Cow Talk – Round 2

Written by Father Dougal on April 4 2018

“Small or Far Away” Father Dougal on Cows

Since this is the round for correctional trades, it is the round to write about correctional trades. By correctional trade I mean one that is not forced by serious injury. Fixing a mistake, or fixing what looks like a mistake due to under-performance.

But first, my once a year bit about the origin of “Small or far away” and the staggering coincidence of Father Dougal writing about cows:  Small or Far Away

(That green highlighted bit is a link, in case it wasn’t obvious)


So, corrective trades…..

Very short version: Bad (Tree pretty.)

Short version: Very often not worth it, be very careful, especially with rookies.

Full Sermon: To start, there is this thing called “regression to the mean.” I’m probably going to butcher this but basically, when you have a result far from the average, future results are likely to be closer to the average. If Buddy averages three goals a match and kicks ten in a match, odds are he will kick fewer than ten next match.  If you prefer something less skills based, if you roll two dice and get 11, you are likely to get a result closer to 7 on your next and future rolls.

Last season for the R1 Cow Talk I looked at the 2016 cows and how their scores were after the early round and the rest of the season. Link below if you have not read or don’t remember it. Oh, and I figured out how to do a normal click-on-the-line type link!

Cow Talk R1 2017

To sum that up: improving by early cow-trading looks to be difficult. Especially when you include the cost of the trade.

This season, I’d be inclined to think Kelly, Holman, Deodee, and Finlayson  are worth finding a way to get in, because their averages are both freakishly high and appear to be real. Kelly being the main one.

Okay, you just talked about regression to the mean and then said, oh these guys with high two-round averages should probably be brought in. Which is it? Just trying to cover your butt? 

Well, um, I think there are two things at work here. One is that these guys were expected to do well, and they are backing that up. It’s the guys who come from nowhere and put up completely unexpected scores who are a big risk. If say, one of the three Eagles forwards had put up a pair of hundreds, I’d be suggesting caution. The other thing is the good old eye test. Watch them play. If I didn’t know Tim Kelly was playing his second match, and you showed me both the Cats v Hawks and Giants v Pies matches, and then asked me which Kelly was the rookie, I’d have said “neither, stop messing with me!” If I had to guess I would probably have picked *the wrong one*.

Yeah, okay. They all pass the eye test, I’ll give you that. 

There’s another reason, which is that the ones who are not Holman are looking like they might actually be keepers.


Yeah, I almost put something about “won’t be keepers” in the rules of cow-quisition but couldn’t come up with one I liked. Good thing as it turned out.

BURN the heretic!

Please do not burn the heretic. Also, let’s be real. Any mid who you start with and averages 105+ is at worst a low priority upgrade. And defender you start with and averages 90+ is at worst a low priority upgrade.  We’ll see how well their averages hold up before we need to decide if they should be harvested. Once you have someone on your team, their price only matters if you are going to sell them. There is no actual requirement to sell a cow. We just call them “steers” if they do that well. Would you trade out a top 8 mid or a top 6 defender?

Of course not. At least not while sober…You don’t think any of them will really do that well do you?! 

Let’s say I am not sure all of them won’t, and there is no reason to try and predict. Again, we’ll find out.

So if they are even candidates for keepers then they are good enough to bring in?

Right. Remember last week and how I talked about the value of fast points?


Well, go read last weeks Cow Talk. It’s about the value of early points.

Well, if early points are valuable doesn’t that mean corrective trades are good, fixing a problem fast? 

Yes, if what you are doing is actually fixing a problem. Say we are rolling three six sided dice, aka 3d6…


Yes, we all know that. Anyways, the average of 3d6 is 10.5.  But if we roll 3d6 say six times, we might get – 15, 17, 12, 7, 9, 10 – which averages 11.6.  But if you only look at weeks, I mean rolls, one and two, they average 16! What great dice! Clearly you should spend a trade to bring then into your team, replacing the 4d6 that rolled  11, 10 for a mere 10.5 average!

