Ruckmen often get a bum wrap in AFL commentary in relation to their football ‘smarts’. How often do you hear ‘don’t ask him to do two things at once … he’s only a ruckman.” It’s a light-hearted industry stereotype.

And when it comes Brisbane ruckmen it is downright wrong. Some of the smartest players in club history have been long-term ruckmen, and not just on the field.

Inaugural captain Mark Mickan and club champions Matthew Clarke and Stefan Martin were legitimate top-end academics, and premiership trio Clark Keating, Beau McDonald, Jamie Charman are no dummies. Likewise Matthew Leuenberger and Ben Hudson, a qualified physiotherapist who only played with the club for one season but is now on the coaching staff.

So Brisbane have been the exception to the ‘only a ruckman’ theory. And it’s an exception that is now being carried on very capably by qualified accountant and ruck spearhead Oscar McInerney.

Set to play his 100th AFL game in Thursday night’s elimination final against Richmond at the Gabba, McInerney has been one of the great AFL stories in recent years – on and off the field.

The hugely popular 205cm giant will be only the fifth ruckman in Brisbane history to play 100 AFL games for the club behind Keating (139), Clarke (130), Charman (129) and Leuenberger (108).

On a return on investment basis, the former Casey Scorpions Reserves player is rolled gold.

Drafted with pick #37 in the AFL Rookie Draft in 2016, McInerney was the 91st player taken in his draft year, and the ninth ruckman behind five players taken in the National Draft and three in the Rookie Draft.

Preferred to McInerney in the National Draft were Western Bulldogs’ Tim English (pick #19), Fremantle’s Sean Darcy (#38), Geelong’s Esava Ratugolea (#43), Sydney draftee turned Collingwood player Darcy Cameron (#48) and Geelong draftee turned now delisted StKilda recruit Ryan Abbott (#69).

Taken ahead of him in the Rookie Draft were Essendon’s Sam Draper (pick #1), Port Adelaide draftee turned Sydney player Peter Ladhams (#9) and St.Kilda’s Rowan Marshall (#10).

Yet among the ruck class of 2016 28-year-old McInerney will be the first to 100 games. And among 123 first-time draftees overall in 2016 only 13 players in total, including Brisbane first-rounders Hugh McCluggage and Jarrod Berry, have played 100 games.

And McInerney, 4th in the Merrett/Murray Medal in 2020, 7th last year and expected to finish top 10 again this year, compares favorably in the respective club awards. Only Marshall, 2nd at St.Kilda in 2019 and 4th in 2020, Darcy, winner at Fremantle in 2021, and English, 8th at the Bulldogs in 2020, have finished top 10.

His 1023 career possessions is behind only Marshall (1334), English (1175) and Darcy (1037), his 45 goals behind only English (47), equal with Marshall (45) and ahead of Darcy (34), with 120 contested marks and 257 tackles, McInerney out-ranks Marshall (117 contested marks and 246 tackles), Darcy (85 contested marks and 233 tackles) and English (100 contested marks and 224 tackles).