EIGHT ruckmen changed clubs last October.   

And if the current casualty ward across the competition is anything to go by, the musical chairs in the big-man department will continue at the end of 2020.

THE FULL INJURY LIST Who is racing the clock?

Injuries at both Brisbane (Stefan Martin/Archie Smith) and Geelong (Rhys Stanley/Darcy Fort) mean the Lions and Cats will enter matches this week with gaping holes in their ruck set-ups.

And Sydney is bracing for another 12 months without No.1 Sam Naismith, while Swans depth big man Michael Knoll has missed most of the season with a knee injury. 

All three clubs need an instant fix but also a solution for next year. This year there will be no NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.

ARE THEY GETTABLE? Meet 2020's 'pre-agents'

The Lions have shown they are already planning for life after Martin – who will turn 34 in November – and targeted Hawthorn's Jon Ceglar ahead of last year's Telstra AFL Trade Period. 

However, Ceglar opted to stay at Waverley Park and sign a three-year deal, forcing former teammate Marc Pittonet to find a new home at Carlton where he is currently flourishing in the absence of Matthew Kreuzer.

THE BIG STEAL How a Hawk ruck logjam delivered the Blues a giant bargain 

See what we mean by musical chairs?

The last 11 premiership sides have had at least one recycled ruckman and clubs are increasingly looking to the depth chart of rivals for an instant fix as opposed to the draft. 

Last year, just three genuine ruckmen were selected in the NAB AFL Draft – Luke Jackson (Melbourne), Nick Bryan (Essendon) and Callum Jamieson (West Coast).

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Like Brisbane, the Cats will be scouring the market after their ruck department dropped from four to two in the space of 12 months when Zac Smith and Ryan Abbott left last year.

And Sydney has no choice but to explore given incumbent Callum Sinclair turns 31 in September and is more of a ruck/forward.

Elsewhere, Essendon is hoping Sam Draper and Nick Bryan start to pressure veteran Tom Bellchambers and Andrew Phillips, the latter arriving from Carlton as a stopgap on a one-year deal.

Matthew Flynn and Kieren Briggs will battle it out at Greater Western Sydney to move past ageing pair Sam Jacobs and Shane Mumford, but do they need something to bridge the two generations?

And do Adelaide need a boost after they only added forward/ruck Billy Frampton when Jacobs left for the Giants?

Plus – it's worth noting quarters will return to 20 minutes plus time on next year which could force many clubs a rethink into playing two genuine ruckmen like the last two premiership sides Richmond and West Coast.

Here's six big men clubs will be targeting come this year's Trade Period. 

Peter Ladhams (Port Adelaide)

Has been given a chance in the past fortnight due to Scott Lycett's knee injury and excelled in the round seven win over Carlton. Proved he's dangerous around the ground against the Blues but was exposed at stoppages by former teammate Paddy Ryder last week. Ladhams registered interest from rival clubs last year before inking a new deal at Alberton until 2022. Although Ryder has since left, how much opportunity will he get behind Lycett (contract to 2023) if the Power only play one genuine ruckman? 

Callum Coleman-Jones (Richmond)

Now into his third year, the South Australian has managed just one AFL game (last year) and is stuck behind Ivan Soldo and Toby Nankervis. While the Tigers have been thrilled with his development and signed him to 2021, how much longer can he wait around for a genuine chance to prosper? For now, the Tigers have committed to one ruckman with forward Mabior Chol pinch-hitting. Coleman-Jones' athleticism excites other clubs and it was a big factor in the Tigers taking him at pick 20 in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft.

Braydon Preuss (Melbourne)

Only two years into a four-year deal he signed when he crossed from North Melbourne at the end of 2018. Captain Max Gawn only turns 29 in December and isn't going anywhere fast, while Preuss had to watch the Demons draft the most exciting ruck prospect since Brodie Grundy – Luke Jackson – last November. Now 25, Preuss' physicality makes up for his lack of running power. Time to get out and find a third club?

Toby Nankervis (Richmond)

Finds himself in an interesting situation despite holding the mantle as a two-time premiership ruckman. Out-of-contract at season's end, Nankervis was twice overlooked in favour of Ivan Soldo this year before requiring surgery to repair a syndesmosis injury. Turning 26 next month, Nankervis is still firmly in the Tigers' thinking which will only increase when quarters return to 20 minutes. But where does he sit in another year or two with No.3 big man Callum Coleman-Jones coming with a rush? 