I think you are mixing your metaphors….

Quiet, I’m on a roll. Anyways, the 4d6 then go on to roll 14, 16, 13, 20 for a  average of 14 over 6 rounds. But thanks to just two rounds, I mean rolls, we traded the set of dice which should average 14 for one which should average 11.5. Fewer points and a trade gone.

AFL players are not dice

Doesn’t matter, same idea

DOES SO matter. For one thing we know what the average is for dice, so since we know for sure that 4d6 will over time average 14 and 3d6 over time will average 11.5, we know that is a silly move. So nobody would do that. 

Fine.  Well, we do have some knowledge of all AFL players. Even rookies like Tim Kelly. To further mangle my example, by rolling the equivalent of a 22 we know he isn’t just 3d6 because 3 x 6 = 18 and so they can’t roll a 22. Must be at least 4d6. And odds are that it is more since rolling a 22 twice is improbable for only 4d6, so he is likely to be more dice then four.

You are blithering and overstimulated and should try again more clearly. Just because you know what you mean doesn’t mean the rest of us do!

Yeah, I think I went too fast. I’ll have a beer and take some deep breaths, not at the same time.

Now let’s try again.

There are random effects that go into a player’s performance, just like there are random effects when rolling dice.

Over the short term those random effects can make a player look better or worse than he really is.

Over the long term, random effects tend to even out.

So, when a player does extra well or extra poorly, and there is not a good explanation for that, it could very well be just luck, and if so, he will move back to performing at his real level of ability.

So, if we roll three dice a lot, they will average more than when we roll four dice the same number of times.  But if we look only at the first two throws of the dice, sometimes the three dice will do a lot better than the four dice due to random chance. In the same way, sometimes an AFL player will have a Supercoach score well above or below their real level of ability over the first two weeks. When that happens, we need to think hard and determine if their performance is because of luck or other factors. Do they have a niggling injury? Is the coach using them in a different role? Are they old and perhaps dropping off because their body isn’t what it used to be? Did they just play two teams that let up big scores, or let up big scores to players in their role?  Has their time on ground gone up or down?

Ok, that makes sense. Thus the rule against trading your premiums, like Fyfe after his bad score week one. 

Exactly. There is risk both outgoing and incoming. If you get one wrong, you have spent a trade unwisely. If you get both wrong, you have spent a trade to go backwards.

But if you get both right….?

Then you have made a good trade. The belief that we can get both right is tempting. We know we can. And we really can, sometimes. I think about these every year.

And you made *two* last year, Mr “do as I say and not as I do.” 

Yeah. Time for some Deja Vu. Last season I swapped Cam McCarthy for Will Hoskin-Elliot.  I also broke the rule about sideways trading premiums, and do not yell “heretic” again. Got rid of Hamsterberry and brought in The Bont.

How did they work out?

Well, McCarthy was a total spud and stayed one all year. Worse, he was an expensive spud. He went 36, 28, 53, 100, 72, 78, 73, 66, 61 to start the season. And that 100 and the 70s meant he would have ended up making 100k had I sat him on the bench and not traded him.

WHE went 88, 120, 71, 70, 51 ,125, 65, 75, 71  to start the season. I ended up making about $160k from him. Meaning my return on that trade was about 60k and 25 points.

That’s bad. 

Yup. Here is what I said in R2’s Cow talk last year: “If McCarthy to WHE isn’t a good correctional trade, then there is no such thing as a good correctional  cow trade. And since there is such a thing as a good correctional cow trade, McCarthy to WHE must be one.”

You were wrong

Yeah. I mean look at them after two rounds – an average of 32 and an average of 104! How obvious is that? How many of us would do that? And yet, not worth it.

So, “since McCarthy to WHE wasn’t a good correctional trade, then there is no such thing as a good correctional  cow trade?”

Well, let’s say I won’t be making any more, ever. Probably. If I do I will probably suffer for it. So no. Notice me not even *thinking* about trading Naughton.  Maybe next year I’ll look at all the possible Naughton trades and see how they did.

