27/02/2024

Jonathon Ceglar will swap the yellow and brown stripes of Hawthorn for the blue and white hoops of Geelong. Picture: Hawthorn FC - Twitter

Has Geelong finally found the ruckman they need to finally help them win the flag? potentially, after acquiring Jonathon Ceglar from Hawthorn

Has Geelong finally found the ruckman they need to finally help them win the flag? potentially, after acquiring Jonathon Ceglar from Hawthorn

It comes as the Hawks told Ceglar to explore for opportunities elsewhere. This year, the 204cm ruckman lost his place to emerging young ruck Ned Reeves in the second half of the year and skipper Ben McEvoy is performing as strong as ever. Incoming Collingwood young ruckman Max Lynch is another factor behind the big man’s move down the highway.

The Cats traded a future third-round selection (tied to Brisbane) in exchange for the 30-year-old and Hawthorn’s future fourth-round selection.

What does Jonathon Ceglar bring to the Cattery?

For the majority of his time at Hawthorn, Ceglar was used as the second ruck option behind Ben McEvoy. In 2020, he emerged as the primary ruckman at the club, with McEvoy spending time as a key defender.

As the number one ruckman, Ceglar was able to display his attributes. He averaged 21 hitouts, approximately 4.8 hitouts to advantage, and 3 clearances in 13 games in that role in 2021.

In season 2021, Ceglar was instrumental in the Hawks’ Round 13 win over the Swans at the SCG, collecting 20 disposals – 19 contested – and 11 clearances to go with 35 hitouts.

In his last five games of 2021, Ceglar averaged 17.6 disposals – 11 contested – 24 hitouts, 5.2 clearances, and 2.2 contested marks per game.

Ceglar has also shown the ability to go forward and provide another tall marking target while the ability to kick goals, kicking 43 goals during his 103 game career.

Cats’ senior coach Chris Scott often used Mark Blicavs and Esava Ratugolea as the ruckman behind Rhys Stanley, now with the acquisition of Ceglar.

Scott will now be able to deploy Blicavs as a full-time key defender where he has shown All Australian capabilities and won two Carji Greeves medals. If Scott still wanted to use Blicavs’ versatility, he could still play on a wing without sacrificing him in the ruck.

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Who is Ceglar fighting for a spot with?

Throughout various stages of the 2021 season, Chris Scott used Rhys Stanley as the Cats’ number one ruckman after he securing the spot in 2020.

Stanley is an athletic big man that can cover the ground, but his issue is consistency as there is a big gap between his best and worst, and his competitiveness at times is questionable.

Stanley is currently the preferred ruck at the Cattery and with Esava Ratugolea also in the wings, Ceglar could be seen as depth but he also has the potential to take the number one ruck role, but he will be competing with the other two for that spot come round one.

All three ruckman have their strengths and weakness, one thing all three players have in common is the ability to play forward.

Ceglar’s best is elite. Despite only playing 12 games, Ceglar was able to better his 2020 output and produce a career year, averaging 15 disposals per game (compared to 10.5 per game) and four clearances.

If we were to compare Stanley and Ceglar career statistics, Stanley can find more of the ball than Ceglar (12 disposals per game compared to 11.6 disposals per game). However, Ceglar outranks Stanley in contested marks (1.2 per game compared to 0.9 per game), clearances (2.4 per game compared to 1.9 per game), and hitouts (20.9 per game compared to 14.9 per game).

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