AFL SuperCoach – what gives in 2020?!

Written by Motts on January 20 2020

Who wants to win the $50,000??

I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time in this off-season to date, analysing 2019 and looking at different strategies for 2020 in an effort to try and win this bloody thing.  It’s fair to say and largely we agree, there is a certain element of ‘luck’ in winning the $50k.  So what say we try and minimise risks as far as is possible to give us every chance of doing that?  They do say you make your own luck after all!

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we had the @SCT suffix splattered all over the individual and League leader-boards come Rd23?  The last two years have been really exciting from that perspective.  From FD’s bolting from the traps and Nateo’s brilliant year in 2018, through Zac’s excellent two runs over the last two years, to being asked to offer up advice to a top-tenner over the last few weeks in this season gone.  I said nothing!  The point is, the more thoughts on strategy (approaches) we put out there to discuss, the better we should all be for it.  What seems right? What seems wrong?  How could it be improved?

I’ve recently thought about this a bit.  And to put some thoughts together I started by looking at my last season (down 67 places overall on 2018).  Consistent but not good enough.  So…

2019 – a topline Review

This’ll be quick.


Personally, I finished with 10 of the original Premos I picked.  ALL were excellent (but particularly Grawndy, Dunkley and Neale).  Whitfield was looking like the best pick of the lot until he got injured (twice) and I traded him the second time, whereas Steele was a pretty poor pick (and then he too got injured).


Nailed the starting rookie picks, only really missing out on Wilkie and Miers of the uber Rd1 ‘cash cows’


Served me very well.  Zac Williams became a Premo, Brodie Smith and Liberatore were both excellent.  Darcy Moore looked like he was on the cusp of breaking out (two tons in a row) before injury ruined his SC season.  Jordan Ridley was my only spud (or maybe Woosha was).  He became Lincoln McCarthy after Rd2 who served a purpose if a little underwhelming. He actually made $170k over the course of the year if you held him long enough.


Again, did pretty well early picking up Fyfe, Macrae, Marshall, Lloyd and Lycett (thanks Sal) with my first five upgrades.  Then Toby Greene, when everyone told me I was crazy 😉

Rockliff (yes TDA) was a horrible IN trade.  As was bringing in Zac CLARKE to cover Gawn’s week off injured.

Did still manage to have three trades left for Prelims & the GF though, so that was a vast improvement on 2018!


One very poor week cost me dearly.


Can’t be disappointed.  Finished #2070th and won 7 of 9 GFs. Grade: B- (good, but still made some basic errors).

Reckon if you haven’t already, it is worth doing your own Review.  It makes making the same mistake(s) far less likely going forward.

2020 Vision

Let’s face it, the conundrum seems pretty simple on the face of it.  The person who scores the MOST ON-FIELD POINTS over 23 Rounds of SuperCoach will win the $50k!

So how do we maximise on-field points AND do it from the start?

  1. Minimise off-field spend (your bench players)
  2. Maximise on-field PTS/$ (VALUE)
  3. Spend EVERY cent of your budget (at the start)

This all sounds pretty obvious but there are subtleties in the detail to consider that can have huge implications for your season-long OVERALL return.  To take each of these in turn:


Minimising off-field spend means exactly that.  Pick a base-priced loophole at $102 400 (ideally with DPP).  I’ll also be picking another cheap DPP (MID/FWD) at M11 who doesn’t necessarily start in Rd1, but may get a game down the track.  There are three KEY reasons for this:

  1. He will allow me to maximise my M8 points every week (loopholing) which is particularly valuable early when we can’t be sure who our best MID-rookies are (at least points-wise),
  2. Provides flexibility into the FWD line in case of early injuries or for trade options, and
  • Gives you a little more money (however minimal) to spend on on-field players.

I’ve noticed in AFLSuperCoach’s end of season Review for the last two years that their optimal side has played this tactic of taking an extra base-priced DPP loophole player.  The negative is of course ‘no cash generation’ should he never get a game, but I figure the positives outweigh the negative, since I am also only forgoing the crappiest (pre-judged) rookie I would have picked in his place.  After all that, if you then ensure that ALL your off-field (bench) players are priced at $123 900 or less (there are always enough), you will have spent a maximum $948k on your bench.  This leaves you a minimum $9 052 000 to spend on points-scorers.  A little more than DEADTeam League budgets!