But you said to bring in Doedee and Finlayson….?

I have them, which makes not thinking about trading Naughton easier. If someone does not have them, I would have no issue with bringing one of them in for Naughton.  Or Kelly if that can be worked out. I’d do that for sure.

Ok, how did Hanners to Bontempelli go? 

Hamsters averaged 61.5 over rounds 1 and 2 then 101.1 over the rest of the season. The Bont averaged 130 over round 1 and 2 and then 102.6 over the rest of the season. So, ick. As it happened, Hanners missed a week and the Bont did not, so I ended up 131 points ahead, which is about breaking even. But, this was a case of getting something half right. Hannebery *was* hurt and his average dropped by 10 points from the previous season. I was right that he could be improved on enough to make a trade worthwhile. What I stuffed up was who to bring in for him.

Go on, try to claim not being wrong

M Crouch, Dusty, Titch, Oliver, Murphy, Sloane.


Had I brought in any of them it would have been a win. I waffled between Bont and Dusty. Had I gotten Dusty, I would have been 427 points ahead.


Yeah, what a difference *that* would have made at the end of the year. So if you do trade out a premium, for sure only trade them for someone you are certain will be a top scorer. I blew it by trying to save a little cash on The Bont vs Dusty, and cost myself 296 points.

So you’re saying the rule about not sideways trading premiums is a bad rule? 

Nope. It is a good rule. Hanners was hurt.

We didn’t know that at the time. 

Eye test. I posted about it in various threads. He looked wrong. I had owned him and seen him the previous season, and he just did not look right. And I trusted my gut, well, eye, along with the scores, and it turns out he really wasn’t right. Still isn’t right as of today actually.

So this season….?

I am not getting sucked into that! The only real question I know of is Hibberd and with him it is role and not injury. And I have no freaking idea how real or permanent the role change is. Whatever I do, I already know something that will be in Cow Talk R2  next season.

What are you going to do?

No idea! If I trade him out it will be for someone I am really sure about. Oliver if it can be worked, or Simpson if I go to another defender. Could being in a forward if there was one who wasn’t an R14 bye I wanted. I’m really torn on what to do….

Yeah, well, so are most people who own Hibberd. Start a club. 

I’ll probably have to do the “which way do I want to fail thing.” Anyways, enough about my team. I wouldn’t have brought it up if those examples weren’t so useful and so many other people were not in the same boat and I hadn’t just written about that boat.

So it’s a big boat?


A very big boat?

I guess so.

A “Titanic” boat? 

Expletive off.  Anyways,  so ends my yearly round two sermon about the dangers of “corrective” trades.

You forgot “the thing”

Oh right! This is not related to the corrective trades stuff, I just thought it was interesting. Remember all the blokes I listed as better options than The Bont? All of them as well as The Bont, averaged higher in rounds 1-2 than they did the rest of the year – other them Tom Mitchell. His average went UP after round two by 2.1 points. I don’t expect him to have an average this season in rounds 3 to 23 of 159.6…..but if you don’t own him…….



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37 thoughts on “Cow Talk – Round 2”

  1. I corrected Rayner and Dow to Barry and Christensen.
    I would have prefered to stick fat on Dow but needed the cash for Rayner.

    Thumbs up/down.


    1. Hey Carl,
      Christensen isn’t going to play a milestone game every week. I think his R1 score will be closer to his average than his R2 score. As an expensive rookie, cheap mid pricer, he won’t make the sort of cash a 120k rookie will. If you have all the F rookies you can handle then consider Rayner to Christensen, but it won’t make you a lot of cash by trading.


  2. I’ve reversed my Naughton to Murphy trade. Fortunately for you, dear Father, I will most likely not remember to follow up at the end of the season to figure out whhich was the right way to go.

    Thanks for another great article. 🙂


  3. So I’m thinking about trading out Giles-langdon and bringing in L.Ryan.
    If it wasn’t for the injury to Giles-Langdon I would be keeping him.


