THINK about the best 20 players in the Australian Football League.
When you list them and tick over your mind, how many are ruckmen?
There's a case to be made that we're enjoying a golden generation of big men at present.
Players like West Coast Eagles' Nic Naitanui, North Melbourne's Todd Goldstein, Melbourne's Max Gawn and Collingwood's Brodie Grundy have revolutionised the role. No longer are rucks expected to just win the tap and palm it off to more creative midfielders - they're now part of the midfield itself.
This could be the season a big man finally takes home the Brownlow Medal.
Ground ball is vital and ruckmen must be able to impact the play below the knees. The best can.
An example of this is through clearances. Goldstein leads the AFL in clearances (60) while Naitanui is ninth overall.
Gawn, meanwhile, is just an all-round star. Demons fans would have had hearts in mouths when he suffered a muscle strain last week but will be relieved to know he's been declared fit to play against Adelaide on Wednesday.
Paddy Ryder's impact since crossing to St Kilda in the summer has been profound while Jarrod Witts is an underrated prospect at Gold Coast.
Looking to the future, Western Bulldogs youngster Tim English, Port Adelaide's Peter Ladhams and Fremantle's Sean Darcy are already making a mark at a young age.
Will Geelong's failure to land a specialist ruckman in the off-season impact its flag bid? The bottom line is that ruckman are impacting games more than ever before.
Realistically, this could be the season a big man finally takes home the Brownlow Medal. It wouldn't be the strangest thing to happen in 2020.
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