#15 Most Relevant | Rowan Marshall

Rowan Marshall’s ascent as an AFLFantasy and SuperCoach titan underscores his pivotal role in St Kilda’s lineup, marking him as a sought-after first-round pick in fantasy drafts. This article delves into Marshall’s potential, exploring his proven track record and the strategic value of a top-tier ruckman who can shape team composition.


Rowan Marshall stands out as a dynamic and versatile ruckman for St Kilda, bringing a unique blend of athleticism and skill to his position. Marshall’s game is not just content with dominating hitouts; it extends far beyond the ruck contests. He is equally comfortable taking strong marks around the ground and contributing to the Saints’ scoring efforts, showcasing his ability to play as a forward when needed.

His mobility and agility set him apart from many of his counterparts, allowing him to cover significant ground, participate in link-up play, and apply uncharacteristic pressure for a player of his size. Marshall’s football IQ, clean hands, and effective disposal efficiency make him a critical playmaker for St Kilda. His ability to read the play and position himself effectively in ruck contests and general play underlines his importance to the team’s defensive and offensive structure.

His elevation to St Kilda’s primary ruckman position after Patrick Ryder’s absence marked a turning point in his career, catalyzing his most impressive season. The 2023 campaign saw Marshall reach new heights across all facets of his game, setting personal bests in possessions, marks, tackles, and hitouts. This stellar performance was a testament to his talent and validation of the potential many had observed in his sporadic appearances as the sole ruckman in previous seasons.

In AFLFantasy, Marshall’s statistics were particularly striking, with an average of 115.8 points per game. He notched up 19 tons, including ten scores over 120 and three exceeding 140, with a remarkable consistency that saw him score below 80 only once. From Round 9 onwards, his lowest score was 96, underscoring his reliability and ranking him 3rd overall by averages and total points, trailing only behind Marcus Bontempelli and Tim English.

SuperCoach mirrored this high performance, where Marshall averaged 114.3 points, tallying 15 tons, 10 of which were over 120 and five over 140, with just two scores dipping below 80. His consistent output secured him the 5th spot for total points and 11th by averages, cementing his place among the elite ruckmen in the game.

The trajectory of Marshall’s season, particularly post-bye, suggests there’s still room for growth relative to his starting price. His averages of 108.4 in AFLFantasy and 110.4 in SuperCoach before the bye leapt to 122.5 and 117.9, respectively, after the bye, with a phenomenal surge to 134 in AFLFantasy and 147 in SuperCoach over the final three games.

Despite these highs, Marshall’s journey wasn’t without its challenges. An ankle injury at the end of Round 8 and being subbed out early in Round 4 were notable setbacks. Yet, his resilience and determination were evident as he continued to excel on the field, suggesting a robustness that fantasy coaches highly value.

With the lead ruck role now firmly his, the anticipation for Marshall’s performance in the upcoming season is palpable. Given his demonstrated ability to dominate games and his potential for even greater scoring, Rowan Marshall is poised for another standout year, making him a compelling choice for fantasy coaches looking for a premium ruck option with consistency and the capacity for match-winning scores.

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The fantasy football landscape regarding ruck selections underwent a significant transformation last year, with the ‘set and forget’ strategy centring around Rowan Marshall and Tim English proving to be the definitive approach. Their consistently high performances made them invaluable assets, simplifying ruck strategy for many fantasy coaches. However, the upcoming season is poised to diversify this dynamic considerably.

As we look ahead, the fantasy community will witness a broader array of viable ruck combinations, moving beyond the singular strategy that dominated last season. This shift is not merely beneficial for scoring diversity; it opens up many strategic possibilities and team structures for fantasy coaches to explore. The emergence of other ruckmen into the fantasy relevance sphere, combined with Marshall and English’s established prowess, means coaches can now tailor their approach to ruck selections more creatively and flexibly than before.

The ruck strategy in fantasy football experienced a clear winning formula last season with the ‘set and forget’ approach centred around Rowan Marshall and Tim English, delivering exceptional performances that justified their selections. However, the upcoming season promises a broader array of viable strategies, thanks to a diverse set of ruck options that enrich the scoring landscape and introduce varied tactical considerations for fantasy coaches.

Tim English emerged as the top scorer in AFLFantasy and secured the second spot in SuperCoach last season, showcasing his immense talent and fantasy relevance. His consistent high scoring and ability to impact games across the ground make him a prime candidate for repeating or even improving upon last year’s success.

Brodie Grundy returns with significant anticipation surrounding his potential for value and scoring upside. After an interrupted season, his price point might not fully reflect his capability to return to the dominant form that once made him a fantasy football staple, offering coaches a tempting opportunity for value.

Max Gawn, a perennial powerhouse in the ruck, is set to reassume sole ruck duties. He has historically excelled, delivering season averages above 120 in SuperCoach and 110+ in AFLFantasy. His proven track record and return to a familiar role heighten expectations for another standout year.

Tristan Xerri, despite currently nursing an injury, presents as a value proposition with the mantle of North Melbourne’s primary ruck now his to own. His potential for significant scoring upside at a lower price point makes him an intriguing option for coaches looking for value.

Kieran Briggs offered a glimpse of his capabilities last season, averaging 94 in AFLFantasy and 108.9 in SuperCoach. His performances have drawn comparisons to Shane Mumford’s impact at the club, suggesting Briggs could be a dark horse in the ruck selection conversation.