Minimising on-field $/pts is a little more complicated than it sounds.  Mainly because we want a minimum 10 Uber Premos.  Ideally 12-13.  And of those, we will need an absolute minimum of three C/VC options from different clubs to ensure we can maximise that double-POINTS opportunity each and every week.  So, pick your three uber Premos.  Let’s just say Grundy, Gawn and Macrae for argument’s sake.  It is now that things start to become interesting.

2019’s magic number is 5430.19154994533 (give or take).  That means if ALL your on-field Premo players do what they did last year (ie deliver the same average), you will have to spend an average $5430.19 for every point your Premos score.  In basic terms, $9 052 000 would net you 1667pts (+ ~125+pts for VC/C option).  Not good.  Of course, your Team is not filled with Premos in Rd1 and your on-field rookies will help you to lower that $/pt ave. and thus improve your score.  Shrewd mid-price value picks will also assist but likely to a lesser extent.  The key is therefore to find the ‘sweet spot’. The Holy Grail.  The perfect Premo/MidPrice/Rookie ratio to start your season.  If we can answer that, then we can maximise the opportunity while minimising the risk.  As I said, they say you make your own luck for a reason!!

Let’s look at some hard numbers/facts from 2019 (2018 stats for this stuff were v similar and are in last year’s pre-season rants).

Fact 1.  On PREMOs.

Arguably, there will only ever be 27 players that are worth picking in Rd1 that we might classify as PREMOs: 7 DEFs, 10 MIDs, 3 RUCs and 7 FWDs.  Start missing the top players in each position by more than the above suggested volumes and you’ve got yourself a spud.

Fact 2. On MID-PRICERs.

There were 27 players priced above $230k and under $455k who made a min. $107 000 in 2019.  14 of them reached the promised land (+$150k) and 10 of those made $170k or more.

Fact 3. On ROOKIEs.

There were 17 rookies who started in Rd1 who made more than $150k.  11 of those made more than $200k.

Given that these trends/numbers are pretty standard (certainly over the two years that I’ve been analysing), our relative pool sizes from which to select our starting 30s are restricted to: 27, 27 and 17 respectively. But again, it is not that straightforward.  Get a PREMO pick wrong and you have a REAL problem.  Don’t pick the best ROOKIEs and you might struggle for cash generation.  The more you pick of each of these two categories, the more likely your chances to miss the good ones (basic maths).  Further, both these categories have one specific role.  Premos = Points (+ double-points Capt. options).  Rookies = Cash and while on-field points are a bonus early, this should be secondary in those initial thoughts on selection.

Mid-Pricers on the other hand CRUCIALLY fulfil two roles; BOTH on-field points AND cash generation.  They are also more abundant in terms of relative ‘pool size’ than the other two categories.  Hold on you say! But aren’t there 27 Premos and 27 MidPricers that I could pick?  That’s the same right?!  Nope!  In actual fact, five of those Mid-Pricers in 2019 became Premos!  This means that your choices for starting Premos was actually limited to just 22 (ie only 22 premo-priced players at seaon’s start in 2019 were premos at season’s end.  Again, this is common.  The MidPricer availability remains at 27, with the added bonus that they may become a keeper!  Who else started Dunkley and ZWIlliams?  Those who made it to full premo in 2019 were Dunkley, Marshall, Lycett(kind of?), Z Williams and Houli (based on ave’s by position and NOT total points).  Not only that, but if we look at the top 20 cash generators who played in Rd1, five of them were also MidPricers and only 15 were rookies (and of those 15, seven were premium-priced, >$130k).  So let’s revisit how big those potential pools are again?

Premo Pool:                             22

Mid-Pricer pool:                       27

Rookie (base-priced):                8

Rookie (premium-priced):         7

So how should we approach it?  If like me you’re picking two loophole options, then you have to pick 28 players.  The total available pool from the above is 64 players.  I want 28 players.  28/64 = 0.4375.  To minimise risk then, this suggests I should pick:

9.6 Premos

11.8 Mid-Pricers

3.5 base-priced rookies, and

3.1 premium-priced rookies

There are a couple of problems with this.  First, it is simply not affordable. And two, there is no way I am starting less than 10 premos.  We’d be mad to.  Let’s leave this for a minute and have a more detailed look at the last two years.

