The stand-out WAFL ruckman to solve the Gold Coast Suns’ injury crisis in the mid-season draft
Fremantle aren’t the only side in the midst of an injury crisis, the Gold Coast will be without a healthy ruckman for the foreseeable future, but the Suns may find an answer through the surplus of talented talls in the WAFL in this year’s mid-season draft.
Gold Coast ruckman and co-captain Jarrod Witts went down with a season-ending ACL injury in round three and second stringer Zac Smith is out for at least another month, meantime tall Matt Conroy has his own knee troubles.
On this week’s episode of The Duff and Quarters Podcast, The West Australian’s chief footy writer Mark Duffield and senior footy journalist Mark Readings went through some of the best available rucks available across the country and both agreed that South Fremantle’s Zach Strom deserves his moment in the sun.
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“Watch out for a WAFL ruckman getting snapped up in the mid-season draft,” Duffield said.
“I reckon the one’s I would look at would be Corey Gault, I’d be keen to have a look at Strnadica because he’s the right size and age to have some upside. You’re also absolutely right about Zach Strom, I love Zach Strom as a player, unlucky not to win the Simpson Medal last year in the grand final.
“If they take a couple from WA I would love to see Zach Strom be one of them.”
“We’ve discussed some of the ruck candidates in the WAFL, East Perth’s Scott Jones and Swan Districts’ Corey Gault, both have played some AFL footy,” Readings replied.
“The player that I think could work is Zach Strom from South Fremantle, he’s played 119 WAFL games, he’s 198 cm. Zach Strom at 27 years of age he would be to me, if you were short on a ruckman, I’d be tempted to have a look at him first.”
“East Fremantle Luke Strnadica, I saw him play last week. He’s 203cm, he’s looked okay and for a short term scenario may be an option.”
The 2020 premiership stand-out, Strom, was the only player mentioned that hasn’t previously been listed on an AFL list.
Gault played six games for Collingwood between 2014 and 2016, Jones managed five games for Fremantle while Strnadica was a rookie pick up for the Dockers in 2016.
The podcast hosts believed the reason for the surplus of tall talent in WA versus another state competition the SANFL is the rule differences between leagues.
“I don’t think there are many ruckman in the SANFL, because they have the ‘last touched rule’. So there are fewer stoppages and the art of ruck work has actually taken a dip in South Australia,” Duffield said.
“So there is very strong chance that the Gold Coast will use one or two of their four free list spots on a couple ruckmen from the WAFL to try and get them up.”
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