Sean Darcy brings a combination of a high ceiling and an injury risk, alongside a potential role share with Luke Jackson. Despite these considerations, Darcy’s ability to post top-tier scores makes him a compelling, albeit riskier, choice for fantasy ruck slots.

This assortment of ruck options for the upcoming season expands the strategic playbook for fantasy coaches. It adds a layer of excitement and unpredictability to draft planning and weekly selection decisions. Whether opting for a proven performer like Gawn, seeking value in Xerri or Grundy, or betting on the ceiling of Darcy, the diverse range of viable ruckmen ensures that fantasy football strategies in the ruck department will be as dynamic and varied as ever.

And then, there’s Rowan Marshall. He is a testament to the evolving ruck strategy in fantasy football, firmly establishing himself as a premier choice following a career-best season highlighting his unique blend of ruck work and midfield involvement. Marshall embodies the ‘ set and forget ‘ strategy’s pinnacle with an AFLFantasy average of 115.8 and 19 tons, including peaks that breached the 140-mark, and a SuperCoach average of 114.3 with consistently high scoring.

His post-bye surge, where he escalated his performance to an average of 122.5 in AFLFantasy and 117.9 in SuperCoach, underpins his capacity to match and potentially exceed his starting price value. Despite a minor injury hiccup, Marshall’s dominant season was largely uninterrupted, showcasing his durability and scoring prowess. Heading into the new season as the uncontested number-one ruck at St Kilda, Marshall offers fantasy coaches not just a high-scoring ruck option but a player whose scoring potential continues to ascend. His combination of high floor and ceiling and his crucial role in St Kilda’s midfield make him a compelling selection in any strategy, promising reliability and top-tier scoring potential.

The decision to start with Rowan Marshall in your fantasy lineup is underpinned by several compelling factors highlighting his appeal as a top-tier fantasy selection. Firstly, Marshall has demonstrated his scoring potential and established himself as a proven captaincy option, thanks to his ability to deliver match-winning scores. His high-scoring games, particularly those surpassing the 120-point mark, make him an ideal candidate for doubling points in crucial rounds, providing fantasy coaches with a strategic advantage.

Secondly, the absence of early season byes for St Kilda means Marshall will be a constant presence in the initial rounds, offering stability and high-scoring potential when fantasy teams are most vulnerable to fluctuations in rookie performances. This continuous availability is particularly valuable during the “best 18” scoring weeks, where maximizing points from premium players is crucial for maintaining competitive standings.

Lastly, Marshall’s Round 15 bye is strategically advantageous for fantasy coaches. It ensures his availability through the first seven bye-affected weeks, which often proves challenging for maintaining high team scores. His presence during these rounds offers a reliable scoring source, helping to mitigate the impact of byes on other premium players and allowing for strategic planning around the mid-season bye rounds.

While Rowan Marshall’s appeal as a starting option in fantasy football is undeniable, strategic considerations might lead fantasy coaches to fade him at the season’s outset. One significant reason is the potential value of alternative ruck options like Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn. Grundy and Gawn have established themselves as dominant forces in the ruck over the years, with the capability to match or even surpass Marshall’s scoring output. Given their cheaper price points heading into the new season, due to various factors, including form and injury history, these players represent an opportunity for coaches to secure top-tier ruck performance at a discount, allocating saved funds to strengthen other areas of their fantasy roster.

Additionally, Marshall’s venue-specific scoring trends could influence decision-making. Historically, Marshall has demonstrated a propensity to score more prolifically at Marvel Stadium and Adelaide Oval, venues known for their favourable conditions for ruckmen like him who thrive on clearances and ground coverage. With the Saints’ fixture post-Round 15 byes predominantly at these venues, coaches might consider trading Marshall in later in the season to capitalize on this scoring trend rather than starting with him. This approach allows for the initial investment in undervalued ruckmen with the plan to upgrade to Marshall when the fixture aligns with his strengths, potentially maximizing points during the critical latter part of the season.

Concerns within the fantasy football community regarding Rowan Marshall’s scoring or role potentially being impacted by Jack Hayes’ return to the St Kilda lineup merit discussion, yet these apprehensions can be confidently dismissed. While a talented player, Hayes primarily serves as a relief ruck and forward option rather than a direct competitor for Marshall’s predominant ruck duties. His high attendance at the centre underscores Marshall’s established role within the Saints’ strategy bounces, consistently in the high 80s percentage, which is a testament to his importance and impact on the team’s performance.

Marshall’s ability to dominate hitouts and his versatility in play—evident through his contributions across the ground—solidifies his position as the primary ruckman. His significant presence in centre bounce attendance reflects his value to the team. It indicates the coaching staff’s trust in his abilities to influence the game’s outcome from the ruck contests. Adding Hayes is more likely to complement Marshall’s role rather than detract from it, providing brief respites rather than substantive shifts in responsibilities.

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Rowan Marshall’s status as a premier ruckman is undisputed, positioning him as a coveted first-round pick in upcoming drafts. Anticipated to be selected in the mid-first round, Marshall’s appeal lies in his consistent high-scoring ability and his role as St Kilda’s uncontested number-one ruckman, making him a key target for fantasy coaches aiming to establish a solid foundation early in the draft.

The strategic value of securing a top-tier ruckman like Marshall can dictate drafting strategies, with some coaches preferring to pair him with a strong M1 midfielder in the second round to solidify your team’s core. 

His selection around the mid-first round highlights both his worth to fantasy teams and the critical role that strategic drafting plays in fantasy football success.


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