Last year’s draft was considered one of the best in years.  In contrast, in 2018 there were only 3 MID rookies who made more than $125k!  There were just 4 DEFs and actually 14 FWDs (6 of these were MID/FWD DPP) so this would have helped massively with flexibility but, options were very limited.  2020 is likely to be more similar to 2018 than last year.  What else concerns me is that a lot of people bang on about how important your MID rookies are.  BUT, the facts show that they are NOT always more abundant, and they don’t always make more money than other lines (as detailed above for 2018), but also:

2019 Rookie money-makers who played in Rd1 (ie were starting options)

So even in a decent rookie year, our numbers were limited for Rd1 and especially in the MIDs for the second year running!  Further, if you went the traditional ‘guns and rookies’ approach, you had to pick 5 from a pool of just 7 decent DEF rookies, 5 from 8 FWDs and 6/6 MIDs, leaving very little or 0 margin for error.  This is extremely high risk, given that picking the wrong ones meant making early corrective trades or hanging on to spuds.  We must SPREAD THE RISK.

We actually had the choice of 20 mid-pricers (in Rd1), 19 of whom made more than $125k and 8 of those made more than $170k.  These are simply gift-horses that you can’t ignore.  It was a similar story in 2018 (which I wrote about last year and you can find somewhere in the annals of SCT history).  The point is, they are there.  Always.

They allow you to spread your risk AND

They will give you more points afield, AND

They will make you cash AND

Upgrades will cost you less trades!!

I BELIEVE THE MIDPRICER PICKS ARE UNDERVALUED by SuperCoaches and I will be picking more than last year in 2020!

And this brings me on nicely to the last point.


Spend every single cent of your $10mn. budget for your starting 30.  Don’t compromise on your picks just to spend it all though.  If you have some left over, so be it.  There are two reasons for this.  First, the magic number is at the highest point it will ever be for the forthcoming season.  Every $ spent (wisely) will contribute to maximising your on-field points.  It is also prudent given that the market is static until after Rd2 (no price changes).  That’s nearly 10% of the season gone, so MAXIMISE those POINTS from the start!

And this is what cements the Mid-Pricer picks for me.  Getting one wrong is an error that is affordable.  Even two errors are ok, which minimises the risk even more.  Let me explain.  At the end of Rd2 you can assess the following:

What MidPricer picks (if any) did I get wrong?

What Rookie picks (if any) did I get wrong?

Like last year, I will likely trade my worst MidPrice pick (Ridley) for either a better-looking one, or a lovely-looking Rookie I’ve missed.  It is likely that there will be options available because I have minimised my starting numbers (relative to each pool size) so I should have decent numbers to choose from (basic maths).  Critically, those two DPP loophole rookies will provide the added flexibility to do this, if it’s not straightforward (ie IN/OUT in the same position).  If I have to make two trades then that’s ok too.  Because what I will also be doing is building a bank that I can then hold through the next two/three rounds (when it’s real value will increase >6% as the magic number drops).  This is the BEST TIME to build your bank bar none.  Over the next few weeks, Premo prices drop by more than 6% as the magic number drops at its most significant rate for the entire season.  Underperforming premos will fall even more sharply.

I should then be certain of maximising cash generation, have a minimal ave. $/pt on-field (= high weekly score), a bit of cash in the bank earning interest and a team I’ll be happy with for a while, barring injuries.  The other positive I noticed in 2019 from starting five Mid-Pricers was not just the points, but also that it would never take more than two trades (1up, 1down) to get Premos in, as their base price was significant to start with.  My only regret is that I didn’t start more and wasn’t more aggressive with trades early.  I won’t be making the same mistakes in 2020!


Happy to hear everyone’s thoughts on this and discuss it at length in the comments.  Good luck to all in 2020.


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58 thoughts on “AFL SuperCoach – what gives in 2020?!”

  1. Great read AS a very insightful indeed and going to give alot of the community some food for thought if people were against any midprice options.

