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This is how afl.com.au's Peter Ryan views our ruck stocks -

MELBOURNE

In the final year of his contract Mark Jamar, 31, needs to produce to retain his hold on the number one ruck spot. He is a good player and showed glimpses of his best last season, but Max Gawn, 23, is breathing down his neck. If Gawn remains injury free he shapes as an excellent replacement, as he can play forward, is mobile and can make good decisions. The Demons have shown a willingness to play two ruckmen in the team, but are more flexible with just one in the 22. Jake Spencer, 25, fills a stop-gap role, relying on effort and strength to make a contribution while rookie Max King, 19, needs to knuckle down to take his chance. Jack Fitzpatrick, 23, can assume ruck duties up forward but does not shape as a realistic centre-square option. Peter Ryan Ruckin role

Apart from Max King who was picked up as a rookie at the end of 2013 we haven't recruited any ruckmen in the Roos era which indicates to me that the coaching panel don't believe that replenishing our ruck stocks is a major priority over getting the rest of our midfield right.

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2015 will be an important season for Gawn and Spencer. I think it's unlikely that Jamar will go around again in 2016, meaning that one of these two players has to prove themselves as a #1 ruckman that can stay on the park. I think Gawn has what it takes, it's just a matter of whether or not his body can cope for a full 22 (or, hopefully, 25) games. If neither can prove themselves this year, then surely we'll be looking for someone via trade/FA for 2016.

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PR,will drag the older ruckman through the season and when he needs it will "trade" for an experienced one.

How to run a ruck division in modern footy by PR.

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If you have a smart midfield you can ... rove to the opposition ruckman.

The main role I see of a ruckman is a tall midfielder with a huge tank.

Tap ruckmen seem a thing of the past.

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As Gawn is one of the tallest ruck men in the AFL, let us hope that we can develop this height superiority as Freo have done with Sandilands. If we can, then he has more upside as a genuine weapon, both as a ruck and when resting in the forward line. He is 12 centimetres taller than Hogan and our other key forwards , so surely that will present match-up difficulties for opposition Clubs. I see Spencer as depth and the key to Casey taking out the Premiership this year.

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I see jamar as too slow and unable to contest against young jumpers in the centre. His spider crouch strength is good around the grounds though. Niki nat may actually jump over him in the middle. Injured after 8 games normally.

Gawns good in the centre square but his instinct to protect himself going for marks around the ground comes into play after halftime and he goes up one handed. I believe his knees are only good for 8 games as well.

Spencer is awkward but enormously strong at the contest. Yet every year they are all training the house down.

I would persevere with Spence but I hope Max proves me wrong.

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This is how afl.com.au's Peter Ryan views our ruck stocks -

Apart from Max King who was picked up as a rookie at the end of 2013 we haven't recruited any ruckmen in the Roos era which indicates to me that the coaching panel don't believe that replenishing our ruck stocks is a major priority over getting the rest of our midfield right.

Apart from the centre bounce where rucks have an exclusion zone, they really cannot provide any hitouts to advantage around the ground like they used to. Mids are too well trained and taggers don't give their opponents any room.

When at Sydney, Roos instructed his rucks to bring the ball to ground at their feet, so that their superior mids could do something with the ball in a contested situation. So the role of rucks has become minimal in a game. They become a useful tool when they drop into the forward line and stretch the opposition. But that goes at both ends of the ground, so the opposition can stretch you when they are in possession.

I often wonder when a coach will give up with a big man at the centre bounce to get another real ball getter in there.

As to the question posed, Gawn is the only long term prospect we have, with the trend to the tallest possible to do the job. And he can mark the ball above his head, and kick the thing as well....unlike Spencer.

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I see jamar as too slow and unable to contest against young jumpers in the centre. His spider crouch strength is good around the grounds though. Niki nat may actually jump over him in the middle. Injured after 8 games normally.

Gawns good in the centre square but his instinct to protect himself going for marks around the ground comes into play after halftime and he goes up one handed. I believe his knees are only good for 8 games as well.

Spencer is awkward but enormously strong at the contest. Yet every year they are all training the house down.

I would persevere with Spence but I hope Max proves me wrong.

Jamar and Gawn have been in the rehab group a lot over the past few years. This is the first year I can remember them training with the main group early let alone training the house down.

Injury is the thing that could bring big Maxy Gawn down, if he gets a clear run he will be a beauty...

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Apart from the centre bounce where rucks have an exclusion zone, they really cannot provide any hitouts to advantage around the ground like they used to. Mids are too well trained and taggers don't give their opponents any room.

