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  1. #1
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    Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    I keep reading we are planning to trade for Stef Martin.

    I don't get it.

    Setting aside his pretty ordinary year (he was injured) and his age (it's not like dynamic athleticism is his go AND he was pretty lightly raced in his first few years at Melbourne), if we recruit a player who can pretty much ONLY play in the ruck then he WILL NOT PLAY.

    If Martin plays, he would need to do 70% in the ruck - because if he is not rucking he needs to be on the pine. That's simple facts. If he was going to make it as a ruckman forward, he would have done it before now. He hasn't, so he wont. Playing him forward would be like playing Easton Wood forward - an interesting experiment and talking point but one where you are pretty much guaranteed a negative result.

    OK - fine. So English plays 60% forward, 30% ruck, 10% pine. Interesting. His best attribute would seem to be taking defensive marks in a kbp role (sorry - kick-behind-play). We have just taken that away from him. He is officially in Naughton's way, it also means Bruce prob cant get a game and - nor can Schache or Young.

    I'll be honest - I don't get it. If we recruit a ruckman who is a 'ruck only' player, they are going to play in the VFL (or whatever T2 competition exists post COVID). I would kind of understand someone like Mason Cox because he can ruck (yeah, yeah, snicker snicker - being not as good in the ruck as Brodie Grundy doesn't mean you are terrible at it) and he can also play forward. McEvoy interested me because he can obviously play back and has taken marks forward in the past. McInerney from Brisbane would have interested me (forward) likewise Blicavs, Sinclair from Sydney, Ladhams from Port...but the likes of Draper, Goldstein, etc - well...they are ruckman and ruckman only.

    If you want a ruck-only ruckman, well - to me you are saying the days of playing English are over...I just can't see it.

    Please explain to me how Martin (or Goldstein, or Draper etc) fits in the same side as English in 2021.
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  3. #2
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    I keep reading we are planning to trade for Stef Martin.

    I don't get it.

    Setting aside his pretty ordinary year (he was injured) and his age (it's not like dynamic athleticism is his go AND he was pretty lightly raced in his first few years at Melbourne), if we recruit a player who can pretty much ONLY play in the ruck then he WILL NOT PLAY.

    If Martin plays, he would need to do 70% in the ruck - because if he is not rucking he needs to be on the pine. That's simple facts. If he was going to make it as a ruckman forward, he would have done it before now. He hasn't, so he wont. Playing him forward would be like playing Easton Wood forward - an interesting experiment and talking point but one where you are pretty much guaranteed a negative result.

    OK - fine. So English plays 60% forward, 30% ruck, 10% pine. Interesting. His best attribute would seem to be taking defensive marks in a kbp role (sorry - kick-behind-play). We have just taken that away from him. He is officially in Naughton's way, it also means Bruce prob cant get a game and - nor can Schache or Young.

    I'll be honest - I don't get it. If we recruit a ruckman who is a 'ruck only' player, they are going to play in the VFL (or whatever T2 competition exists post COVID). I would kind of understand someone like Mason Cox because he can ruck (yeah, yeah, snicker snicker - being not as good in the ruck as Brodie Grundy doesn't mean you are terrible at it) and he can also play forward. McEvoy interested me because he can obviously play back and has taken marks forward in the past. McInerney from Brisbane would have interested me (forward) likewise Blicavs, Sinclair from Sydney, Ladhams from Port...but the likes of Draper, Goldstein, etc - well...they are ruckman and ruckman only.

    If you want a ruck-only ruckman, well - to me you are saying the days of playing English are over...I just can't see it.

    Please explain to me how Martin (or Goldstein, or Draper etc) fits in the same side as English in 2021.
    One of Bruce or Naughton has to play back and it works. We're essentially telling English he is a key forward in 2021.

  4. #3
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    I keep reading we are planning to trade for Stef Martin.

    I don't get it.

    Setting aside his pretty ordinary year (he was injured) and his age (it's not like dynamic athleticism is his go AND he was pretty lightly raced in his first few years at Melbourne), if we recruit a player who can pretty much ONLY play in the ruck then he WILL NOT PLAY.

    If Martin plays, he would need to do 70% in the ruck - because if he is not rucking he needs to be on the pine. That's simple facts. If he was going to make it as a ruckman forward, he would have done it before now. He hasn't, so he wont. Playing him forward would be like playing Easton Wood forward - an interesting experiment and talking point but one where you are pretty much guaranteed a negative result.