    TU: proceed with the trade
    TD: save the trade and hold tight on Langdon.


    1. How about the same problem but Waterman rather than Ryan (already have Ryan).

      Could get caught out R4 if Waterman is dropped for JJK my big worry. Is venables a better pick?


      1. I prefer Waterman but the JJK factor has to be considered. Venables will get a safer run at it and I’d probably pick him of the two.

        The first few trades of the season should be get the rookies right. A non money making rookie is a bad one (and why Father started a full playing 30 in Rd1).


  4. Great reading. I reckon most people will have the same cows..herd mentality at its finest. Key this year will be the upgrades and with the likelihood of lots of fallen prems…yes you Rocky !!! …there will be plenty of options. Also looks like at least some cows could be keepers or high value cover……cant see why they should be traded if they are pumping the pts, just cause they are close to be.


    1. Lambert to Taranto yes
      give Lobb some time, grundy taught him a lesson and he’s new to the full time ruck gig, he’ll figure it out


  5. If DFogarty is dropped this week as I suspect he will, is he worth a trade? I have Naughton and ZGL, neither of whom I am trading this week, so cash generation is important.


  6. One thing that stood out massively in your sermon today Father was your corrective trade list:

    “M Crouch, Dusty, Titch, OLIVER, Murphy, Sloane.”

    Corrective trades may be fraught with risk but they also offer a great opportunity to pick premiums with 2 rounds more information than everyone who chose pre-round 1. The fact that Oliver is listed there is a perfect example of an opportunity that you missed out on (one that also carried a higher risk).

    Everyone who is looking at corrective trades needs to look at the opportunity and the actual potential for gain! Do not simply look at safe historical options for your corrective trades (e.g. Heater, Simmo) but also consider the opportunities that may be presenting themselves (e.g. Hurn, Savage).


    1. Like the logic, but I think we need to be careful about what we define as ‘opportunities’, especially when you list examples such as Hurn and Savage.

      Hurn turns 31 later this year, and hasn’t averaged over 90 since 2012, so it’s extremely unlikely that he’ll improve on this. He has always thrown up a wide variety of scores, high and low.

      Savage has regularly struggled to play a full season out, only playing 20 games or more twice. Again, no evidence in his scoring history (he’s now 27) that he’ll be any more than an 85-90 scorer.

      The opportunities that should be considered are the ones that present genuine value, either (a) an up-and-comer (Marchbank, Sicily, etc.), or (b) a fallen premium (Shaw).


      1. Totally agree and I didn’t so much mean to suggest those were the best opportunities, but more that they were direct competition for the proven premos that people may not have looked at.

        Better examples of opportunities would be Fisher and Taranto in the forward line as they are cheap, young and have a lot of potential. I just didn’t have any premium stalwarts to compare those guys to.


        1. Fair enough. Although I’d also caution against the two options you’ve just mentioned, Fisher and Taranto. Both only 2nd-year players, so tough to see enough growth for their selections.

          Fisher only averaged 48 in his first year, and I can’t see his sustaining anything above 70-80 in the long-term. That might be enough to consider him a cash-cow … might.

          Taranto averaged 67 (before injury), and looks very promising, but at his price, he pretty much needs to be selected as a keeper, and I’m not convinced he can maintain a 90-95+ average.

          Solid, cheap options I’d be considering for the FWD line would be Curnow ($408k), McLean ($470k) or Devon Smith ($439k).


          1. I agree with the theory. Who you add in practice, I’m not gonna comment on. (Cause I don’t know)


  7. Coffield and m crouch out for l Ryan (west coast) and Oliver using Sicily as the dpp thumbs up/thumbs down


  8. I’m going to go down the Bonner route for Naughton. Done a lot of calculating and believe as long as he gets to 400k I think he’s worth it as I don’t see any reliable rookies in the back line coming any time soon. On the other hand I think Langdon, Higgins, Wigg and Constable will start making their way into our forward and midfield benches in the next 4-8 weeks. Switkowski


    1. As long as you’re aware of what’s required for him to reach $400k.

      All things being equal, Bonner would need to average 85 from now until his R10 BYE to reach $400k.

