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Ruck musical chairs: Big Hawk the latest to join the merry-go-round

Sam Jacobs, Paddy Ryder and Jon Ceglar could all be big players in ruck merry-go-round - AFL,Sam Jacobs,Paddy Ryder,Jonathon Ceglar,Todd Goldstein,Jonathon Patton,Scott Lycett,Zac Smith,Wylie Buzza,Tag-Trade,Trade
Sam Jacobs, Paddy Ryder and Jon Ceglar could all be big players in ruck merry-go-round

RUCKMAN Jon Ceglar could be the latest Hawk to head north to join former Hawthorn football boss Chris Fagan at Brisbane as he seeks greater opportunity.

The free agent is caught in a ruck logjam at Waverley Park, with Ben McEvoy the clear No.1 and playing career-best football, Marc Pittonet continuing to perform well in the VFL and Ned Reeves signing in the pre-season.

Ceglar was restricted to 11 and 13 senior games (so far) the past two seasons, playing alongside or filling in for McEvoy after missing all of 2017 to recover from a knee reconstruction.

Jon Ceglar has played his most senior games since 2016 this season. Picture: AFL Photos

The 28-year-old, who was previously on Collingwood's list, would enter an interesting ruck dynamic at the Lions, where ex-teammate Luke Hodge has spent the past two seasons.

Stefan Martin re-signed for another season in July, Oscar McInerney is a best-22 staple as a 205cm forward who spells Martin, and basketball convert Archie Smith is waiting in the wings and contracted until 2021.

Wherever Ceglar ends up will likely have a flow-on effect to Pittonet, who's played only seven AFL matches in five seasons but is five years Ceglar's junior.

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The ruck merry-go-round is alive and well, with the futures of uncontracted veterans Sam Jacobs and Paddy Ryder still up in the air, and free agent Todd Goldstein set to stay at North Melbourne, but yet to commit.

Jacobs is back in Adelaide's senior side, alongside the much-improved Reilly O'Brien, after an extended SANFL stint.

However, industry sources are linking Jacobs with a move to Greater Western Sydney, which seems certain to add an experienced big man.

Dawson Simpson will retire at season's end, developing ruckman Matthew Flynn underwent a knee reconstruction mid-year and the promising Kieren Briggs was drafted only in 2018.

It is believed the Giants will wait to see how Shane Mumford finishes the season before committing one way or another on a ruck recruit.

Shane Mumford has played 15 games in his return to the Giants this season. Picture: AFL Photos

Jon Patton was Greater Western Sydney's back-up ruckman last year until he sustained a third serious knee injury that he is still to return from.

Patton is highly unlikely to play this season ahead of a probable move to Hawthorn, which AFL.com.au reported in April.

Ryder has also piqued the Giants' interest, but where he plays next year will depend on how the rest of the ruck cards fall.

Peter Ladhams' emergence in 2019 has complicated matters for Ryder and Port Adelaide, which also signed West Coast premiership ruckman Scott Lycett on a lucrative five-year deal.

 

Ladhams re-signed for three years last week and is leading the Power's ruck division as it attempts to qualify for the finals, while Lycett will spend a third week in the SANFL.

In-demand Bombers big man Sam Draper turned down St Kilda's advances to commit to four more seasons at Tullamarine, and the Saints also made an unsuccessful play for Goldstein.

That leaves Ryder and Jacobs in St Kilda's sights.

Geelong is another club overflowing with ruck options, although it is turning to athletic tall Mark Blicavs for the second straight week against Brisbane on Saturday.

The Cats have a trio of ruckmen toiling in the twos as the finals loom. Picture: AFL Photos

Rhys Stanley, Darcy Fort, Zac Smith and Wylie Buzza will instead all compete for the Cats' VFL team, leaving Ryan Abbott, who is contracted for next year, to sit out.

Smith and Buzza don't have deals for 2020 at this stage, with Smith exploring other opportunities.

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