    OK - fine. So English plays 60% forward, 30% ruck, 10% pine. Interesting. His best attribute would seem to be taking defensive marks in a kbp role (sorry - kick-behind-play). We have just taken that away from him. He is officially in Naughton's way, it also means Bruce prob cant get a game and - nor can Schache or Young.

    I'll be honest - I don't get it. If we recruit a ruckman who is a 'ruck only' player, they are going to play in the VFL (or whatever T2 competition exists post COVID). I would kind of understand someone like Mason Cox because he can ruck (yeah, yeah, snicker snicker - being not as good in the ruck as Brodie Grundy doesn't mean you are terrible at it) and he can also play forward. McEvoy interested me because he can obviously play back and has taken marks forward in the past. McInerney from Brisbane would have interested me (forward) likewise Blicavs, Sinclair from Sydney, Ladhams from Port...but the likes of Draper, Goldstein, etc - well...they are ruckman and ruckman only.

    If you want a ruck-only ruckman, well - to me you are saying the days of playing English are over...I just can't see it.

    Please explain to me how Martin (or Goldstein, or Draper etc) fits in the same side as English in 2021.
    Agree that it never made sense to go for a full time ruck unless we are planning on playing English forward full time. It’s probably the reason we had to use the tactics we did this year so it’s odd that we appear to have changed those thoughts. A forward ruck in the Cox/Ryder mould would make more sense.

    The other aspect of this is that Martin has generally played his best footy as the sole ruck. I went back and watched a few games today where he went forward and he was incredibly ineffective. If he is a back up then I can handle it but I’m not sure how we fit him and English in without wasting a spot in the 22 or getting our balance horribly wrong.

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  6. #4
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    I worry we have been blinded a bit by being able to get him on the cheap. Is he better than Trengrove?

    I was keen on Casboult, who offers more as a forward/around the ground, and would have been similarly cheap.

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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    If the ruckman is Goldy, that is a significant upgrade on English. Tim can play predominantly forward and frankly Bruce can play for Footscray unless he beats the door down in pre-season.

    Martin is ok as a #1 ruck on paper but he honestly looks cooked.

    If we go into 2021 with English as our #1 ruck, we are destined to be disappointed at the business end of the season once again.
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    Quote Originally Posted by 1eyedog View Post
    One of Bruce or Naughton has to play back and it works. We're essentially telling English he is a key forward in 2021.
    That just seems dumb. We've just bled for 3-years with him playing as #1 ruck and NOW we move him forward? When he has done all his training, learning etc as a ruckman?

    If we wanted him to play predominantly forward that process should have started when he first got to the club.

    Talk about being the "Lords of the after-thought". I sincerely hope I am wrong about this but if we have Martin I just see him and Sweet (and Young, and Schache) all playing 2's and the senior side looking exactly like it did in 2020.
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    The first big question is can English contribute enough playing just 30% game time in the ruck? I think he can.

    He is great with ball in hand, moves around the ground well, can take marks up forward as good as any other second ruck (low bar i know) and has shown an ability to drift forward to do so as well (I know that is while playing as a ruck on a ruckman but it does show he is able to contribute something there). His most effective games have been when he has also been an aerial presence drifting back as you say, which is certainly going to be impacted by him not playing ruck as much, but maybe that's offset by what other benefits he brings and the overall change to the side playing two rucks offers.

    We have quite often lacked a target who can work up the ground as a viable bail out option and help us constructively move the ball forward. Naughton can do this, but we seem to like playing him deeper, despite that also being where we prefer Bruce. If we are going to persist with keeping Naughton playing deep then I think having a mobile tall target we can hit up like English helps give us more structure going forward, a bit like how St.Kilda are able to use Marshall. Can English do that well? I don't know, but I think it's worth finding out. Also even if he is slow and ineffective as the third tall forward he is probably still going to contribute more than whoever else would take his spot in the side. It isn't like we are dropping Tory Dickson in his prime to play English as a second ruck.

    So I do think that English is worth trying in a role where he only gets 30% rucktime.

