheers mate


Certainly a safer option?
I must say, I'm not a fan of TBC, and hence why I've left him out


TBC as R2 doesn't entice?


If Jacobs gets injured, who is the crows replacement?


Lowden probably.


Lowden shouldn't be as expensive as he is, had 1 game!

other listed rucks at Crows are Osborn (123k) and O'Brien (117k). does anyone know anything about them and if they might have to play if anything goes wrong with Jacobs?


Osborn and O'Brien are both rookies. If Jacobs does go down (fingers crossed this doesn't happen) then from what I've read and my feeling would be that Lowden would get first crack, then O'Brien. The Barron might be able to give better information on the crows though.


I agree that Lowden shouldn't be that expensive. I'm very unhappy about it as I had him lined up to be my ruck bench, but that's too expensive for a player who's played 1 game.


Ripper article JB!
Currently got Jacobs in R1 as I was a bit worried about Leuey sharing with Martin, but this article has made me change my thinking. I've done a bit of quick research thanks to, and in round 23 last year Leuey and Martin both played together for the first time all year, which also happened to be Leuey's return from an extended break.
Martin was his usual dominant self accumulating 32 touches and a goal for 101 points. But he only had 15 hitouts, compared to Leuey's 36 hitouts (and 6 tackles in his first game in 19 weeks!) resulting in 96 points.
What this hopefully shows, is a thing to come for this season – Leuey playing as the no. 1 ruck, with Martin switching between FF, pinch hitting in ruck and even scoring some midfield time.
If this happened, surely Leuey would be a LOCK!


Hi Sean.
I don't think Luey can be anything other than the No.1 Ruck.
He isn't a good forward and Martin is much more versatile. I can't see how Brisbane could play the 2 of them together any other way.


Yeah I agree Rocksta, was still a bit skeptical about his scoring potential in the same way some people are about Lobbe/Ryder. But seeing him score 96 with Martin in the same team on return from a 19 week injury, I reckon he should get back to at least 90+ average.


I don't expect to keep Leuey all year, I am hoping for a cash increase and then pick up a fallen premo.


^ this ^


Keep an eye on Scott lycett peeps

Seaford Scouse

Agree with that mate, Cameron Wood anyone? Took over from Warnock late last year, offers value….

General Soreness

The main downside I see with Cameron Wood is that when he gets a possession it usually results in negative supercoach scoring.


lol…Gary Rohan style


Isn't any different than Warnock, GS!

Seaford Scouse

Good point there General, was thinking Carlton might be on the improve with some quality rookie/younger additions which night help that out but that seems to be far from a convincing case after that turd of a display out west, still only 1 game and tropical conditions so still hope there yet. Looking at Wood (as I am all mid-pricers) as I’m definitely not convinced by tbc or Nicholls at the moment, leuy may be the go after all. What I do find I threshing about him at the moment is that the Lions are managing him to a new lower workload throughout the whole pre-season to see if it helps with his ability to stay on the park, if that works then he might end up even being a keeper, not holding my breath though!

King Menace

Nic Nat and Leuey
Goldy and Leuey


I'm going with Mumford/NicNat at this stage.

I'm not sure how the new ruck rules with have affect so looking to set and forget with 2 rucks that can get extra points from other stats other than hit outs.

Mumford averaged 6 tackles a game last year as well as 13 disposals playing injured for part the season, hoping with a full preseason he will push those numbers up to 10 tackles, 18 disp plus his average of 36 hitouts with hopefully 30 percent being to advantage. If he can do that i think he will average the same SC score this year.

And NicNat is basically another midfielder and can easily get 30 touches on top of his hit outs.

Thoughts anyone?


Nic nats best disposal game was 25, 3 years ago and has rarely gone over 20 in his career.
Also expecting Mummy to increase his numbers by 40-50% at this stage of his career is a bit unrealistic.


Re Nic Nat: Who cares about his 'low' historical disposal numbers when most of them are contested (which SC score highly) AND he tackles, gets clearances, pressures around the stoppages and around the ground. The fact that he is FIT for the first time ever, and will spend more time on the ball where the action is would have to point to his overall scoring improving.


you only need to watch Nic Nat's Point of the Year – AFL, and you lock him in your team


The comment made was that Nic nat can EASILY get 30 touches. Just suggesting that he won't, due to his history. Unrealistic to think that he will.
Does this mean I won't pick him. Hell no. First picked.


