Cow Talk: R1 –>2

Written by Father Dougal on March 23 2022

Small or Far Away, Father Dougal on Cows


Hi Everybody!

Welcome to the first Cow Talk of the season! It’s great to be back and the C-TAP and I are all set to 

Confuse people who don’t know what the C-TAP is

Sigh, yes, fine. The C-TAP is the Cow Talk Advisory Panel. It is made of me, Father Dougal, my Imaginary Interlocutor

That’s me!

and my Hamster, To Mini Therion .666.


Anyways, once we have enough data for projections to matter I’ll start doing Cow price change projections for all the relevant cows other than the ones I forget. But, until we have data, around round 4-5, I don’t feel projections are a lot of use, so we just babble about whatever seems useful or interesting to babble about. 

So, what are we going to do tonight To Mini?

Same thing we always do, try and win Supercoach! 

How long have you two been waiting to say that?!?

Happy Squeak!

Well, actually we’re going to go full Far Side this week. 

I don’t know what that means, but that scares me!

It means we are going to talk about Cow Tools!

The first Cow tool we are going to talk about is the Clue-O-Meter. 

Is this the start of a series?

Yes, of somewhere between One and Many parts, now be quiet and let me get to it already!


The Clue-O-Meter is used to tell if we can in any way rely on just one week’s worth of data when deciding what and if to do something with a player. We have all been waiting so, so long for the season to start, and we all have and had theories and ideas about who was going to do what and why, and now things have actually happened on field, and so of course there is the temptation to Do Something based on our first week of data. 


But, after being able to chop and change our teams at will during the pre-season and the rolling lockout, trades are no longer unlimited, and we can’t just make moves like we were used to. I always find that transition difficult. I want to just FIX everything and I really can’t. 


And, the changes I want to make might be really silly. One data point could be horribly misleading. It might be meaningful or it might not. And that is where the Clue-O-Meter comes in. 

Which of those tools in the picture is the Clue-O-Meter?

The one closest to the cow. The lumpy one with the thingy sticking out. Which is what happens when it has detected a clue.

For those who have yet to go out to a local field and steal a Clue-O-Meter from their local cows, how do we use one virtually?

I am glad you asked!

You told me to ask.

I am still glad you asked!


A clue is a piece of data that has a lot of meaning. Often, one piece of data does not have a lot of meaning because there is already lots and lots of data about the same player and so we are not really learning much. 

For example, Luke Parker. He scored a massive 167 last round. Massive. But, will anyone be bringing him in on the basis of that 167? 

No, or I sure hope not!

Right, because we already have lots of data telling us who Luke Parker is. He has played 236 games and that 167 is his highest score ever.  His career high average is 111.9 back in 2016. And, funny enough, in round one of 2016 he scored a 161! After that he averaged 109.6 for the rest of the season. All that happened is he had his highest scoring game of the season in round one. 

What are the odds?

Assuming he plays 22 matches, 1 in 22.  Same as every other player who will play 22 matches. 

Are you sure?

Well, in theory yes, although I suspect in practice more than 1 in 22 players have their best score round 1. But, I have no data to prove that so I’m sticking to 1 in 22. 

So, if a player has a long history, one good game is just one good game and does not mean that guy is suddenly going to average much higher than ever before. 

Does it work the same way for a really bad score?

Yes, for players with a clear history. 

How about players with less history like Jack Steele?

Jack has enough history for us to not panic over a bad score. Over the last two years, where he averaged 122.5 and 126, has had six scores of 91 to 73. So, having one score of 87 does not really mean a lot. He scored an 87 in Round 6 of 2020. Helped drop his price but hardly a sign he was doomed or anything. 

Are we sure that Steele having a low score isn’t a sign of something bad? 

Well, we can’t be 100% sure. But we can add more context. Was he injured in the pre-season or coming back from an injury? If he was, a low score could be a sign he isn’t 100%. Which still might not be reason to get rid of him. 

Like Tom Mitchell! 

Right! He only scored 80 and he was known to be injured during the pre-season. And he was playing a bad team, who we might have expected him to do well against. 

So trade him?

I would not do that this week. He could be over it, or just have had a bad game. If he plays a full match and scores a 70 next week, then there is something to think about. He could very well score 110 and then there’s nothing there and he should be held. We do not yet have a clue, although the Clue-O-Meter is quivering. 


Times when just one score is super meaningful are usually when someone puts up a big score and that one big score is telling us something we did not already know. For example, Rowell. His round 2 score in 2020 was a huge clue. Scoring an 80 in his first game, nice, sort of expected. Scoring 171? Suddenly he is an 18 year old able to put up a 171. Most players can’t put up a 171 in their prime. Suddenly there is a new and very high ceiling. People who did not own him rushed to get him in, because that was an obvious good move. 

Then he got hurt. 

Yeah, but that was not related. Bad luck , it sucked, but not related. 

