Max Gawn should just about be in everyone’s team by now. If he’s not in yours, you’re either very brave or you’re not playing the game right. This aside, we still have the dilemma of which other ruckman to start next to him.
Could Todd Goldstein be the answer?
Player: Todd Goldstein
Team: North Melbourne
Games played 2017: 19
2017 average: 94.8
100+ scores: 9
85+ scores: 6
In a recent interview, Goldstein stated that he is confident of returning to his very best form in 2018. The ruckman also opened up about how mental illness had plagued his football over the last two and a half years and how he hopes to rectify his form this upcoming season.
Goldstein returning to his best is a scary proposition. We only have to look back as far as 2015, where he was the number one SuperCoach player in the game with an average of 128.8, to see how prolific he can be. Other seasonal averages include a 113.2, 113.5, 106.9 and a 108.1 recently in 2016. Goldstein’s scoring potential is obvious and anything close to these figures would be more than serviceable in 2018.
Due to this scoring potential, Goldstein can provide a solid captain option, especially against an exploitable ruckman. His 221 points against Shaun McKernan back in 2015 is a prime example of this. He boasts 20 scores of 130+ since 2014 with an absurd 12 of those being over 150. Although he only had a high of 135 last year.
Despite having a “poor” year in 2017, there are still positives to take out of his season. From rounds 7-16, Goldstein managed to average a solid 110 during this period. That is great scoring output over a decent sample size of almost half a season.
Some of those games even included sharing the ruck duties with Majak Daw. This shows he doesn’t always have to be the only ruckman in his side to produce a good score.
Goldstein is also very durable as he has only missed 10 out of the last possible 176 games. Some of those missed games include a two game stint in the VFL last season and he was also rested in the final round prior to finals in two seasons. With no legitimate rookie or DPP options in the ruck this year, having a ruckman who plays every game will be crucial in 2018.
Although Goldstein showed he could score well with Daw in the side, the same can not be said for when he shared duties with Brayden Preuss. During six games alongside Preuss, Goldstein averaged a paltry 77.5 with a high score of just 105. This is a cause for concern for Goldstein’s prospects in 2018 if he were to share duties with Preuss regularly. Will that be the case though?
During a recent segment on the afl.com.au series “Ask the Coach”, Brad Scott stated that although Preuss was capable of being in the best 22, he conceded it would be hard for him to push Goldstein out. This, along with Preuss not being selected in the recent JLT match and Daw playing in the backline, gives a good indication that Goldstein could be rucking solo in 2018.
Despite this, Preuss is a quality young player and North are in a rebuilding phase. There is every chance that they would look to develop him in the AFL if the team is struggling once again in 2018 which would be harmful to Goldstein’s scoring.
With ruckman in SuperCoach, hitouts-to-advantage are the prime source of their scoring. I worry that the talent of North Melbourne’s midfield might make it hard for Goldstein to replicate the numbers he has had in that statistic previously. We know Sam Jacobs won’t have a problem finding Sloane, Gibbs and the Crouch brothers. Can we say the same about Goldstein? With Jack Ziebell expected to spend more time up forward, that leaves Ben Cunnington as the only proven clearance player in the side.
Summary: Goldstein is one of the best ruckman in SuperCoach history. Before a disappointing 2017 season, he had proven to be an elite scorer and a durable player. He has shown that he is at his best when he is the sole ruckman in his team. With a clear and refreshed mind, can he return to his All-Australian heights in 2018?
Verdict: I personally think that if Preuss is not named in Round 1, you have to strongly consider selecting Goldstein. Although there are safer picks, Goldstein offers a lot of upside at his cheapest price in 5 seasons.
Currently in my team.