Going with both NicNat and Leuey is very risky especially with no cover, and cover is very expensive this year in terms of lost points. If you get lucky it could win you the season (who would have thought Sandi would last the season last year) but too much risk for me. Given that NicNat is more robust than Leuey and a much better chance of seeing out the season my vote is for a Jacobs/Goldy type (Mumford too injury prone for me) R1 plus NicNat and take a risk on no cover. Bear in mind too that what you are risking points wise for a late out is a FWD rookie score (60?).
Great article and a good debate.


Great write up Johnny! Was hoping that this info on Read would stay on the down low. I think a lot more people will be spending that extra 7k for benefit of Read over Cox.


Nothing stays on the down low for too long mate! Certainly not here!

General Soreness

Ripping write up John. From the comments, the starting ruck line may very well be a major contributing factor in SC in 2015. The number of schools of thought in these forums about high risk / mid risk / no risk – cover/no cover – it is what makes this game great. We all have an opinion, none are wrong, at least, not yet.


Cheers general. Agree I think defence will be fine once the dust settles. Rucks will determine a lot


Awesome article mate! Locking in Mumford and Jacobs now 🙂




Hi JB, this article reinforces that the VC rule is a joke, why does supercoach even have a vice captain with rolling lockouts?

It worked well when lock out was for the entire round, as protection if your captain went down, now is it just used as a manipulation tool, it has completely taken the skill out of selecting a captain

Let me know your thoughts!


I love it! If anything it makes it more skillful to select your C and VC. Before we all just put the C on Gaz and that was it, we all did the same thing. Where's the fun in that?! Now if you pull a high VC score it can change the course of the weekend match up!


What different does it make, you get a free swing at your second pick, so it is ablest or someone else, whereas just captain you actually need to make an educated to go ablett or let's say sandi against a certain team, which takes courage to make that decision, now it just wait and see how one or the other goes

It would make little to no difference to virtual sport because of the rolling lockout anyway, the same people are going to be on it regardless of VC loophole or not! And yes it is unfair to player who can't utilise this tool due to other commitments and in the long run these people will lose interest because they can't compete against the players who have the time to use the rolling lockout, it has created an uneven playing field

If they want more traffic virtual sport could eliminate Emergency players and just chop and change to get all your players on the field


I disagree, if anything more skill and research is required selecting your VC/C. As Sarah pointed out it was either Gaz or no one back in the day, now x-player who has a good record against a team or at a particular ground must be considered. Fortune favours the brave.

Granted it favours those who can log in on the weekend and make changes, but VirtualSports is a business. More hits for their site


In a way I agree, however if it was locked like you say everyone would pick ablett and there would be way less variation than there is now.

Of course SC does favour those that have the time to monitor over the weekend but again. That's also why the game is more 'hardcore' and at the end of the day it is the most popular game.

A point of debate sure, and a good reason why real dream team exists.


One of the most informative articles I have EVER read JB btw! but I disagree with Pat aswell – with the VC loophole you still have to decide whether to take the VC score or whether someone like a Rockliff or whoever is actually going to do better or worse? I personally like the loophole. and LOVE the footy being back on. Bring it on peoples!…


leuenberger or bellchambers?


griffen or wines


Flip a coin, Rob. I've got a bit of man love for Wines so he is my choice


Every year I burn myself by trying to find value in rucks at the beginning of the season, and it just never works out for me. ( excluding sandi last year, but I went with pyke as R1) This year my first team had Nic Nat / Kruezer, then changed to Nic Nat / luey. So now I'm forcing myself to pick a premium, looking at goldy/ Nic Nat combo . Touch wood, if one goes down, it's not much to sideways trade, whearas if luey goes down early, I have to sacrifice cash to upgrade or pick bloody Bellchambers as my R2 .


Best article of the year so far mate. Got so much out of it! The Cox vs Read discussion was a gem in particular. Thanks again for sharing.


Cheers vcloop but I disagree. Reckon mad micks team selection series does/will take that title. Check it out if you haven't already!


I think the main decision is whether to cover your rucks or not. At this stage I am going with Sandiballs/Nic Nat, with Wright as back up should he come through well in the NAB. So Set & Forget with a splash of cover if need be.
I am tempted by Read for a VC loop hole all year and with the R/F ability, but even tho I can always swap in some cover down the track it will kill me if either of my boys go down. I just don't want to be burning a trade in this area if I don't need to.
Putting a line through TBC and Ryder, I don't need the temptation
Great article JB!


Is it too risky having Lobbe and Ryder in my team???


These calculations seem different to higgos in the magazine???


Mate don't get too hung up. Higgo probably used a different magic number or perhaps assumed a slightly different average for the players. It's the direction that matters not the exact numbers.