    Now onto Martin being the actual target, I'm not sold on him being an AFL player anymore but picking a pure ruck is not an issue I have. Ideally he contributes on field, teaches English off field, and buys English/Sweet/any young ruckman we pick up a year to mature. I am hugely skeptical on the viability of English as a number one ruck going forward, so maybe the benefit of Martin being a 34 year old who's career is virtually over is that it gives us a chance to try this kind of setup for a season before committing to it as our long term strategy as we would've had we brought in Goldstein/Draper etc. My preference would still have been to back ourselves in and grab one of those guys, but at least this is recognition that what we are currently doing isn't working and is a half hearted attempt to fix it.

    Also the alternative is we go into the season with the same flawed ruck setup of 2020, and that's just depressing. At least if we pick up Martin I can spend the pre-season pretending we are gonna be better.

    Now whether or not the double ruck idea sticks or goes the way of the much hyped "three pillars attack of Bruce, Naughton and Schache", or Martin spends the entire year injured/playing as a second ruck for no apparent reason/emailing Dodoro to see if his brother can try out their spongy floors remains to be seen, but surely forcing a potentially washed up ruckman into our lineup so English can pretend to be a forward has to be a good thing....right?
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  12. #8
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sedat View Post
    If the ruckman is Goldy, that is a significant upgrade on English. Tim can play predominantly forward and frankly Bruce can play for Footscray unless he beats the door down in pre-season.

    Martin is ok as a #1 ruck on paper but he honestly looks cooked.

    If we go into 2021 with English as our #1 ruck, we are destined to be disappointed at the business end of the season once again.
    yes spot on. Its commendable we are looking for an established ruck, but I agree with the OP, I feel Martin is cooked. Last year Trengove held his own against Martin and broke even in hitouts at Ballarat. I wish it was a different ruckman we were after, like a Goldy.

    All I can see Martin do is be an on/off field coach to help English. On the other hand, who else is available?
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  13. #9
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    I'm actually very supportive of bringing in a ruckman for a year or two allowing us pick English on form. Just having Martin around English and Sweet each week can only help with their development and they both need that.

    I would have preferred someone like Coleman-Jones who is someone we 'could' potentially plan in tandem with English but that would make our forward line a bit slower than I think we want
    The fact that we are looking to bring Hannan in probably rules out using English and Martin in tandem anyway

    Perhaps there is another deal bubbling away in the background that will help fit the pieces a bit better
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    Quote Originally Posted by GVGjr View Post
    I'm actually very supportive of bringing in a ruckman for a year or two allowing us pick English on form. Just having Martin around English and Sweet each week can only help with their development and they both need that.
    I'm just going to leave this here: https://www.westernbulldogs.com.au/t...f/steven-king/

    Please explain why we need a mentor player when we have a former high level AFL ruckman on the coaching staff...

    Here's the team we rolled out vs the Saints. How exactly would Martin do anything except replace Trengove in the emergencies?

    B: Easton Wood, Alex Keath, Caleb Daniel
    HB: Bailey Williams, Ryan Gardner, Hayden Crozier
    C: Bailey Smith, Jack Macrae, Jason Johannisen
    HF: Ed Richards, Josh Bruce, Mitch Wallis
    F: Tom Liberatore, Aaron Naughton, Lachie Hunter
    Foll: Tim English, Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Dunkley
    Int: Zaine Cordy, Taylor Duryea, Pat Lipinski, Roarke Smith
    Emer: Jackson Trengove, Laitham Vandermeer, Billy Gowers, Bailey Dale
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    That just seems dumb. We've just bled for 3-years with him playing as #1 ruck and NOW we move him forward? When he has done all his training, learning etc as a ruckman?

    If we wanted him to play predominantly forward that process should have started when he first got to the club.

    Talk about being the "Lords of the after-thought". I sincerely hope I am wrong about this but if we have Martin I just see him and Sweet (and Young, and Schache) all playing 2's and the senior side looking exactly like it did in 2020.
    I do agree and think Bevo got it wrong playing him as the lone ruckman for so long. It seems we're now committed to him operating as an understudy for a year. This should of happened much earlier. I'm not sure what the answer is but bringing Martin in is very reactive and reeks of Bevo being overruled on a failed methodology.

    English won't unlearn what he's learnt and hopefully his craft is enhanced by having a real ruckman at the club for a year. The English situation has been a dropped bowl of jelly but is there even a right answer to this now?