When at Sydney, Roos instructed his rucks to bring the ball to ground at their feet, so that their superior mids could do something with the ball in a contested situation. So the role of rucks has become minimal in a game. They become a useful tool when they drop into the forward line and stretch the opposition. But that goes at both ends of the ground, so the opposition can stretch you when they are in possession.

I often wonder when a coach will give up with a big man at the centre bounce to get another real ball getter in there.

As to the question posed, Gawn is the only long term prospect we have, with the trend to the tallest possible to do the job. And he can mark the ball above his head, and kick the thing as well....unlike Spencer.

Teams run the risk of getting smashed if they did that

The truth is that good ruckmen nullify each other and without a good one, teams can often get exposed. Once a team gets a mismatch in their favour in the ruck they then have a greater opportunity to tap the ball to their own advantage.

... and I still believe it's too early to make an accurate judgement call on Gawn or Spencer ... neither have enough exposed form and both need a good run at it for that judgement to happen. Jamar is still the standout - he's not great but he still competes very well (in the ruck)

Edited by Macca
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Roos might try playing 2 specialist ruckmen ... we really do need a 3rd marking target (option) in the forward line and it might have to be Jamar. We'll probably go with Pedersen as the 2nd ruck/utility but that's not an ideal situation if we're looking to have a strong advantage over the opposition.

If Gawn can hold down the ruck position for 70% of a game, Jamar could then be used as a big bodied forward as either a decoy or as a go-to man when the situation arises. However, Gawn needs to improve his forward line play if the above scenario was to be put in place on a regular basis. He doesn't use his height properly in marking contests ... it's never too late for him to learn though.

In case of injury, Spencer is the back-up but he might come on more this year ... big blokes normally need a bit more time in the system and in the case of rucking, they need a proper opportunity. Reserves form is not always a good guide with regards to the ruck position.

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First off we have finished up on wrong end the ladder for umpth seasons for a very good reason. That is we have weaknesses all over the ground.

The most glaring was the lack of decent mids, thanks to not being able to field a forward line last year, that turned into another weakness.

The back line, although not brilliant, is servicable. Our rucks, are only fair in the scheme of things.

Jamar will be lucky to see past this year. He had one or two seasons where is was able to roam around the ground he gave us a target for taking contested (pack) marks. He was also decent resting up forward as another goalkicking option. All that dried up, all we got from him was him tapping the ball to his feet, and creating another ballup. We gained nothing,as we couldnt clear the ball. Hopefully he can give us a lot more this year,and get through to 2016.

Gawn, big and strong,but with wonky knees. This doesnt fill me with a lot of confidence,every time I see him go down, the 1st thing that comes to mind ,is he has just done another knee. Hopefully that doesnt happen, and he continues to gain confidence. But he still needs to be able to drop back to the backline and present himself as other tall back when required. We know he is handy up forward when resting. He also needs to be able to take contested marks around the ground and give it off to a running player,when the situation presents.

Spencer is very unco, but aggressive and has good leg speed for a big guy, but he is 25 been on the list for 6 yrs. Time to step up as show a lot more than what he has so far. Not very inspiring but who else do we play?

Fitzpatick is more a forward /ruckman. He has shown he can play AFL, but a glimpse is all we have got from him so far. Cant see him being a ruckman fulltime.His marking is questionable, when he gets his confidence up he can do well. But cant see him as a fulltime ruckman.

[Pedersen] can fill a role pinch hit here and there, but NOT a full time ruckman either. That leaves Jamar who will be 32 at seasons end. So do we pin all our hopes on a fit Gawn? I wouldnt. We need to start to target a few ruckman. After we get out marquee midfielder.

Do we trade for a young ruckman? If so, who and what do we put on the table? Howe ,Grimes?

Of all the players on the short list, there isnt much to offer anyone. Age in brackets.

Bail (26) , D.Cross (31), Hunt (19), M.Jones (27).McKenzie (24), [Pedersen] (27), Terlick (25), reluctantly Trengove, who survived a trade but still its unclear if he can get over his foot problem. All the rest, have only been here a short time, they need more time.

That leaves Max King, I would hang onto for a few more seasons, unless he shows nothing at Casey. So far he has shown he is mobile for a tall guy, is a goalkicker when resting in the forward line. But needs to stack on about 10 kilos. Can he take contested marks around the ground? Give him time, and lets see what he has, because I cant see us trading for a experienced ruckman, unless we give up someone decent.

Our best bet is Gawn, and recruit a couple of big lumps in the draft for 2016.

Edited by DeeVoted
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An interesting year ahead.
I have always waited (and assumed) that both Maximus Gawnius or the Spencil would step up and take the number one ruck role.

