Dan’s the man at Tigerland

High-ranking ruckman: Rochester’s Dan Russell features prominently in several statistical fields with the Goulburn Valley leage’s leading ruckmen. He is a top-five hit out exponent, leads the way in ruck intercept marking and is the league’s best tackling big man. Photo: Bruce Povey

In days gone by ruckmen were often measured solely on the number of times they got their hand to the ball first at centre bounces, but the modern ruckman needs to be more of an all rounder to win similar acclaim.

Rochester big man Dan Russell fits that bill as he features prominently in several GVL Data statistical fields, proving there is much more to his game than a simple tap to a more fleet of foot ground level player.

Russell more than holds his own in regard to hit outs, in fact, he is ranked fifth in the Goulburn Valley league with an average of more than 25 a game.

He has part-time support in the form of high-leaping forward Mitchel Cricelli and Jarrad Kyne (four)

It is Russell’s follow up work, compared to the Goulburn Valley’s other top-10 ranked ruckmen (statistically speaking), that has him held in such high regard with teammates and opposition alike.

With 48 tackles from 11 games Russell is the top-tackling Top 10 ruckman in the league, while his 110-kick tally is second to Mooroopn’a Liam Betson — of the Top 10 rated followers.

Disposal wise Russell is averaging 15 a game, marginally behind Betson and Kyabram’s Zach Norris. He is, however, clearly ahead of both those ruckmen in total marks.

Edwards and Echuca rucking duo (Kane Morris and Liam Tenance) have the highest mark counts — for ruckmen — in the competition.

Benalla ruckman Joshua Marchbank leads the league by a clear margin in regard to hit outs, despite having played one less game than many of the competition’s top big men.

He is averaging more than 40 hit outs a game, ahead of Betson and Euroa’s Andrew Smith (who both average 28 hit outs).

Russell is also the league’s leading intercept marker, among his highly regarded ruck peers, and ranks fourth in relation to clearances.

He is among the few GVL ruckmen on the positive side of the ledger when it comes to umpiring decisions, having won 22 free kicks and given 18 away.

All but three of the top dozen ruckmen have given away more free kicks than they have received, with the two standouts returning extraordinary figures.

Benalla’s Marchbank has had an armchair ride with an 20-4 frees for and against count, but it is Shepparton United’s Edwards Adams who appears the most adept at winning over the men in green.

Edwards has received 30 free kicks this season in his 10 games and has given just five away. He is by far the leading disposal winner of the GVL rucking contingent, averaging 19 touches a game.

Rochester’s win against Kyabram a fortnight ago underlined the vital nature of Russell’s work.

The Tigers kicked eight of its 11 goals from stoppages, doubling Kyabram’s scores from the ball ups and throw ins. Five of those goals were from inside 50 stoppages.

Russell’s season-high 25 possession, 31 hit-out game against Shepparton United also included eight clearances and a dozen contested possessions.

The big ruckman played more than 100 games for Heathcote and was a regular with Palmerton Magpies prior to arriving at Rochester.