      Averaging 80 would see him fall short at around $380k-$385k.


      1. I think 80 would be about 400k (Liam Ryan is projected to reach 381k averaging 77). He doesn’t have to average 80 in any case, if he averages 75 and spikes with a good game he could reach 400. The consistency he has shown so far makes me think he’s very easily capable of that even if he averages 75.


  9. Some very sage advice here Father.

    I’m deliberating both Hibberd and Armitage as they’ve not delivered what I thought. If it was just Hibberd, I’d keep, but the chance to also fix Armitage is appealing.

    So thinking:

    Hibberd – HShaw
    Armitage – Cogs

    TU – good corrections, go forth
    TD – hold your trades, not worth it


  10. Thoughts on going Clark to Bonnar but moving Finlayson into the mids and then Giles-Langdon to Ryan? Will only have 10k left and would have Brayshaw, Kelly, Barry, Holman, Finlayson, Banfield, Garlett from M5-M11. Would most likely go Naughton to O’Connor next week just to get the kitty looking a little better. Anyway, that’s my dilemma, would really appreciate thoughts.


  11. Great article Father. We all need a reminder to trade for guaranteed more points or guaranteed cash generation but not chase points from a player on a hot streak.


  12. Dear father, Rocky the rookie is my pain.
    When You have Weitering 31, Rocky 17, j. Graham 36, Sandilands 42, J. Cameron 46…. in your 22 in field, (plus 7 Freo players ) in one week, you know you are in trouble , you are missing the cup and something drastic needs to be done.
    Rocky to Dusty/Titch is that panic buy? To keep or not to keep. His role has changed but for how long? is Port only resting him forward until fitness? I am willing to lose 2 trades on him (rather than a corrective rookie) and get him back later, is that lame? I want to stick to my guns but I am losing patience because he is going to lose me points and money. Looks like a Hanners to Bont unfortunately.. Sooo, Forgive me Father..

    TU Rocky to Titch
    TD Rocky to Dusty
    Comment Keep and why


  13. First-class work as always, Father.

    In the interest of clarity, you might just want to fix this typo: “So, if we roll three dice a lot, they will average more than when we roll four dice the same number of times. “


    1. Er, what’s the typo? I’m happy to edit for clarity, and typos, argh, too many of those, but I’m not sure what you are suggesting.


  14. Lambert lambert lambert… what do we do with u son so much temptation with curnow and Taranto creeping into calculation or even down to a rookie like Ryan as I only have ZGL & fritsch atm with lobb at F6 so I’m stacked up fwd & it’d give me a 450k kitty for dusty in 4-5 rounds time.


  15. I like the idea of cash generation by jumping on L .Ryan but the only thing that is close to a viable trade is with Garlett.
    Garlett looks to be a slow burn. L.Ryan isn’t going to ton up every week.Father is this your perfect example on when not to waste a trade?


  16. Corrective trade of Rayner to Kelly.

    Issues now are I have no DPP in the mids so if something goes horribly wrong it will be difficult to switch things around, and my only non-playing rookie is Spargo and he’s stuck in my fwd line (thus ruining my captain loophole for mids).

    Okay move?
    Yay or nay


    1. Kenny.

      Just get Kelly in.

      Higgins should be on the Bubble in a few weeks.

      You can downgrade your worst performing Mid rookie and reopen your Mid forward link.

      How Spargo forward affects your Mids as a captains loophole baffles me though?


  17. Don’t like trading out ‘prospective’ premos, especially POD’s, but Kane Lambert has turned very ‘prospective’ and I think I need TMitch in my side.

    TU: Lambert to Charlie Curnow, gives me the cash for MCrouch to TMitch
    TD: Save a trade and just go MCrouch to Oliver



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