Changing of the Ruck Guard

In 2023, Tim English joined a very exclusive club at the highest level.

In Round 18, he became just the second man to ever record a stat line including 60+ hit outs, 10+ clearances, and 20+ disposals in a single game. In many ways, it was an indication of just how far the big man has come,

There was a time not too long ago, when the elite big men of the competition would lick their lips at the prospect of facing English. He was not a great tap ruck at that stage, too easily pushed off the footy, and he seemed timid when attacking the contest, almost conceding the hit out to the opposition. Luckily, the Dogs had a midfield intelligent enough to win their own footy and rove to the opposition ruck, as English was giving them very little in terms of good service. He was a project, and the early stages of his career were trying.

Brodie Grundy, in particular, dined out on playing the Dogs. In three consecutive games against English and the Bulldogs, Grundy picked up nine Brownlow votes.

He was a wolf stalking a baby deer. Or in this case, a baby giraffe.

In Round Four 2019, Grundy amassed 22 touches, 58 hit outs, and five clearances against the Dogs. In return, English had 17 touches of his own, picking up disposals around the ground, but managed just six hit outs for the entire contest.

English went ten hit outs better in the next encounter later tha year, finishing with 14 disposals and 16 taps. Grundy rattled off 50 hit outs to go with 25 disposals, six clearances, and two goals. It was a mauling.

And into the horrible 2020 season, Grundy had 19 touches, 35 hit outs, and four clearances to English’s 10 disposals, 12 hit outs, and one clearance.

Yep – nine Brownlow votes in three-straight games. Big Tim belonged to Brodie Grundy.

Yes, times have changed.


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