    I am most definately looking at starting a few midpricers this year at this point in time before any JLTs been played I am starting JSteven, DHouston, SDocherty, SHill & Roberton/Doedee I think all most definately present value. One player I am staying right away from unless he has a pure midfield role is devon smith I just have this gut feeling that i cannot ignore that he is a trap I’m not sure his midfield minutes are there in 2020 like 2018.

    Last year I started Libba, dunkley, williams, moore and brodie smith and they were all fantastic servants unfortunately my flop was Brayshaw who never fired! But I feel like it was a great way too go and will be going similar in 2020.
    Like you mentioned AS if any of your midpricers fail to fire by Rd3 you can either:
    A) trade them sideways to another midpricer whose going nuts or
    B) downgrade them to a rookie you’ve missed and bank that $$ for another trade

    I’d absolutely love to know the structure the 2019 supercoach winner started the season with and some of his players.


    1. On ya Mav. I recall he started Zilliams, Brodie Smith and Darcy Moore. But he also started Boak after seeing him play pure MID in JLT. That was painful to watch as I ignored the advice given on here and Twitter, preferring to look at his past stats instead and deciding against him.


  2. Hey all saints, so what’s your thoughts on bewley, Townsend, butler, lukosis and those types? Do they match your mid price range or too cheap?


    1. I don’t have specific thoughts on ANY of those at the moment. It’ll depend purely on their roles in JLT/Marsh series.

      The article is more about the approach rather than details. In summary, I’ll likely only be starting 10 premos, two loopholes, all the rookies that look like making at least $200k and the rest will be midpricers (and more rookies if I can’t afford all the ones I want).


  3. Great read Allsaints!

    Loved the part about MID rookies infact not being as good as everyone makes them out to be!

    Houston, Docherty, Steven all locked in my team for now with a close eye on Dev Smith too.

    But for me the structure obviously all depends on rookie availability. For me the most important aspect to picking your team as the difference between a good and bad rookie like you mention can be crucial!


    1. Totally. If they don’t look like making a min. $170k (ideally $200k) you probably don’t want them. There should be close to enough.
      Picking a couple less premos means you can go deeper with midpricers to make up the numbers where necessary, then leaving most/all crap scoring rookies on your pine.


  4. Brilliant AS, but what more could we expect. I’ll be going over my team several times as most of us will after your contribution.
    I particularly like the dual loop from r1, assuming most will have the Grawn/north loop. Most of us will have loops later in the year as trades become precious, and we have non scoring players on the bench. I’m going with two North players for the dual loop purpose. It effectively means 23 choices for points in the early rounds in particular. The potential extra points will almost certainly outweigh the lack of cash generation via the lowest ranked rookie.
    Two days to go.


  5. Great write up and analysis as always All Saints . Happy new year to all members on Supercoach talk site and looking forward to another Supercoach season


  6. Great write up AS.

    I’ve come to realise that generally playing it safe and conservatively is the best way to come out on top. I started with no Libba, Moore, Steele etc and finished 123rd. Early points are not that critical. Having a full Premo side at round 14 netted me far more points than Moore would’ve in my forwardline over say Parker, 25ppg more over 7 rounds. That’s only 2 weeks of Premo scoring over a rookie. This year I will not be starting with any risky players and expect similar dividends to 2019 to be achieved .

    Another point is that we must nail early season rookie starters, that is crucial, and attempt to snare a Dunkley right before they pop off. I managed to do this with Dunkley in 2019 and Grundy in 2018 and it benefited immensely.

    Hoping to see 20 @SCT members in the top 100 this year, you among them AS.



    1. I’m with you TR. the whole point of the piece was to provoke conversation and sharing of ideas. It appears to be working!

