Proven Vs Improving – Supercoach Rucks

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Proven Vs Improving – Rucks

In the second article I thought I’d speculate on the beanpoles, and have a look at where they are in terms of age profiles, and then compare the 3 best ruckman of last year to the 3 up and comers and speculate on what they may be capable of in 2020.

Casting your mind back to 2019 and the number 1 and number 3 ranked players overall were rucks – Grundy/ Gawn, whilst Goldstein filled the number 8 spot. Rowan Marshall was available as a forward and ranked 2nd for forwards (28 overall) and Reilly O’Brien started as a 136K rookie and went on to become one of the best cash cows. After breakout years, Marshall and O’Brien can be selected as ruck only in 2020.

So, who should you pick?

Well, of course you have all studied the 10 commandments of supercoach and know that you “Set and Forget Thy Ruckman”. So pick Grundy and pick Gawn right? Well yes, but maybe no. because another commandment is that “Thou shall not select underdone players”.  So up until a month ago Gawn was looking good, then up in Queensland he suffered a moderate grade 2 strain to his medial ligament. He’s been cleared of major damage, is back training and may be back to start the season.

However, maybe you consider $697,100 is a hell of a lot for a slightly injured, underdone, really tall skinny dude? You want a plan B?, or you just can’t possibly consider spending 15% of you salary cap on just 2 big tall dudes?

So who is at what age?

Building/ Peak /Declining

Based on this sample of current players, the peak scoring period for the ruckmen is 24-28, with a slight drop off at 29/30. Which seems pretty reasonable.

The biggest breakout happens at age 24, with a fairly whopping 30 point increase avg for these 6 players.  The smallest increase being 10 points, but all managed scoring increases! This is a nice tick for both O’Brien and Marshall this season, who will be 24.

The peak is at age 26 ( With Martins 45 removed). Gawn, Goldstein and Jacobs all peaked at 26. Grundy will be 26 this year – Woohoo, Just pick him!

The Improvers?

So I’ve selected last years 3 best and the 3 up and coming rucks to see if we can predict where they might end up this year.

Tim English averaged 82.6 last year and averaged 92.6 for the last 5 games– based on the 11 point average improvement he ends up at 93. That doesn’t seem unreasonable- I think 90-100 is his range, still too young for a major breakout, but improvement likely

Reilly O’Brien – didn’t play at top level for 2 years, then comes out and smashes a 95 avg!  so based on the average +20 , he ends up at 115. Sounds OK.  A 110-115 sounds about right to me.

Rowan Marshall – again a +20, so he ends up at 130. Seems a bit high to me, especially given the big jump of 47 last year and the Paddy Ryder factor this year. If he can maintain 110 he’ll be doing well, I’m thinking maybe he will get to 120.

Todd Goldstein -112.2 last year, 119.8 under Rhyce Shaw, 123.6 for the last 5. Champion Data gives Nth the 2 best midfield, and 6th best overall list. Impressive hey?  I say bollocks, and he’s a bit old and I’d go for a slight drop off to 95-105!

Big Maxy – an average decline of 7.8 points at age28 for the 4 ruckman above. Sounds about right, I’d say a 5-10 point drop off wouldn’t out of the question. And could miss a game or 2, (which leans me towards young ROB or Marshall).  somewhere around avg 120 ?

Grundy – at the peak age for ruckman apparently, surely he can’t improve more ??- Again, just pick him!

The others

Lycett is at a good age. It appears that he had quite a premiership hangover that lasted 6 months! Averaged 101.4 for the year, but went 122 average post byes. Without Ryder in the team he averaged 125. Could be good, then again, he could be bad- A little too up and down for my liking.

Jacobs – Is old, but cheap. I think with the GWS midfield he improves on the last couple of years, will start off ok and make a bit of money. Not for me but I can see the reasoning behind selecting him.

Ceglar- So remember that a player who is listed as a forward but plays pure ruck is supercoach gold! Remember Marshall last year?? Yes, well Ceglar ain’t no Marshall !     Ok, Seriously, avg 76.8 last year, averaged 95 in the last 3 games when Clarko moved McEvoy to defence, and Ceglar rucked solo . Could be ok as a forward, extra points for being handy as a ruck backup – However I have 2 concerns   1. Clarko, 2. McEvoy.

