Former coaching great Mick Malthouse has named his top eight ruckmen and rucking combos in the competition, in a feature story in the Herald Sun.
Malthouse believes Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy is the game’s superior big man, despite not earning the starting position in last year’s All Australian team.
“The big Magpie is so athletic,” Malthouse’s piece in the Herald Sun reads.
“He looks dangerous every time he has the ball, he is rarely caught with the footy, he lifts the mids around him to a higher level and covers any slack. He is fundamental to the Magpies’ chances of going a step further this year.”
To no surprise, Malthouse ranked the man who snubbed Grundy of the starting All Australian gig, Melbourne’s Max Gawn, as the game’s number two big man.
“He holds Melbourne’s fate this year in his hands,” Malthouse wrote.
“He puts the ball inside 50 more than any other ruck and is also a dangerous target in attack. He is a terrifically competitive mark and generally a good kick at goal. He sets the lead for his teammates to follow.”
Malhouse has listed Richmond’s Toby Nankervis as the third best ruckman in the game, with Gold Coast’s Jarrod Witts and GWS’ Shane Mumford rounding out his top five.
He has named St Kilda’s Rowan Marshall at number eight over the likes of North Melbourne’s Todd Goldstein and Brisbane’s Stefan Martin, following the young Saint’s emergence this season.
Here is Malthouse’s top eight ruckmen/ruck combinations:
1. Brodie Grundy (Coll)
2. Max Gawn (Melb)
3. Toby Nankervis (Rich)
4. Jarrod Witts (GC)
5. Shane Mumford (GWS)
6. Ben McEvoy/Jon Ceglar (Haw)
7. Tom Hickey/Nathan Vardy (WC)
8. Rowan Marshall (St K)