      I think there may also be a problem with the semantics. I probably should’ve defined them as ‘underpriced’, rather than ‘mid-priced’. The reasons that players tend to be underpriced can vary dramatically. For instance, while Doc (2 x ACL) and Titch (badly broken leg) are coming off serious physical injuries, Stuv (mental health and other crap that goes with that) and Houston (new role) are not. There is a huge difference there. There are others who also look like having new roles, whether that emerged late last year (eg Ahern and Lipinski), or they have a new coach, or they’re at a new club in 2020, can all be positive/negative factors from an SC perspective. The key is to spot them.
      If you look at the list of those 27 ‘underpriced’ players from last year, in retrospect, none of them are particularly surprising.
      The other point that is more important for me, is the general numbers available in each category pool. We always seem to worry that there won’t be enough DECENT rookies come Rd1, but there invariably are. What entices me most to considering ‘underpriced’ players is that a couple will likely end up keepers and five of them will end up top money-makers.
      Of course, we won’t be able to make well-informed decisions until AFTER the Marsh Series, but I am certain that identifying 5/6 at the cost of an ill-judged premo and a crappy rookie would make more sense. Statistically and for overall points and rank.
      Like I say, it’s too early to tell and if they’re not there so be it, but if they are it’s actually LESS risky and MORE beneficial.


  7. Think the mid-price gambles must come from the defenders and forwards.

    Of the top scorers for season 2019 fourteen (14) defenders averaged more than 90 with a high of 108 and only four averaging 100+. Comparing to the midfield 30 players averaged 100+ with a high of 123 and eleven (11) averaging 108+.

    The forwards there was only eight (8) players who averaged 90+ with three reaching the ton.

    Surely the odds must be stacked and gambling on scoring a winning outcome towards a mid-priced defender/forward increasing say from 75/85 to 95 in season 2020 and pumping additional funds to premium midfielders round 1..


    1. I hear ya 1DER
      Whilst not focusing exclusively on DEFs and FWDs, that is where 99% of my analysis will focus when it comes to picking any prior to Rd1.


  8. Hmmmm AS, thanks for the write-up / thoughts.

    I think, as with everything in this caper, there is a lot of luck involved and also, it is very dependent on the roles the players have (rookies and middies) and how long they hold onto those roles (again, luck factor as much as anything) …

    For me, dependent on the emergence of quality rookies that show up AND perform (ie keeping a good role that allows scoring) … the answer remains … in the middle. That is, I think 2-3 quality middle priced players is the answer …

    Certainly 5 is too much a stretch … 4 maybe … depending on rookies again.

    Remember, many of those mid pricers are returning after significant injuries .. by default, they must have a significant amount of risk attached … just look at JOM … never really stepped up / reached his heights … and there are others … Doc – must be a very big risk after his problems …

    But its great food for thought!


    1. Cheers mate. I hear ya. My additional thoughts are two up in response to TrooRoo.
      A better steer on the comparative ‘pool’ sizes after the Marsh series will very much dictate how I eventually go.
      It’s good to be back 😉


      1. for sure mate – the analysis is about to begin … i’ve held off thus far, been roped into this BBL caper for the first time this year … and last! Not for me … hope not having an “off season” isnt too jading on me!! hahaha


  9. Also, AS, on the topic of loopholes you’re going to be grabbing two? One ruck and another MID/DPP?

    I’ve been on the look-out for a R3 who’s actually gonna get some games, might be able to cover during a bye and apparently Lloyd Meek (FREO) might get a run this year.

    Thinking of then grabbing just a MID loophole? Or is that slot too valuable?


    1. Agreed.

      Loopholes at the mo’ are:
      O’CONNOR (SYD), $102 300, DEF/FWD at D8 or F8 and
      BUDARICK (GCS), $106 900, MID/FWD at M11

      Thinking CAMERON or DRAPER at R3. Probably Cameron if named Rd1. Am thinking Draper will likely come into play later as I hear he’s behind on pre-season, but rated. Hope so, as he could be the perfect downgrade.

      That’s current thinking but we’ll see what eventuates.


        1. If I’m not convinced by the last cow I’m looking at. Probably. If I’m not convinced AND it affords me a few $$s to get someone I really like somewhere else, definitely. We’ll see how it all pans out. But I think the extra points from loopholing and the added flexibility it will give your side for that purpose, for injuries and trades, will more than compensate.


  10. Quality write-up! Of the 27 mid pricers I’d be interested to know who they were and perhaps even disect each one to see how predictable it was pre season….
    From the 5 the became premiums I’d say that;
    Williams: Obvious. Already a premium (or close to it) returning from injury so underpriced.
    Dunkley: Fairly obvious, but not without risk as was no guarantee to be a permanent mid.
    Houli: Very unpredictable going off age and scoring history. Very few (if any) would have foreseen this one.
    Lycett & Marshall (and throw in rookie priced O’Brien) These are guys who became number one ruckmen for their clubs. So if you can predict that, it would seem like a really good mid priced breakout option. Any ruckman at clubs that could be overtaken by someone younger? Bombers maybe?