Now I know the list management mindset of Paul Roos, I realize both may be surpassed by someone else from another team if they don't progress.
From what I can tell, Roosy is very much of the 'there is more than one way to skin a cat' mindset. If you can't promote internally or get someone through the draft, get someone qualified from elsewhere seems to be the mantra. I like it to be honest.
Of the two, I rate Gawny more highly as he can push forward. Spencil is more depth, as has been said earlier.

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Gawn is progressing well and Jamar could go on another season.

It is important that our ruck stocks don't fall below the standard too much - as it is a VERY important area.

Everything starts out of the ruck, and if a side can get first use and take advantage of that, that is a good start.

Any modern day midfielder knows the value of a good ruckman.

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While I haven't seen much of King this preseason, he showed enough (to me) when thrown in the deep end in the NAB Cup last year.

He's the best kick of the rucks by a long way.

Happy to hold onto him for now.

Hoping Gawn has his breakout year, but he doesn't use his height to advantage yet which kinda defeats the purpose.

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Gawn needs to work on his contested marking if he is to become a legitimate forward ruck option. Get both of those dukes in the air, Maximus.

King is the best kick out of any of them. Skillful big men should be persisted with. He just needs to add some size.

Edited by P-man
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While I haven't seen much of King this preseason, he showed enough (to me) when thrown in the deep end in the NAB Cup last year.

He's the best kick of the rucks by a long way.

Happy to hold onto him for now.

Hoping Gawn has his breakout year, but he doesn't use his height to advantage yet which kinda defeats the purpose.

He did a couple of nice things around the ground 'Roger' but got absolutely monstered in ruck contests as you would expect a kid of his size and experience to be. We would be looking for some improvement at Casey this year and hope for him to hold down a position.

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A good bunch of midfielders can make any ruckman look like a gun, and conversely, make the oppositions ruckman look terrible.

Max Bailey was never much of a player but the Hawks mids worked well with him. If he was at the Dee's for instance during his time at the Hawks, it would've been a different story.

Our midfielders have improved and hopefully our clearance work follows on from that. Gawn being the tallest and now much stronger should be our best option moving forward. He has a much better footy brain than big Jake and is less prone to doing silly things that cost the team badly.

It will be interesting to watch Jamar this year. He's fit and ready to fire so don't be surprised if he gets an extension beyond the completion of his contract this season. Geez, most of were in utter disbelief when his last 3 year contract was given and that seems like ages ago now.

I guess Pedersen is the other forward/ruck option that might get around and jump a little bit more this year after shedding a few kilos.

I think we're okay compared to some of the other clubs.

Edited by McQueen
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The big key for me is Fitzpatrick. Whoever said he wont make a number 1 ruck was right IMO, but he could make a fantastic 2nd ruckman/forward.

If (and it's a big if) he can consistently perform to the best of his ability he could be a very damaging player and provide adequate back up for the number 1 ruck. Actually, more than adequate IMO. I am pinning my hopes on big Max long term and believe Spencil will be a very good back up if he gets injured. Like others I think this may be Jamar's last season, hopefully he has a big one.

Back to Fitzy, my confidence in him took a hit last year, I was disappointed with his output, but I do believe he is better than he showed and hope he can prove me right

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He did a couple of nice things around the ground 'Roger' but got absolutely monstered in ruck contests as you would expect a kid of his size and experience to be. We would be looking for some improvement at Casey this year and hope for him to hold down a position.

Thanks 'rjay' - like I said, happy to hold onto for now and see if he can add some strength and endurance to his skill set.

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The big key for me is Fitzpatrick. Whoever said he wont make a number 1 ruck was right IMO, but he could make a fantastic 2nd ruckman/forward.

If (and it's a big if) he can consistently perform to the best of his ability he could be a very damaging player and provide adequate back up for the number 1 ruck. Actually, more than adequate IMO. I am pinning my hopes on big Max long term and believe Spencil will be a very good back up if he gets injured. Like others I think this may be Jamar's last season, hopefully he has a big one.

Back to Fitzy, my confidence in him took a hit last year, I was disappointed with his output, but I do believe he is better than he showed and hope he can prove me right

Do you rate Fitzy a better option than Pedersen? Surely they would have similar roles?

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Do you rate Fitzy a better option than Pedersen? Surely they would have similar roles?

Not on last years form, but I believe he has the potential (I hate using that word but...) to be quite a bit better at the role (and yes they would have similar roles, with a fully fit squad it would be a choice between these two for such a role if they are playing well).

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