While Brodie Grundy, Max Gawn, Darcy Fort and Zac Clarke are the names on everybody’s lips when discussing the ruckmen, there’s a Tiger who is sliding under the radar: Toby Nankervis.
Player: Toby Nankervis
Games played 2018: 21
2018 average: 98.2
100+ scores: 9
90+ scores: 16
Nankervis’ big career move came at the end of the 2016 season. He was traded from the Swans to the Tigers and consequentially helped deliver Richmond a flag in 2017.
He was vitally important for the Tigers and managed to raise his average from the previous season by a whopping 14 points, after starting as a mid-price player.
His price was understandably inflated for 2018 so a lot of coaches looked elsewhere, but he would’ve made a fine selection last year too, as he lifted his average again, this time by nearly 10 points.
And now at 24, he’s getting ready to hit his prime.
Earlier his season I did some analysis on what ages ruckmen should be peaking to try and mount a case for Todd Goldstein.
But the numbers said that ruckmen will be at their best between 26 and 27, so there’s a lot of improvement to come for Nankervis.
In 2018 ‘Nank The Tank’ lifted his average disposals (16.6), clearances (3.4), marks (3.9) and contested possessions (9.2) to above average for AFL ruckmen.
His tackles dropped from elite to above average (3.5), but they’re still good numbers.
The weakest part of Nankervis’ game is ironically, his ruckwork.
He was average for total hit-outs (25) and below average in hit-outs to advantage (7.4).
This can be seen as a negative or seen as a great opportunity for improvement.
In 2018 he only dropped below 80 twice, that’s pretty good consistency for a young ruckman.
It will be so interesting to watch Richmond’s JLT Series with the trend of other sides being towards using two ruckmen. Shaun Grigg surely won’t retain his role as the back up.
Finally, Nankervis is currently only in 2.3% of sides. Scott Lycett, Nathan Vardy and even Braydon Preuss are in more sides!
He’s in my side at the moment. I believe that because he’s so under-selected he presents real value. I certainly can’t see him going backwards.
The risk I take is that I have to bank on Grundy and Gawn not living up to their 2018 standards. They both smashed the benchmark for what we should expect from ruckmen so I’m betting that they won’t average 125+ again.
If Nankervis gets his average up to 105-110 and Grundy/Gawn average around 115-120, considering the cash I’ve saved ($175,200 and $159,100 respectively), I reckon that’d be a win.
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