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CLUBS searching for ruckmen are likely to find them at the NAB AFL Rookie Draft, with few big men expected to be taken at this month's national draft.
Peter Wright, a 203cm prospect, will be a first-round draft pick when names are called at the Gold Coast on November 27, but many clubs view him as a centre half-forward who can pinch hit in the ruck, and not the other way around.
Putting him aside, there might not be another ruckman picked in the national intake, with clubs set to wait until December's rookie and pre-season drafts to replenish their ruck stocks.
Oakleigh Charger Marc Pittonet is considered the most likely ruckman to win a senior spot at a club via the draft, while South Australian Tom Read has also garnered some interest.
Pittonet, at 201cm, was viewed as one of the better ruck prospects in the TAC Cup this season but played only two games for Vic Metro at the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships. He is a strong contested mark and has solid skills.
Read played four games at the national carnival as South Australia's ruckman. An illness with chronic fatigue-like symptoms saw him miss a significant chunk of the last two seasons, but Read has shown some raw natural ability and athleticism.
At the NAB AFL Draft Combine, the 200cm prospect ran 3.02 seconds in the 20m sprint and finished in the top 10 for the standing vertical jump.
A paucity of rucks would follow a recent trend, with only two selected at last year's NAB AFL Draft. Greater Western Sydney recruited Rory Lobb with pick 29 before the Sydney Swans grabbed Toby Nankervis at No.35.
Billy Frampton, Josh Miller, Braydon Preuss and Peter Spurling are other rucks who may come under consideration late or as rookies. North Ballarat's Rowan Marshall is also in that group, although most clubs view the 198cm player as a key position prospect at the next level.
Of the mature-age options, 21-year-old Paul Hunter has attracted interest from several AFL clubs after a strong season for Redland in the NEAFL.
South Australian Sam Baulderstone – who shed close to 40kg and became a premiership player with Norwood – has also caught the eye of recruiters and looks a possible rookie pick.