Compare the pair… Same age, same income, same starting balance…
All super advertisement gags aside, they say comparison is futile. What they don’t know is that this is AFL Fantasy so bugger that, it’s the name of the game to compare players and make potentially premiership winning decisions!
In this series of articles, I will put two players of interest head to head to see how they stack up against each other! Inevitably, as Fantasy coaches we are often faced the conundrum of “pick one”, whether that be due to salary cap squeeze, team structure, upcoming fixtures, etc.
For context, I will present multiple quickfire ✅(Pros) and ⌦(Cons) and from there try and split the two to come to a final verdict!
Matchup #4 sees two big ruck dogs go head to head in another tasty matchup! Lets see how they shape up against each other when put under the microscope…
|Darcy Cameron||Player||Rowan Marshall|
|21||2022 Games Played||21|
✅ After sharing ruck duties for the first six rounds with Brodie Grundy, Cameron made the #1 ruck spot his own! From R7 onwards, Cameron averaged a solid 93 points and did not miss a beat! I can’t say I was overly surprised given some of the absurd numbers Cammo used to pump out for the Swans reserves.
✅ With Grundy landing at Melbourne over the offseason, Cammo is now the main man in the ruck department and has the runs on the board to back it up!
✅ Dual position flexibility (RUC/FWD) could come in handy and Cameron is the highest priced ruck with FWD status.
⌦ Okay, lets address the elephant in the room… Mason Cox seemed to be more prevalent at the CBAs as the season wore on, even usurping Cameron by attending 69% of centre bounces in R19 vs Essendon(e)… Shared ruck duties are always a huge turn off and Cameron did not post a ton in the final five weeks of the regular season.
❓Now this is where things get interesting… Collingwood have recruited Dan
McStay McGo from Brisbane to play primarily as a forward. However, he did chop out sporadically in the ruck for Brissy in 2022, including in the Elimination Final vs Richmond. After #1 ruck in Oscar McInerney went down early, McGo stepped up to attend 74% CBAs and post a career best 111 fantasy points… Could he slot straight in for Cox? If so, you imagine this would only benefit Cameron’s role and increase his CBAs – food for thought for sure!
✅ With Ryder announcing his retirement in the offseason, the heir apparent in Marshall is now the #1 in the ruck department at St Kilda! We got a glimpse of what this man is capable of playing the solo ruck role late in 2022… Between R19 and R22 Marshall was just about the form player of the competition, attending an average of 90% centre bounces and averaging 127 points including a ridiculous 163 vs Hawthorn in R20.
✅ St Kilda were the #1 fantasy scoring team for 2022… Clearly they are doing something right for us fantasy coaches! Here’s hoping that the points spree continues into 2023.
✅ If not at the hit-outs, Marshall finds other ways to fill his boots. A real feature of his game is his ability to get around the ground and butter up at ground level. Marshall recorded 20+ disposals on seven separate occasions in 2022, averaging 4.6 marks as well as 3.1 tackles per game. For context, Big Max averaged 5.5 marks and 1.8 tackles per game in season 2022…
⌦ Marshall himself is not immune to sharing ruck duties and St Kilda do have a bloke named Tom Campbell on the list who is more than capable of chopping out at AFL level… To illustrate this, Campbell was selected in R23 and attended 52% of the centre bounces. Marshall went on to score an abysmal 47!
❓Max King’s injury leaves plenty of unanswered questions… For those who don’t know, Kingy will miss at least the first month of season 2023 as he recovers from a shoulder reco. From a fantasy perspective, does Marshall play more time forward to fill the void? Jack Hayes is likely to return from a serious knee injury but slotting straight back in would be a tough ask… Preseason scoop is that the untried Matty Allison is mounting a case to fill the King void. Cooper Sharman is another talent St Kilda may turn to to fill the King void. In better news, Marshall dominated St Kilda’s recent match simulation “finding the ball all over the ground” – make of that what you will! St Kilda are also reporting Tom Campbell is dealing with achilles soreness and won’t return to full fitness until about March, only helping Ro’s cause.
*Update* – In what can only be described as a complete injustice, Jack Hayes is expected to miss 8-10 weeks with a foot injury… The man just can’t take a trick and this only adds more question marks over St Kilda’s forward mix…
It’s really no secret that a being able to select solo ruck men is what we crave as fantasy coaches – the proof is in the pudding when we look at scoring historically! If both Cameron and Marshall enjoy the best case scenario, Marshall’s numbers as the #1 man are just too good to ignore! That news out of St Kilda’s match simulation is also very encouraging. In any case, if ever the phrase “keep your eyes peeled over the preseason” resonated, it does right here! If either of these guys are sharing considerable ruck duties, I’d avoid them both. Team structure is always an interesting talking point when it comes to our ruck stocks so I will be intrigued to see if coaches go the ‘set and forget’ strategy or gamble on some potential value.
So there you have it folks, the fourth edition of ‘Fantasy Face-off’? What did you make of it – agree? disagree? Who else would you like to see go head-to-head over the preseason? Let me know in the comments! Thoughts, feedback and banter welcome!
Fantasy Fanatic #70