West Coast might not have a decent ruckman at the moment, but if the “last possession rule” comes into the AFL the Eagles won’t have to worry about it because the ruckman could soon become extinct.
The AFL is currently keeping an eye on the last possession out of bounds rule that is currently operating in the SANFL, but I’m seriously fearful for the future of the ruckman.
When I played, players came in all shapes and sizes, but if you bring in the last touch rule you take away say 50 or so boundary throw-ins so what would be left for the ruckman to do?
You might have 24 to 28 centre bounces a game and there are less stoppages now, so teams would be reluctant to pick even one bonafide ruckman.
We saw last week with the Doggies the Bulldogs used Lin Jong and Josh Dunkley in the ruck against Richmond.
The ruckman is a unique part of our game and I don’t think the AFL needs to bring in the rule because the game is fast enough.
Saying that, I think the Eagles will go into their game against the Doggies with just one ruckman – Nathan Vardy.
Ports’ Paddy Ryder had a day out against Jonathan Giles and Vardy and he was palming the ball to his players like Polly Farmer.
The Eagles should use Jack Darling as a pinch hitter when the ball is in the forward line and Jeremy McGovern when the ball is down back.
The Eagles will need all the run they can against the Doggies and West Coast can’t afford to make the same mistakes in last year’s final when Bulldogs ran all over them.
I think the Doggies cracked the ceiling last year when they came over to Perth and won, because not many teams have done that over the last couple of years.
Subiaco holds no fears for the Doggies and they are not frightened to lose, so they will roll the dice time and time again in an effort to get back in the game.
And the Doggies don’t rely on just one or two blokes to kick goals, while the Eagles rely heavily on Josh Kennedy.
There is also a lot of talk Elliot Yeo will run with Marcus Bontempelli.
I think Yeo should go with Bontempelli when he goes into the forward line, but not through the midfield because I don’t think Yeo has the tank.
Maybe Matthew Priddis could go with Bontempelli around the stoppages so he could at least half the contests.
West Coast will win because it’s not do or die for the Doggies, but Bulldogs will put up one hell of a contest.
Meanwhile, I have been impressed with the Dockers because it’s hasn’t been in their DNA to come from behind.
Even when Freo was up and about in 2015, when they were five goals down they rarely came back.
Freo will want to be in the game early against the Tigers, because Richmond are the best frontrunners in the AFL. They are the best downhill skiers in the business when things are going their way.
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