    1. You can find last year’s piece on the same subject here:

      That contains a fair bit of detail on what to look for for breakout candidates and underpriced players. The common themes to look for in ‘underpriced’ players are:
      – Missed the entire previous season, or played 7 or less games, so received a price discount (anything from 10-30%)
      – Had injury-effected scores last year (more than one is good)
      – Had averaged significantly higher earlier in their career, so seem genuinely under-priced
      – Not far off genuine breakout, or first big leap in SC average
      – Significant SC-friendly role change
      – Changed clubs in the off-season, or
      – New coach at existing club
      If they meet three or more of the above criteria, you are likely onto something tasty!

      Here are the ones who made more than $130k, who played in Rd1 last year:

      Player Club Pos’n Peak $+
       S Lycett* PTA RUC/FWD $228,800
       J Dunkley* WBD MID/FWD $208,000
       J Dawson SYD MID/FWD $195,500
       Liberatore WBD MID $193,400
       J Worpel HAW MID/FWD $181,300
       Macpherson GCS FWD $175,400
       K Amon* PTA MID $173,500
       L McCarthy BRL FWD $170,100
       D Moore COL DEF/FWD $159,800
       J Battle STK FWD $159,100
       Z Williams GWS DEF $157,700
       E Hughes FRE DEF $146,700
       B Smith ADE DEF $142,600
       J Cousins HAW MID $137,800
       D B-Jones PTA DEF $135,400
       N Newman CAR DEF $133,700
       A Miles GCS MID $130,200
      * these players’ lowest price was NOT in Rd 1

      The remainder who did NOT play in Rd1 were:
      Player Club Pos’n Peak $+
      R Marshall STK FWD $287,700
       T Greene GWS FWD $204,400
       B Houli RIC DEF $164,600
       H Clark STK DEF $146,200
       C Zurhaar NTH FWD $137,700

      I’m NOT gonna go through them all here as SC is now open and it’s easy to look up, if you just rank players by number of games played, but if i was looking at DEFs, the start of my list for 2020 might look something like this. I’ve put what I think their min. ave will be in (brackets) at the end:

      Docherty: risky coming off two ACL’s but priced at an ave. 87.2 (95+)
      Doedee: ACL last year, but young, fit & firing. Priced at 54.7 (75+)
      Roberton: heart issues (high risk). Priced at 52.1 (75+)
      Ahern: 7 games. role change to off HB late last year. Priced at 67.6 (76+)
      Quaynor: only 4 games. Priced at 52.3 (70+)
      Birchall: 3 games BRL medical staff. Priced at 58.5 (77+)
      Noble (COL): 3 games. Priced at 43.1 (57+)
      S Hill (DEF/FWD): 3 games. Injury-plagued. Priced at 38.1 (70+)
      … and on it goes

      Good luck!


      1. I’ve tried the new layout and it is truly awful!! Quick, everyone needs to complain to them!!

        Playing the BBL league and you lose a decent view in game day layout … limited to a very minimal screen in bottom right and half screen taken up by a fixed view of all your leagues!!

        Its awful, everyone needs to write into them quickly on the contact us option …


  11. Great read AS! Definitely a lot of food for thought there. I’ve always been a sucker for a mid-pricer and after reading this it seems my run with starting mid-pricers will continue.

    Do you happen to have a list of the players that fit into the pools below?

    Premo Pool: 22

    Mid-Pricer pool: 27

    Rookie (base-priced): 8

    Rookie (premium-priced): 7

    Would be great to research each of them individually to see what characteristics to look out for this year when evaluating different players.


  12. Great stuff AS, incredible food for thought.

    My only concern is that the percentages of identifying good midpricers seems a lot lower. As in there’s truckloads of players in the midprice brackets, but only a few in the premium price bracket. If I choose a premium priced Defender chances are that 6/10 or so will be premiums again.

    Now if I choose a mid priced defender, only like 5 of the 20+ are going to improve in value/scoring enough. That seems like bad odds to me.


