Player Radar 2018 – Sam Jacobs

The two main ruck positions are what make or break Super Coach teams. Pick them right and you’re on the road to glory. Pick them wrongly and you could see your team suffering major problems.

Crows’ big man Sam ‘Sauce’ Jacobs could be the man in the ruck that will guide your team to victory.

Player: Sam Jacobs
Team: Adelaide Crows
Age: 29
Price: $526,300
Position: Ruck
Games played 2017: 22
2017 average: 96
100+ scores: 10
90+ scores: 14

PROS

Sam’s body stands up better than or as good as any ruckmen in the game. The 202cm ruckman has only missed 4 games in the last 6 seasons. This is really a remarkable result when you look at pretty much every other big man in the competition is missing games either due to major injuries or niggles. If Jacob’s body continues to endure the rigours of being an AFL ruckman as successfully as it has in the past, then he will be a really reliable pick for teams in 2018.

Being a proven scorer in the past means that Jacobs will be easier to pick than a ruckman like Witts, Bellchambers and Nankervis who so far have each only had the one 88+ average season. Jacobs hasn’t gone under an average of 85 for seven seasons which includes three season averages of over 100 and a career best of 115. Impressive numbers from the Big Sauce.

Hit-outs to advantage are so important to a ruckman’s Supercoach average. Although he hasn’t been known for it in the past, Jacobs could see himself getting a lot more hit-outs to advantage per game with the midfield he has feeding off his taps. Sloane, the contested ball-winning beast has always been there and so have the Crouch brothers. But now the Crouch brothers have another year under their belt, meaning they will develop further and therefore improve their clearance work. In addition to those three guns, the Crows have added star ex-blue Bryce Gibbs to their midfield. Combine these four together and Jacobs has a midfield stacked with options to tap the ball to in the ruck.

Big Sauce’s strong finish to the year was very encouraging as he posted some really good numbers. He managed to average 107 points per game from Round 18 through to the Grand Final. Finishing the year off is important for players as they can go into the next season with confidence and some momentum. Sammy is one of the only Crows who can hold their head up high after the Grand Final game as he played really well. Along with his teammates, Jacobs will be seeking redemption in 2018.

Jacobs also has the pleasure of enjoying being the solo ruck for the Adelaide line-up. This is unlike other rucks in the comp who have to share ruck duties with other players. This includes Goldstein with Pruess, Grundy with Cox, Martin with Smith and potentially others depending on whether or not their coaches want to play two rucks at once.

An exciting thing about Jacobs is how low his player ownership numbers are. He’s only in a total of 4% of team which presents him as a huge POD for such a big scorer.

CONS

A negative for Jacobs is that he is getting on a bit. Jacobs is 29 years old and will be 30 in three months. Whether or not getting that little bit older will affect the way the big Crow plays this year is the unknown but it is something to be wary of.  Last year Jacobs didn’t look like his age was slowing him down as he actually increased his average points per game by an additional 9 points up from an average of 87 in 2016. Hopefully this is an indication that he has a little bit more left in the tank.

Although Jacobs’ scoring potential can be very high, he can also have his bad games. Sauce had six scores under 70 for the season last year which isn’t the numbers you want to be seeing from one of your premium ruckman. Those low scores could see coaches who own him facing an uphill battle to win H2H games or even make up lost points in the rankings.

Jacobs managed to lead the league in total hit-outs for the 2017 season with 996 hit-outs at an average of 39.8 per game. Despite these impressive numbers, Jacobs was only able to rank 5th in the league in terms of Supercoach average for ruckmen. This is an indication that Jacobs isn’t getting enough hit-outs to advantage. Perhaps the inclusion of Gibbs, further development of the Crouch brothers and already having Rory Sloane, will help Jacobs to get those hit-outs to advantage he needs in order to score more valuable points.

Summary: Overall Sam is a proven scorer who unlike many ruckmen, has a very reliable body that has managed to endure seasons with ease, missing only 4 games in 6 seasons. He is a solo ruck which is very good for Supercoach and he had a strong finish to 2017. Sammy is getting older as he nears his thirties and he can have his low games but overall he looks a good option.

Verdict: I currently have Jacobs as my team’s number one ruckman, with Maxy Gawn at number two. I can’t trust Naitanui at all as he still can’t even jump. If you’re looking for another premium ruck or even want to find the perfect replacement for Nic Nat, then I recommend the Big Sauce.


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