Naitinui – Such a talented beast. Clearly the best points per minute of any ruckman in the comp when he’s one the field, unfortunately he just isn’t out there enough!  At age 29, injury history, clearly being managed with limited minutes for the rest of his career to get through games and the season. No

At the moment I have Grundy in my team with Marshall. Tossing up between Marshall and O’Brien. I still think Gawn will be the second best ruckman based on Avg but will miss games- (Has only played 22 games 2 out of last 7 seasons, and the signs for this season aren’t all positive thus far), and therefore there is a reasonable chance Marshall/ O’Brien score more overall for the season than Gawn.  I just have more confidence that Marshall and O’Brien play 22 games, and based on some improvement in them, and a slight decline for Gawn, it will be a better option.

If you want to share your selections, projections or any other rucks you are considering, please share your thoughts/ comments below.

As Always, don’t follow my advice, I’m bad at supercoach!

Cheers Captain Risky.

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One thing I haven't factored in is the changes to ruck scoring which happened a few years ago. Not sure when that was? I guess that means that the declines for the older rucks have been diminished a bit, (probably explains the late peaks for Mumford/ Martin), and the rises in the younger rucks is more pronounced. If someone wants to work that out please go ahead!
Maybe that means Gawn could to decline a little more?


Trying to be both original & helpful! You?


Not sure this analysis is legit, sorry. But SC rules changed a few years back that really favored rucks which is distorting some of this


There is still good insight. The age jump is still relevant. Just harder to compare because they are under different scoring regimes. I think it’s still meaningful. I think it shows that an improving English might still need another year. Marshall would be in a sweet spot, except for the addition of Ryder. ROB ticks the age box, but whether he has enough seasons under his belt is questionable. Goldy had shown age decline until the rules change – you might also conclude similarly about Max.

For me, Max looks likely to drop with scoring. Will it be this season or next season is the $64 question. And if he does drop off, is there a worthy replacement? It seems like all the alternatives might be “nearly, but not quite”. Could be the risk that sets you apart from the field, or condemns your whole season.


I also read that article. It was also enjoyable and informative. Remarkably similar – absolutely not. Same topic, completely different articles. Just because two SuperCoach sites have an article on Grundy Gawn – as you would totally expect- doesn’t mean they are copies.


I running a SC Draft league. $20 entry, winner takes all. Have 4 spots free. Send me an email if you’re keen to join [email protected]


It does make comparisons a bit harder – I don't see that it changes the comparison between the Gawn /Grundy & the young guys, just the older guys –
I think Changes occurred 5 Years ago -2015- which is when Mumford got 105.7 Jacobs got 108 Martin 110.
Martins, Mumfords & Jacobs peak scores were pre scoring changes.
So Pre / Post changes Jacobs dropped 7 points, Martin Dropped 1 point and Mumford dropped 9. Goldy went +22.
Grundy went 62 to 91, and Gawn went 63 to 102, which for the most part appears to be breakout .


Nice work Captain! Personally I could see Gawn potentially dropping a few points and health is a huge issue. Although that’s not enough to stop me from picking him.

Dees should hopefully be up and about this year and despite injury fawns performance will probably stay high enough that id rather take the risk instead of worrying how to get him.

Also, my team is named after him sooooo I can’t leave him out hahah

Lycett would probably be my next pick. Think he can probably elevate this year with some consistent minutes.


Lycett was dropped last year, I wouldn't be going anywhere near him.


Good write up, my 2 Rucks atm are Grundy and ROB. Just think the team has better balance but Gawn will be # 2 barring injury.


Marndy has a nice ring to it.


McEvoy has done a hammy, enter Mr,Ceglar to think about ?


Just a cork DBB, jeez Titch a lazy 35 at quarter time, Maxy King looking allright too…he is a very large man but quite agile


Change in SC scoring distorting this analysis a bit. Drops for goldy, sauce, Martin, mummy all at the same time so is this age or scoring change affected? Gawn is a HTA beast, but improved hugely as a result of scoring change our age? Also I feel it’s less about numerical age and # of seasons in the league before players hit their prime


Another factor you need to weigh up when comparing stats of the rucks is were they rucking solo or with someone else. For example, Lycett saw a nice rise last year, but was it because it was the first time he rucked not as NicNats understudy.

Nevertheless, a great read!


1st comment as well … excellent trolling there.


The changes to the scoring for Ruck men make the comparisons a bit dodgy for me. Worthwhile point about rucking solo made by shark too. That applies across other positions too doesn’t it but it can work both ways. A player being out might buy another player more mid time or more prominent role but it also buys you a better opponent or even a tagger.

So what are the factors that really indicate a break out coming?

Games played?
Picking the rookies who were drafted back in 2018 rather than 2019 and have had a solid development.
Does anyone like blokes who change clubs for more opportunity

Any thoughts