In the offseason, Collingwood forced the hand of Brodie Grundy to move to another football club. As he lands at Melbourne, fantasy coaches wonder how well our favourite ‘set & forget’ ruck duo co-exist in a real-life football team.
Name: Brodie Grundy
Club: Melbourne Demons
2022 Highest Score:
124 Vs West Coast (AFLFantasy)
129 Vs Essendon (SuperCoach)
Career Highest Score:
181 Vs GWS Giants | AFLFantasy (2019)
179 Vs Western Bulldogs | SuperCoach (2020)
SuperCoach Price: $512,900
AFLFantasy Price: $830,000
AFLDreamTeam Price: $762,600
WHY IS HE RELEVANT?
‘We exist to win premierships.’ Every AFL club would have this sentiment driving them somewhere within the four walls of the inner sanctum. While Collingwood has gotten close over the past few seasons, the club decided that their best chance to compete for premierships would be by reshaping the list. They’ve done this by relieving themselves of the salary invested into Brodie Grundy. And placing it into players that they believe fit some ‘gaps’ in their list but getting an inside midfielder in Tom Mitchell, a tall forward, Dan McStay and another crafty small in Bobby Hill.
They might be right that these three might improve their premiership chances with Darcy Cameron in the ruck. But without a doubt, the ‘snub’ will have lit a fire under Grundy, and it won’t shock me if we see him return to his beast mode best. Sometimes when you haven’t seen a player perform at their best due to injury and form concerns, you forget just how dominant a fantasy footballer they can be. And with Brodie, he can be the best scorer in the game.
From 2018-2020 he was among one of the premier performers. In AFLFantasy/DreamTeam, he averaged 120, 122 and an adjusted average of 113.6. While for SuperCoach, it was 130, 130 & 120.6. Even in 2021, he showcased this same scoring capacity. Before suffering a freak neck injury that cost him to miss some games, Grundy was averaging 115.3 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and 126.5 in SuperCoach. However, by the time he got back, the Magpies were experimenting with their structure under a caretaker coach. No surprise, his scoring plummeted by his standards down to 100 in AFLFantasy and 107 in SuperCoach.
Last year we saw some of the scoring and role experimentation. For example, in round five, Collingwood played Grundy, Cameron and Cox on the same side. Unsurprisingly, it resulted in a horrible score for all three. Despite this, he still reminded coaches of his pedigree before the injury that cut his season short to just six matches. An average of 93.3 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam consisted of a season-high 124, plus three more scores between 94-105. For SuperCoach, he averaged 103.5, posted four tons, two of them over 120 and had just one score (round five) under 96.
All this scoring does is remind us of how good he can be when he’s fit and allowed to dominate as the lead ruckman at the club. But that’s not the concern or the question. Instead, everyone wants to know how the Demons will work the structure to include both Brodie Grundy and Max Gawn.Embed from Getty Images
In 2023 Brodie Grundy offers us something he has yet to do for the past few seasons. Significant financial value. For AFLFantasy, he’s received an injury discount off his 2021 data. In reality, that prices him at his average of 2022. In SuperCoach, he’s priced similarly at an average space of the low 90’s. While it’s AFLDreamTeam, he’s priced in the low 80’s.
For Brodie to be a pick that works out, he doesn’t have to evolve back to being a 120+ performer like in seasons of old. Last year we started to see the benchmark for what it means to be a top-tier ruck diminish. Rather all he needs to do is be close enough to score at an R2 level. If he can do that from his current price point, then it’s a sensational win.
Remember, over the past few years, the bar of what it takes to be a top ruck has been sliding. For example, just 2-3 seasons ago, you needed to be 120+. Whereas last year just two rucks averaged over 100 in AFLFantasy/DreamTeam and five in SuperCoach, with just one cracking an average over 110.
A few days ago, we revealed Max Gawn in the 50 most relevant. Throughout this article and podcast, we discussed the potential makeup of the Demons ruck structure. I won’t go over that again to add needless length to an article/podcast we’ve already covered.
However, even in a ruck share with Gawn, Brodie will still have plenty of opportunity to be around the ball. And unlike previously in his career, he could find himself with favourable matchups against other teams #2 ruck option. With these, he can more than make up enough points to push towards the top rucks in a capped opportunity due to a shared ruck role.
The ruck division and its structure are proving countless headaches for coaches. Do they go set & forget and roll with a Tim English and Rowan Marshall pairing? It should be strong. But are you confident they’ll be clear and supreme top rucks? If not, then don’t lock yourself into it. Are you considering a pair of one of these with a value option like Scott Lycett or the halfway house with RUC/FWD DPP in Darcy Cameron?
What Grundy can do is over the upside of pushing his scoring to match, if not supersede the topline option in this division. He should hold his price value, as I cannot see his scoring falling below 90 this year across the formats. He’s too good of a player in a good side that even on split midfield minutes, he’ll still score well. Absolute watchlist candidate for me this preseason!
It was just 24 months ago that Brodie Grundy was viewed as a consensus first pick in a draft, not just for a single season but also in keeper leagues. Outside of Tim English and Rowan Marshall, I see coaches hesitant to use a first few rounds pick early on rucks. There will come the point on the draft day where his name value will become impossible to ignore. From the moment the fifth round hits, if he’s still there, coaches may find his brand too strong not to jump on.
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