    1. I hear ya Duffer. No doubt you are right. But of the top6 last year, on average 2.4 won’t make it! Which two or three are they?!? Of the hundreds of midpriced DEFs, only about 20 are ‘underpriced’ for any number of reasons outlined above. You can strike a line thru 80-90% of them today!
      After the JLT/Marsh, we should be able to confidently pick two or three who will make money AND points. Get a Premo wrong, you have a problem. Get an underpriced one wrong and the problem is nowhere near as bad.
      Even more so in the FWDs where only Walters and Heeney from last year’s top 6-8 remain eligible! Whitfield didn’t score as many points as either of them. Nor did Dusty!

      I’d rather take 2 and 1 or 2 Premo (DEF/FWD) respectively and make informed choices on a few underpriced players who I think MAY become keepers, but will make a min. $100k (ideally more), score vastly more than a rookie each week onfield and give you valuable time to assess who you want to U/G to for the remainder of the season.
      The last point I’ll make about underpriced players as I found last year was that trading one of them and a fat cow out afforded ANY premo you wanted with your downgrade and most of the time left you with more cash in the bank too. I finished the year with over $200k ITB. Couldn’t spend it all. Bad planning on my part. The point is, missing out on (lesser) cows should NOT be a concern!
      Good luck for now mate.


  13. I have already had a season where I tried a loophole player in a different position (than r3) to try to maximize onfield scores.

    It was back when the Essendon players were suspended, and I had 3 d/f players so I picked a d/f loophole player also to try to loophole some extra points. I recall I had Tippa & Mitch Brown (both Ess) rookie priced, but I can’t recall who the third was. Can’t remember if they were premium or rookie and it could have even been another Essendon player. I chose a Freo player as the loophole.

    For me, I didn’t see it as an advantage as I was severely limited with the opportunities I had to switch them around, mainly because too many of them from same club. The example AS gives, he may not have this problem, especially if he picks a loophole player with late games.

    I also found using the captain loophole more difficult (than the normal r3) because you were relying on 6 players not missing games to avoid donut. AS won’t have this problem as he also plans on a r3 loophole.

    I don’t see cash generation as a huge problem. Put it this way, some people chose Parker last year, some were out off by poor JLT games (myself). Do you really think not having him really hurt us that much? It’s debatable whether the ~150k profit is that much better than the 15k-20k you can save on your initial team.

    But the main problem I see is the bye rounds. How much is one less warm body going to hurt during the byes? There were some rounds where we were down to 18 or less, 1 less player there potentially will cost you 50+ points. Question is, can you make this up with the extra loophole advantage?

    If you do go this way i fancy a 102k D/F than the 106k M/F, provided Stephen Hill is fit. With Freo playing many late games, I think you could take advantage of that by putting the E on a DEF & FWD from earlier games and swapping Hill to take out the worse score. Rankin is the perfect player to stick the E on as I reckon he will be a roller coaster this year. He will have some big games (because he is quality) but playing as a small forward in the bottom team, he will have some stinkers.

    Sorry bout essay, good luck all!


    1. At this stage I’m planning on having a playing R3. Hoping Darcy CAMERON gets a gig in place of the yank who was putrid last year. The other one is Sam DRAPER, but he may now be third in line at ESS. We’ll see.
      I’m looking at TWO loopholes regardless. They’ll be from GCS, FRE, NTH or SYD. But NOT from the same club, nor the same bye and not will they play each other twice. Still lots of options. Depending on the weekly fixture, any two of these clubs afford you decent C loophole options AND decent onfield pts options each week. Particularly good if they’re DPP, but base-price will be more important if it’ll afford me a better starting pick. I’ll pick one that definitely won’t play all year and one that MAY get a gig down the track.
      I’m looking forward to being able to take that out of nowhere 80+ from a crap rookie who’s sitting on your pine in the early rounds. Seems to happen a couple of times every year and there’s nothing you can do about it.
      If there’s an abundance of decent looking rookies of course I’ll revert to type, but I can’t see it happening. Particularly this year. We’ll see.


        1. Could also be they play the same time each week. So, once ones locked in, the other is also. If they play an early game one week that means they’re locked on early, which will limit your captain loophole options (and emergency)


  14. My general approach to loopholes is to start as many playing rookies as possible and not choose a dedicated loophole at the start of the season as 1 or two of these will end up turning into loopholes anyway.


