AFL premiership sides boast first string rucks more often than not. The Sydney Swans serial neglect of ruck stocks has cost them flags, in my view. Once again, the club finds itself thin on the ground when it comes to quality big men. Watching the games this year and the season last year the Swans lack of top quality ruckmen has been apparent. This has been going on for too many years and reflects a blind spot when it comes to recruiting and developing big men. Peter Ladhams is developing and will get better but the Swans need more depth.
Swans Ruckmen Thin On The Ground Too Often
Tom Hickey is injured and has been a wonderful addition to the club. Ruckmen regularly get injured because it is a physically antagonistic role and you need quality ruck stocks. Prior to the recruitment of Tom Hickey, who has overdelivered on expectations in reality, the Swans had an empty cupboard in terms of really good ruckmen. Callum Sinclair was a tireless trier but was not a top shelf ruckman. Sam Reid has had to pinch hit in the ruck a lot because of the poor recruiting in this category. Where has the Swans’ dominant ruck force been over the last 6 or 7 seasons?
Sydney AFL Teams Lack Quality Ruckmen
Max Gawn, Brody Grundy, Toby Nankervis, and names like these are missing from the Swans’ roster. Actually, Nankervis was at the Swans and was let go – bad decision that one. Collingwood’s Darcy Cameron was another ruckman on the Swans’ list as a young player – another missed opportunity. What is the story, as the tragic saga of knee injuries wrecked the career of Sam Naismith and the Swans’ ruck stocks. Tom Hickey coming to his 4th club could not have been seen as the solution but has surprised everyone with his great play.
2012 premiership Swans had Shane Mumford and Mike Pyke – both were big and had presence. 2005 Sydney premiership team had Darren Jolly and Jason Ball – again both were top class ruckmen. 2014 Swans’ losing grand finalists had Mike Pyke. 2016 Swans’ losing grand finalists had Sam Naismith. 2022 Swans’ losing grand finalists had Tom Hickey. The thin ruck stocks have accompanied not getting the job done in the big one. Ruckmen at the top of their game do more than their stats indicate. Maybe, John Longmire doesn’t value the best ruckmen in AFL? I think it is a hole in his arsenal, when it comes to winning the biggest games. The Sydney Swans serial neglect of ruck stocks is letting the side down.