Bailey Williams (West Coast)

Has been incredibly close to a debut on several occasions but the Eagles look to have settled on their preferred ruck set-up of Nic Naitanui and pinch-hitter Oscar Allen for now. Williams was edged out for the No.2 spot by Tom Hickey when the Eagles went with two genuine big men to start the season before changing their model. The Victorian is only 20 and has time on his side with a contract until 2022 but rival clubs will be asking the question, knowing the Eagles also have Hickey (2021 contract), Nathan Vardy (out-of-contract) and last year's draftee Callum Jamieson (2021).

Sam Hayes (Port Adelaide)

The Power have high hopes for the Victorian product who ruptured his ACL midway through his first season in 2018. Has also been adding forward craft to his game in an attempt to give Ken Hinkley thought he could play as one of two genuine talls. When the Power pounced on the athletic Hayes at pick 47 in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft, current Power No.1 Scott Lycett was still at West Coast and No.2 Peter Ladhams was developing in the SANFL. While rival clubs might not succeed in luring Hayes out of his 2021 contract at Alberton, they'd be silly not to ask the question. 


Ryan Abbott (Geelong to St Kilda), Darcy Cameron (Sydney to Collingwood), Billy Frampton (Port Adelaide to Adelaide), Sam Jacobs (Adelaide to Greater Western Sydney), Andrew Phillips (Carlton to Essendon), Marc Pittonet (Hawthorn to Carlton), Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide to St Kilda), Zac Smith (Geelong to Gold Coast) 


Adelaide Crows

Reilly O'Brien, Billy Frampton (part forward), Kieran Strachan

Brisbane Lions

Stefan Martin, Archie Smith, Oscar McInerney (part forward)


Matthew Kreuzer, Marc Pittonet, Tom De Koning (part forward), Levi Casboult (part forward/defender) 


Brodie Grundy, Darcy Cameron, Max Lynch, Mason Cox (part forward) 


Tom Bellchambers, Andrew Phillips, Sam Draper, Nick Bryan, Henry Crauford 


Sean Darcy, Rory Lobb (part forward), Lloyd Meek

Geelong Cats

Darcy Fort, Rhys Stanley, Esava Ratugolea (part forward), Mark Blicavs (part defender) 

Gold Coast Suns

Jarrod Witts, Zac Smith, Matt Conroy

GWS Giants

Sam Jacobs, Shane Mumford, Matthew Flynn, Kieren Briggs


Jon Ceglar, Ben McEvoy (part defender), Ned Reeves, Keegan Brooksby


Max Gawn, Braydon Preuss, Luke Jackson (part utility), Austin Bradtke 

North Melbourne

Todd Goldstein, Tom Campbell, Tristan Xerri 

Scott Lycett, Peter Ladhams, Sam Hayes


Ivan Soldo, Toby Nankervis, Callum Coleman-Jones, Mabior Chol (part forward)

St Kilda

Rowan Marshall, Paddy Ryder, Ryan Abbott, Sam Alabakis, Jack Bell 

Sydney Swans

Sam Naismith, Callum Sinclair, Michael Knoll, Hayden McLean (part forward), Joel Amartey

West Coast Eagles

Nic Naitanui, Tom Hickey, Bailey Williams, Nathan Vardy, Callum Jamieson 

Western Bulldogs

Tim English, Jordon Sweet, Jackson Trengove (part defender) 


2019 – Richmond – Toby Nankervis (Sydney)

2018 – West Coast – Nathan Vardy (Geelong)

2017 – Richmond – Toby Nankervis (Sydney)

2016 – Western Bulldogs – Tom Boyd (Greater Western Sydney)

2015 – Hawthorn – Ben McEvoy (St Kilda), David Hale (North Melbourne)

2014 – Hawthorn – Ben McEvoy (St Kilda), David Hale (North Melbourne)

2013 – Hawthorn – David Hale (North Melbourne)

2012 – Sydney – Shane Mumford (Geelong)

2011 – Geelong – Brad Ottens (Richmond)

2010 – Collingwood – Darren Jolly (Melbourne/Sydney), Leigh Brown (Fremantle/North Melbourne)

2009 – Geelong – Brad Ottens (Richmond)