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  17. #12
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    I'm just going to leave this here: https://www.westernbulldogs.com.au/t...f/steven-king/

    Please explain why we need a mentor player when we have a former high level AFL ruckman on the coaching staff...
    Simply speaking King can't compete with them on the training track and I would say English in particular would benefit by competing with a ruckman of Martin's experience in most of the training sessions

    As for the team, we have been unbalanced for a couple of seasons now and Martin or not, that won't change
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    I'm just going to leave this here: https://www.westernbulldogs.com.au/t...f/steven-king/

    Please explain why we need a mentor player when we have a former high level AFL ruckman on the coaching staff...

    Here's the team we rolled out vs the Saints. How exactly would Martin do anything except replace Trengove in the emergencies?

    B: Easton Wood, Alex Keath, Caleb Daniel
    HB: Bailey Williams, Ryan Gardner, Hayden Crozier
    C: Bailey Smith, Jack Macrae, Jason Johannisen
    HF: Tim English, Josh Bruce, Mitch Wallis
    F: Tom Liberatore, Aaron Naughton, Lachie Hunter
    Foll: Stef Martin, Marcus Bontempelli, Josh Dunkley
    Int: Zaine Cordy, Taylor Duryea, Pat Lipinski, Ed Richards
    Emer: Jackson Trengove, Laitham Vandermeer, Billy Gowers, Bailey Dale
    Martin to ruck, English as high forward/second ruck, Richards to the bench and Roarke Smith dropped.

    And we would have won, given Martin would have at least neutralised a few ruck contests that Ryder completely destroyed English in, and English could have provided some extra height around the ground and forward to stop the zillion contested and intercept marks the Saints took.
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  20. #14
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    Quote Originally Posted by GVGjr View Post
    As for the team, we have been unbalanced for a couple of seasons now and Martin or not, that won't change
    There are already 5x players in that side who literally CANNOT get a kick.
    - Richards
    - Wood
    - Bruce
    - Gardner
    - Cordy

    A harsh person would add Naughton (low possession forward), Crozier (based on 2nd half of season), JJ (tagged out whenever the opposition want), Wallis (low possession forward), Lipinski (again, 2nd half of year) and Smith (R version) to the list of 5...

    And now we are adding another? I disagree mate - I think we actually can make things worse. If we go into a game with a spare ruck then that means even more flicking guys around between back, mid and forward to get them a breather and with so many low possession players in the group...

    We have English. We need a player who can flip-flop between ruck and forward and make a fist of things. That is why I said we should target Jackson and throw the kitchen sink at him...I would actually have a crack at getting Sinclair out of Sydney - he CAN play as a forward and would also play the role of competing at training as you suggest (not that they ever work too hard in-season in any case). As for why JT couldn't have/hasn't been playing that role in the last couple of seasons, well, I don't really understand why he hasn't or more to the point why you would think he hasn't??
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    Re: Can someone (please) explain to me the reason we would trade for Stef Martin (or another ruck only player).

    Quote Originally Posted by mjp View Post
    There are already 5x players in that side who literally CANNOT get a kick.
    - Richards
    - Wood
    - Bruce
    - Gardner
    - Cordy

    A harsh person would add Naughton (low possession forward), Crozier (based on 2nd half of season), JJ (tagged out whenever the opposition want), Wallis (low possession forward), Lipinski (again, 2nd half of year) and Smith (R version) to the list of 5...

    And now we are adding another? I disagree mate - I think we actually can make things worse. If we go into a game with a spare ruck then that means even more flicking guys around between back, mid and forward to get them a breather and with so many low possession players in the group...

    We have English. We need a player who can flip-flop between ruck and forward and make a fist of things. That is why I said we should target Jackson and throw the kitchen sink at him...I would actually have a crack at getting Sinclair out of Sydney - he CAN play as a forward and would also play the role of competing at training as you suggest (not that they ever work too hard in-season in any case). As for why JT couldn't have/hasn't been playing that role in the last couple of seasons, well, I don't really understand why he hasn't or more to the point why you would think he hasn't??
    I don't disagree with any of this and our team balance is completely out of whack with way too many low impact players, but going in with English as our sole ruck, with some chop outs from Dunks (lol), Jong, Macrae etc is just going to yield the same results.

    Trengove should have played more, no doubt about it and there's no guarantees that if Martin comes in, Bevo even picks him.
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