Shane ‘The Phoenix’ Mumford (320,200, RUCK)
 

The ruck department this year, like most years, is the area that I think makes or breaks your season. Imagine last year starting with Grundy & Gawn from round 1. Your well on your way to winning the overall prize and the leagues you’re sitting in to. The performances from Grundy and Gawn last year means they come with huge price tags in 2019.
 

The ruck department alone (Super Coach wise) has only ever produced one ruckman that has been the top scorer in back to back years and that was way back over a decade ago when Dean Cox was in his prime. This begs the question, is Grundy going to break this trend or continue it on. We saw Kreuzer’s amazing 2017 lead to a highly disappointing 2018 and Gawn, Goldstein prior to that. In the last few days we’ve heard news of Grundy going down with a minor injury as well and typically Super Coachers like their players to have a flawless pre-season just to increase that confidence level a little bit. 
 

Then there’s Max Gawn who is a set and forget option … well that was until Melbourne did a weird thing during the pre-season and went and recruited Brayden Preuss. With Hogan heading over to Perth, this leaves a gap in the Dees forward line and with Gawn’s ability to take contested marks it makes you wonder whether he moves forward a little more this season.

Now let’s think about the player this article is actually about. Shane ‘The Phoenix’ Mumford. Priced at $320,200 we have a guy who has come out of retirement after a year off and following a drug scandal over the off-season will miss the first two games of the year. Mumford has not averaged below 90 Super Coach points in his last 8 seasons. Without dipping below the average of 98 in his last 4 seasons with a top average of 113. This is incredible value for a guy priced at $320K and certainly qualifies him for the category of ‘Bonfz Bargain Buys’.
 

Now if you’re playing for your overall rank, it’s not ideal to pick a guy who would sit on your pine for the first two weeks, but if we manage to get a rookie ruckman playing in round 1 (Like a Clarke 142K or Cameron 135K), for me this makes The Phoenix a no brainer while we get the opportunity to wait and see what the ruck division is doing to ultimately select our top 2 options. This is especially important I think for Max Gawn as we really don’t know the curveball of Preuss. Let’s also not forget if you purely play to win your league and don’t care about your overall ranking, most leagues do not play Head to Head league games until Round 3, when we anticipate Mumford will return to the line-up. Even if we do not get a rookie ruckman we can find ‘cheap’ options at under 300K. We have Longer at 260K, Naismith at 251K, Preuss at 239K & Pierce at 235K. I feel that we have options galore at a cheaper price that can really justify the selection of Shane Mumford.
 

You could also select The Phoenix on your bench and run a RUCK/FWD 102K option and switch him with someone like Justin Westhoff for the first couple of weeks and run a forward rookie on field to essentially cover for The Phoenix. I think if you run this approach you’d want to be confident that Westhoff can reproduce what he produced doing 2018 and finish as a top 6-8 forward. I’m not exactly sure if I’m sold on that at this point. The amount of The Phoenix has played each season is another concern that needs to be weighed up and this again and this is why Westhoff or a cheaper ruck option is essential, so you’re not running a ‘donut’ on any given week. Mumford as a number 2 ruck without back up is a genuine no go from me. The Phoenix has only played 20 games or more in 2 of his last 8 seasons. With 4/8 of those seasons playing 17 games or less. However if The Phoenix is able to play let’s say the first 10/11 games following his likely return in Round 3 then this is certainly worth the selection because you will gain points and probably 200K on his price, before moving him on to a potential fallen premo. I think right now it’s too early to make a call on The Phoenix and this is something that we will all be weighing up all pre-season, but it’s certainly something to monitor as this can really catapult you to a league title against your mates (or enemies) or do some real good things for you in the overall after the tough start in the first two weeks.

 

2010 Average: 92.5 from 19 Games
2011 Average: 112.5 from 17 Games
2012 Average: 90.6 from 14 Games
2013 Average: 91.6 from 19 Games
2014 Average: 113.2 from 17 Games
2015 Average: 105.5 from 11 Games
2016 Average: 98.5 from 21 Games
2017 Average: 98.1 from 20 Games
2018 Average: Retirement
2019 Average Prediction: 92.7 from 17 Games

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