King Menace

Nic Nat and Leuey or Goldy and Leuey


Goldy, Nic Nat and Read


Is it important to have mid to def swing sets in place this early in the season?


I've seen quiet a few people ask about which ruck combo to go with.
Nic Nat and Leuey or
Goldy and Leuey

Nic Nat and Leuey could pay off, but you don't have a reliable ruckman. If you see Nic Nat as a keeper, than maybe this is for you.
Goldy and Leuey, Goldstein is consistant, and rarely gets injured. Reliable as ever, and you will have him for the whole season. Leuey will be a stepping stone for another ruckman in my opinion.

King Menace

DEF: Smith, Shaw, Newnes, Henderson, Goddard, Lever, Viojo-Rainbow, Newman
MID: Ablett, Pendles, Fyfe, Selwood, Sloane, Wines, Boekhorst, Freeman, Vandenberg, Steele, Lambert
RUC: Goldstein, Leuenberger, Read
FWD: Goddard, Martin, Swan, Salem, Hogan, Laverde, Daniel, Krakouer

I'm not sure wether to downgrade Wines to get Nic Nat instead of Leuenberger, or to downgrade Goldstein to get Nic Nat. Also, should I get rid of Fyfe for Rockliff?


Looks good King Menace. Your engine room looks brilliant. Few rookie listed selections there in Newman, Vandenberg, Lambert, and Krakouer that you'll need to keep an eye on to see if they get a senior list spot.

If you downgraded Wines who could you get?

King Menace

Rich or maybe Biggs


I don’t see many teams with JPK. Why?


He's in mine , currently at M4


I'd say the dreaded Round 12 bye is probably the main reason Derek, but he's a lock in my team


I have JPK and Spiderman in my team, best two mids for Swans and both hardly miss games.


Shhhh. M4 for me.


Big Boy Mcevoy looks good


Big Ben is worth considering. He was put in Box Hill last year after being the recruit of the year. I think he will have a massive year

Trab Pukcip

I feel like I have just watched Inception, Predestination, Memento and Triangle in a mindf…k marathon!! More I think about it the more my eyes go crooked!!


Welcome to Supercoach mate!


I can't wait to what Jason (John) Holmes play in the NAB Cup. They say he jumps higher than Nic Nat. His brother is a wide receiver for Oakland Raiders. I've got him at R3, I won't be surprised if he gets games this year, I'm worried about Tom Hickey's knee.


Great article I am going with Maric and Ni Nat. Surprised more people have not looked at Maric. Was instrumental in tigers run home last year and has an full pre season I can see him averaging 100-110.


Like it emhoy, Solid ruck combos should give 200+ week in, week out. This combo should have an output in the region of 220+, week in, week out. They both have had full pre-seasons. Good call.

Old Shark

Great Article and it has woken me up a bit. I relaised I has structured why whole team around the facft that it was highly likely that either Nic Nat, Luey or TBC were going to get injured but that I had it covered. I think those of us that have played for few year can have a tendency towards complexity and all of the hindsight reviews point out that simplicity is king!!!!! I have now made some changes kicked both Luey and TBC out and kept Nic Nat who I think will be a gun this year and will put in either Goldy Or Maric.

Amazingly to make this work I have ended up with a much greater Guns and Rookies looking team and feel better about it all…

Thanks again


Hiya all, fantastic write up JB. Personally I believe that getting your ruck setup right is almost the most crucial step towards SC glory this year. I wont go over most of the points raised/discussed already above, but I would suggest looking into the recent history of the so-called safe or premium ruckmen before selecting them. There is a trend for ruckmen to have major fluctuations from season to season (on my phone atm so dont have the figures but will post when I get behind a keyboard) but as an example I was lambasted for selecting Jacob’s last year after he averaged 85ish in 2013 from 20+ games, yet he was the premium ruck for the year. With the new scoring system for rucks generally going to affect them in a negative sense, id rather look for value (fwiw im currently running NN/luey) and using the freed up funds elsewhere, ie in the backs. Will be interesting to see whether this nets more points per dollar spent, or if im barking up the wrong tree 🙂 – Dj


How do you think rocky will drop upwards of $100k?


any thoughts on Cameron wood??

I think he is a good option for No'1 spot at Carlton and could go well this season?


thinking that too… finished off the year really well!


If TBC is so iffy, surprised no one has mentioned Giles. 111 SC in NAB1, albeit against topped up Ess.


giles is essendon?


love the review as always, rucks are tough alot going with natanui still a risk there really anything under minson is a risk, def my hardest spot at moment to get righ sauce a lock…..


nobody talking about Maric, and they have a good start?