  15. Brilliant job! I’ve never thought of doing a review of my own team before! My question is though, a loophole in the midfield sounds good to maximise points but do you do it at the sake of a potential cash cow?


    1. Thanks mate. I reckon if there are only five good MID ones, you’ve little to lose. Especially if he’s got excellent loophole capabilities and DPP which BUDARICK has. We’ll see how many there are before Rd1 before I commit, but if I don’t think one’ll make me min.$150k, I’ll likely try the loophole this year.


      1. I’m leaning your way AS especially with two juicy Nth players available for looping…Comden and dpp Mahony (m/f). There are minimum 19 loop games for Comden if you have Grawn, and at least 11 with Mahony, more depending on which m/f rookies are started in your team. If there is a rookie on the bubble not in your team that just can’t be ignored, Mahony could make way.
        This issue is going to get a lot of my pre-season focus…makes getting both a d/f and another f/m rookiea target to add even more flexibility……I’m getting the abacus out early this year.


  16. Lovely piece AS, although I now feel guilty at my overly simplistic approach of selecting my team using my gut instinct and zero research.


  17. Thanks AS.
    I have gone pure guns and rooks for the last few seasons. I have had poor rookie scores early often, and this is compounded when i get a premo wrong to begin with – Darling last year just hurt.

    The way you have explained midpriced or underpriced picks not being as much of a risk due to being able to trade early to a rookie missed or another undervalued pick.
    The undervalue guys seems a little more obvious this season, and you can tell by the ownership %’s so far. Doc, doedee, roberton, smith, steven, hill.

    Totally on the lookout for value this preseason, i don’t mind if they are midfield, i have 4 mids i can’t see myself not starting and gawn and grundy are locked. Mids i most likely will definetly start are danger, dunks, cripps, neale.

    Good read, appreciate it


  18. Anyone have thoughts on Cotchin at 429k, and Gibbs at 375k

    if they make over a 130k each and we trade out thats their purpose right?


    1. Thanks CJ and I think you’re right. There are some very obvious ones.

      In order, I have:
      Locked in.
      Picked my four/five über MIDs.
      Made loOong lists of ‘underpriced’ DEFs and FWDs
      Ranked my premo DEF and FWD picks.

      All of the above can be tweaked as news (good or bad) comes in. eg Tom STEWART is struggling with a groin injury and will be underdone for Rd1 = won’t start him now.
      Now it’s simply a waiting game for which rookies emerge through the Marsh series and make a list. Wait for Rd1 teams and debuts to be announced. Then,

      I will ONLY pick the rookies who look like they will make $200k, regardless of position. Determine the best line for loophole and pick the cheapest decent one.
      Pick ALL the ‘underpriced’ players that I think will make a min. $140k OR could legitimately become a keeper, eg Doch.
      THEN pick the Premo DEFs and FWDs I like most until the money runs out.
      Tweak until I have my best 30.

      Sounds simple right?! 😉


      1. PS not convinced on Cotchin or Gibbs. Both would have to become keepers to start them given their prices, and personally don’t think either will.


  19. Great post!

    Extra glad this is up, as what you wrote here feeds into some things I am working on, especially the follow up to Keepers and Bargains. I feel like this supports that concept. I’m gonna have to link back here when that goes up! (Not right away, but before too, too long. I have a lot of things on my plate at the moment.) Anyways, I love reading posts where the conclusions are backed up with numbers and logic, so keep it up!


  20. Great read AS, and as intended, the comments are always informative.
    AS is Paddy Ryder a viable DPP with Cameron or will he hinder Marshall’s output?
    Wighty is McGrath a genuine breakout if placed in the engine room?


    1. I won’t be going near Ryder in 2020. Feel his scoring will be heavily reliant on goal kicking. I feel the Saints will improve a fair bit in 2020, but from an SC perspective we’re not that relevant. Too many players in the 70-90s bracket with no real standouts, apart from Marshall, but his bye and other RUC options make him nigh on impossible to pick.
      If Jack STEELE gets the freed up role he craves and has been suggested by Ratts, I think we may have gone a year early. Will be watching him VERY closely.



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