Round 7 – Sal’s Preview: It’s Only Ruck N Roll

Greetings All,


Ruckmen are dropping like ninepins with four lynchpins going down this week, there are at least 18 of these warriors on the ‘official’ AFL injury list.  The ruck contest is one of the beauties of the game, but it is brutal, savage and clearly takes its toll.  The rules have been altered to reduce injuries, however the sheer nature of the effort required will always make rucks susceptible.  We are though seeing an increase in the curse of the PCL injuries that the outer circle was supposed to circumvent this.


Being at best a ‘Collingwood Six Footer’ I consulted a master of the craft in the Sage of the South on his opinions.  Considering the Darcy-Pittonet case he considered it Simon Madden 101 ruckwork, Darcy takes his eye off the ball to ensure engagement before focusing back on the ball.  Not a unique technique, he is damn good when he gets his hand on the ball.  There was not much else the Sage could offer though in terms of a solution, maybe it is just part of the game.  The circle has been introduced and the ruckmen have worked out how to generate the same amount of power.


We covered the subject of the bounce – yes it’s a nuance of our game but it’s a difficult skill and we have plenty of other quirky nuances.  The game would not lose anything if we lost the bounce, in fact we might find a couple of seconds.  The rucks could contest the centre bounce with more certainty which may have some effect on their injury rate.


But I am a midget feeding off their crumbs.


The Egg Carton ($2.94) vs Management Theory ($1.50)


The Eagles will crack open their 12th debutante for the season in Greg Clark as they try to gain something from the wreckage that has been 2022.  While short on rucks they do have their preferred spine in this week, whether the rest of the bones can stand up being the question.  They host the Tigers who have left a couple of their experienced players home but do get Grimes and Soldo back.  The Nankervis-Soldo combination should give them a solid advantage for the Tigers to get up.


More Please ($1.30) vs The Inheritor ($4.20)


They don’t expose too many newbies at Geelong but Oliver Dempsey certainly has the supporters pretty happy.  They host the Dockers who have lost Darcy leaving Meek to inherit the ruck.  He has been competent so a sound back up.  Their midfield was outstanding last week and small forwards exceptional.  That could cause the Cats some challenges, but happy to stick with the home team.


Dog Catchers ($1.76) vs Stop Preuss ($2.28)


Clubs on different flight paths.  The Crows got the Dogs by the minimal last week and are playing well as a unit.  The Giants got all the favours against the Saints and despite Preuss and Flynn having virtually no competition they could not connect with their teammates to press their advantage.  The Giants won big at their last meeting, can they connect and do the same this week.  They don’t have my trust – so it’s the Crows.


Protocolled ($1.21) vs Nero D’Avolo ($5.40)


The Dees have been hit for five with the COVID lurgy, the replacements are pretty handy.  Nero D’Avolo is a feisty grape variety from Sicily, the Hawks celebrate their own feisty Sicily’s 100 games.  A leader at the Hawks after returning from injury and got some of that feistiness under control.  Still can’t see them beating Melbourne.


Easy Ryder ($1.72) vs The Contenders ($2.38)



Port’s demolition of the hapless Eagles had the Adelaide media in a frenzy over their prospects and potentially getting Dixon back will have them more excited.  I reckon I’d want to see a second win!  Could it be over the Saints?  I doubt it, the Saints were fabulous last week.  They played with passion and unity to overcome losing both ruckmen.  In their favour this week is that their ruck stocks are plentiful with Paddy Ryder returning.


Bye George ($1.25) vs Broke the Ute ($4.70)


Were the Blues bad or Freo good?  Reckon 50-50 but the Blues need to find a way to bring the ball out defense with more speed and surety to find more ways to score.  Cause the centre bounce clearances won’t be easy without Pittonet and the this week no George Hewitt.  North have their issues to after overdoing it with the Xerri – at least they have Goldy to step in.  For the Blues they go the other way with the inexperienced De Koning.  North blew Carlton away in their last encounter and the Blues defense is thin, they should pack enough punched in the middle and up forward to win this.


Gin the Tonic ($1.61) vs Dew Drop ($2.58)



Opposition clubs have never liked a feisty Pie forward and Jack Ginnivan looks right up there, and don’t the Pies love it.  So they should after 5 on ANZAC Day.  They host the Suns this week who were well beaten by the Lions but not sure many won’t be.  The loss of Grundy could hurt up against Witts but just think Collingwood at the G can prevail.


No English ($1.43) vs Unsheilded ($3.20)


The Dogs without English leave them short on rucks, however Stefan Martin is a good match up against Sam Draper.  His Bombers are an enigma and with a few players delivering short on expectation with Shiel and Smith not getting a game in a team short on experience.  A really interesting encounter between sides that can produce but haven’t, just think the Dogs might have the edge.


My Dear Old Pappy ($1.90) vs Zac Attack ($1.98)


A Sunday Afternoon special – are the Swans and Lions the teams most likely to challenge Melbourne?  Sydney get Papley back and in Reid a handy replacement for Paddy McCartin giving flexibility at either end.  Ladhams has taken the ruck mantle with aplomb but will be well tested by the Big O.  Despite recent results going with the visitors, just think the Swans have slightly better depth across the ground and still win most at the SCG.  Not to be missed!


Friar Time



The Friars got on the board last week with a solid victory over St Mary’s a tougher test this week at Toorak Park against Prahran, a win to balance the ledger.  The reserves had an even bigger win and another test.  The Women and Thirds both went down last week, they both have the chance to atone at home this week against Oakleigh and Glen Eira respectively.


Go Friars, Go Blues,


Cheers, Sal



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