Jarrod Witts (left) takes on Fremantle big man Aaron Sandilands when still a Magpie.
Jarrod Witts (left) takes on Fremantle big man Aaron Sandilands when still a Magpie. TONY MCDONOUGH

Former Magpie up for Suns ruck challenge

AFL: Towering recruit Jarrod Witts knows three doesn't go into one as he sets his sights on becoming the Suns' No.1 ruckman in 2017.

Witts moved to the Gold Coast in search of opportunity after being starved of game time at Collingwood but competition for the specialised ruck role has never been hotter at the Suns.

For the first time the club has three genuine ruckmen in inaugural Sun Tom Nicholls, Dan Currie and now former Collingwood tall Witts, who was traded to the Gold Coast with draft picks 44 and 62.

Nicholls has been the club's preferred tall at the centre bounce and stoppages over the past year but was briefly overtaken by former Kangaroo Currie in 2016 before the latter suffered multiple hand fractures.

Witts was stuck behind Darren Jolly and then Brodie Grundy at the Magpies but with Nicholls still working his way back from knee surgery the 24-year-old has already used the time to impress coaching staff during the pre-season.

"I don't think they could play all three of us so we have had some healthy competition,” Witts said.

"Tom hasn't been back yet but me and Dan have been out there rucking against each other. I guess I have a bit of a head start being able to train more but I think (Nicholls) will be able to time his run pretty well and will be right to go at the start of the season.

"It can only be a good thing for the list and we will be able to get the most out of each other.”

The 209cm and 111kg big man backed himself to get the starting role at the Suns.

"You'd be silly if you didn't back yourself in and I back myself to play the No.1 ruck up here. I know nothing's ever given to you so you still have to earn it and I understand that.

"I'm in the mix, I'm up here and trying to do everything I can to get that spot so we will see how we go.”

Witts underwent shoulder surgeries at the end of the 2013 and 2014 seasons while he split the webbing in his hand early in 2016 season where he played just two games for Collingwood.


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