It may be, although it may be premature after only three rounds, that 2018 will be looked back on as the Year of the Ruckman in the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition.
Stefan Martin of the Brisbane Lions has been having some good hit outs to this stage and his finest moment might have been when his side scared the vegemite out of the Port Adelaide Power at the recent game at the Adelaide Oval.
It was nearly the upset of the season, with the Lions losing by just five points as the tourists.
Martin recorded 49 hit-outs, 30 touches, nine inside 50s, seven marks and seven tackles. Whew! That would have been a season’s output for some.
“I didn’t (feel like I was dominating) but I looked up at the scoreboard at half-time and it said I’d had 20 touches,” Martin said on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 on Tuesday night. “It’s funny, some games you feel like you’re doing well and you don’t get near it. This was probably the opposite; I didn’t feel like I was killing it but it looked like I was doing well.”
Ruckmen seem to be the flavour d’ jour at the moment and are taking a more prominent role than in seasons past.
Brodie Grundy of the Pies and Max Gawn of the Dees are already mentioned in connection with All-Australian honours. The West Coast Eagles’ Nic Naitanui is in superb form and much the same could be said of the Hawks’ Ben McEvoy and the Crows’ Sam Jacobs.
Martin was exceedingly complimentary with regard to his competitors who perform the same role as he does and keeps tabs on how each is doing.
“I keep an eye on them each week and a lot of them are performing outstandingly well,” he said.
Martin credits his lifted level with hard work in the gym the summer past, working to improve his strength, but also experimenting to find the perfect combination of strength and speed.