Max Gawn entered the 2022 AFL season with the Mongrel Punt Ruckman Championship Belt around his waist, having vanquished Tim English and Stef Martin in the decider for his fourth-straight successful title defence. Over the first two rounds of the season, an unconvincing Gawn vanquished both the Bulldogs in a Grand Final rematch, before hanging on against Jarrod Witts and the Gold Coast Suns.
This week, he looks across the centre circle at a young man looking to build a reputation of his own… at the expense of the champion.
It’s Max Gawn defending The Mongrel Punt Ruckman Championship Title against Sam Draper. May the best man win.
Whilst we are all well aware of how it ended in 2021 – with Max Gawn holding not only the premiership cup, but the Mongrel Punt Ruckman Championship Title, how it came to pass is another story.
Commencing at the beginning of 2017, we tracked those who have reigned as the champion ruckman of the AFL. They are all listed below with each defence detailed.
So, how does it work?
Great question… I’m glad I asked.
After a champion was established – best ruck in the 2016 Grand Final – that player goes onto defend the title each week against the best ruckman from his team’s designated opponent. As an example, Tom Boyd, thrown into the ruck in the 2016 Grand Final, became the first-ever champion. His first defence in 2017 came against Collingwood, which means we had Boyd v Brodie Grundy as the match up to decide the title in Round One.
But how do you decide who wins? Well, that’s quite simple – the player on the team that wins has a huge advantage. In order to win the title, you not only have to out-perform the champion, but your team also has to win, as well.
In addition, it must be a clear win in the one-on-one clash. If Boyd collects 15 touches and 20 hitouts in a loss and Grundy has similar stats in a win, that’s simply not good enough in my book. The win must be a decisive one for the title to change hands. As such, the champion can retain the belt despite his team being trounced IF he performs well in his personal battle.
Of course you do – you’re not silly, right? But just in case you are, here are some bullet-point rules.
– To win the title, your team must win
– You cannot lose the title if your team wins, irrespective of how poorly you play.
– One-on-one wins must be resounding. If there is any doubt, the champion retains.
– The title must be defended every week except for byes. That means if a player is injured… bad luck. If a player is suspended… bad luck, again. If a player holds the title and his team does not make finals… well, that’s when I step in as an evil Vince McMahon-like character and strip the belt, putting it on the line for someone else to win.
– In the result of injury or suspension, the title will be decided in the game the injured/suspended player would have played.
– In the result of a team not playing finals, the title goes to the best performer on a winning team of the next week of finals, regardless of the game (so in week one of the finals, any ruck from four teams could win it should the champ at the end of the home and away season not make finals.)
And that’s about it. So, we have our history to cover before we get to the current stuff. Let’s jump back to 2017 and work our way to the current day, adding to this each week for our members as the seasons tick by.
This content is for our paid members. It is another column in the weekly rotation for our members. Up front, I do the work for our members – always. Want to join us?