In an era where a lot is asked of ruckmen, it can be difficult to find or two at your club that can fill the role. With players such as Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy redefining our ideas on what a ruck should be, having a good set of talls in your team will only bode well for your chances at making some noise, as Port Adelaide have shown.
For a few seasons now they have troubled teams with their double act of Paddy Ryder and Justin Westhoff, with the former earning himself an All-Australian nod in 2017, and the pair rotated perfectly between the ruck and the forward positions. This was the case until Scott Lycett joined the Power this season.
Having already proven himself a more than capable backup for Nic Naitanui at West Coast, while the athletic big man had to recover from two separate ACL tears, Lycett earned his stripes by stepping up as the Eagle’s number one ruck in the back half of 2018, with his work in the guts and up forward pivotal in West Coast’s triumphant Premiership that year.
He then moved on to Port Adelaide, again accepting a role as a deputy this time to Ryder, however this has now become the opposite, as the last few weeks have seen Lycett replace Ryder and Westhoff as Port’s go-to big man. In their Round 13 loss to Fremantle, it can be argued that Lycett outplayed Ryder as a ruck, as Ryder was shut down by the emerging Sean Darcy, as Lycett stepped up with 17 touches and 21 hitouts, proving to be more effective around the ground than Paddy Ryder.
In their hard fought win against Geelong in Round 14, Ryder and Westhoof were dropped as Lycett was favoured as the number one ruck, and Charlie Dixon came in as a forward and to pinch-hit in the ruck. What followed was a dominant display from Lycett, as he was far and away the best on ground, as he racked up 24 touches, 5 marks, 41 hit outs and 9 clearances, relishing in his new role and dominating Rhys Stanley across the ground. Had it not been for Grundy’s heroics against the Bulldogs for Collingwood, we’d be talking more about Lycett as the best ruck for the weekend.
Still, something must be said of Lycett’s form, now that there are talks that the Power are willing to let Ryder walk at the end of the season, such is the faith that they have in Lycett’s ability to be the star ruck, as he showed when covering for one of the league’s premier rucks back in Perth. Let’s hope that we can see more standout displays from the big man.
An honourable mention has to be made for Lycett’s former teammate, Jack Redden, whom continued on a good season 30 touches, 12 kicks, 6 tackles and going at 87% efficiency, as the Eagles ran ragged around Essendon.