So, the next year he gets hurt so fast we have no idea how well he is. When he comes back, he’s not very good. Season average of 63.  This year he is priced at 63 but has a known ceiling of 171, but from before he was hurt. Depending on the damage to his body, he might have a much lower ceiling now. We don’t know. Then he scores 157 in Round 1 and now we DO know. We do not know what he will average, not at all likely 130 or more, but he could very easily go for 100. That’s more than enough to make him a great cow and he could surely go for even more and be an amazing M7-8. His owners can rest easy and his non-owners need to think seriously about becoming owners before his price goes up. 

All from one game?

Yup. Point the Clue-O-Meter towards Rowell and it gets fully.…


Yeah, it says “yes”  in its own special way. It is a Cow Tool after all. 

Who else! Who else makes it say “yes” in its own special way?

All the rookies who tonned up. Martin may never ton up again, but we know he can, and while he might score 30 next match, we still learned a lot about him. Same for Hayes and Rachele. Diacos too, although we suspected he might do that, still, now we have seen him score 98 and can put him on the field with some confidence. 

Can we put Martin and Hayes and Rachele on the field with confidence? 

Well, that depends on what you think of their background and chance of a repeat. Rachele scored 5 goals, so we can’t plan on that happening  regularly. But, he could score well enough to be ahead of someone like Dixon or Ralphsmith with confidence.  I would not fear fielding him. The others, well, they have not established 100 as their level, not at all, they have just shown they can score 100 or more. Up and down players are better at making money than consistent players with the same average though, so they sure merit watching. 

Should we bring them in from the one clue? 

I myself, who is not in fact good at Supercoach, would bring in Rachele, although I would much prefer to wait a week just to be safe. Depends on how many other changes I had to make. Hayes and Martin I would still prefer to wait on if at all possible. 

Who else sets the Clue-O-Meter off?

Lipinski did. If I had to replace an injured player this week I would bring him in. Again, a 133 is not likely his average but is a big clue that he can average 100 or more which for that price is a great M7-8. 

How about Danger! 

Given how the Cat’s demolished the Bombers, I’m not sure we can take that to be anything other than a very good score. If he goes for another 120 or more I would still worry about bringing him in based on that, because of his history.  He could be back to a higher level because he is free of injuries for the first time in several years, but he will be 32 in a month or so, which makes it hard to move based on that. I’d rather spend that cash on Petracca. 


In his case, we were wondering if he was going to go back up or past his 117.5 average from 2020 and that sort of start does imply he can. It might just be a very good score. It was a very good score from playing well against a good team, so at least some twitching on the Clue-O-Meter. 

Max Gawn often scores poorly in round 1 and then is great. He scored 93 in round one of both 2020 and 2021.  Not a clue, just part of a recent pattern. Which is probably just luck but could also be he needs a round to get himself back in form. Either way not a clue. 

In the other direction, I sure hope nobody falls for Travis Boak again. Last year he scored a 160 round one and finished with an average of 106.  He has started well each of the last three seasons and then ended up averaging far lower the rest of the season. That means players who brought him in got hosed harder because they got only what he scored after he came in. If you got him round two last year he averaged 103.6 for you. In the midfield, at a high cost per point .  

Lachie Neale is another person setting off the Clue-O-Meter. He was hurt last season, played badly most of it. Now is not hurt and played like he did in 2020. I’m not saying he will or won’t average 134 again, but I do feel we can say he is a good buy at $543,200 just from what we saw on the field and from his score. Clue-O-Meter went off. 


Most of the time, we really want to wait and make changes on round two because we have twice as much data. Back to back high or low scores means a lot more than just one high or low score. For established players, even two scores that are off might not be enough to make a change. I would not drop Steele after another bad score unless he turned out to have an injury of some kind, and maybe not even then. I would for very sure not bring in Travis Boak even if he scored another 149. 

Anyways, now that we all have Clue-O-Meters I can stop going player by player and go feed the hamster. 

After the Dodgy Advice! You are going to do Dodgy Advice again right?


Oh man…it is actually hard to come up with dodgy advice every week. Ok fine, I will stick to it as best I can. Be warned dodgy advice is, in fact, pretty dodgy and very much a take at your own risk, do not come crying to me about your ruined season type advice. 


Dodgy Advice:  There really do seem to be a number of very cheap possible Guns around this season. If I owned a premium I was not happy with, and a cow I was not happy with, I would seriously consider breaking the Six-Ath Rule of Cow-Quisition: “A cow and a premium are better than two mid-pricers with the same total cost.” by bringing in Rowell and Lipinski. 


Oh! And as it is the first Cow Talk of the year, here is the annual link that explains the “Small or far way”  thing

 Small or far Away – Father Dougal on Cows


Remember the Cow Talk guarantee: “All predictions wrong or triple your money back!”  (Offer not valid if money is actually involved.)

I am time zonally challenged.  When Cow Talk goes live, I’m probably asleep, so replies from me may take a while.

Thanks for reading!



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5 thoughts on “Cow Talk: R1 –>2”

  1. Great read FD.

    I’m keen on Lepinsky also but going to wait another week, for as you say, double the data.


  2. Thanks FD! Sage advice as always. I’m in fear of chasing points, so I tend to hold premos longer than I should (I.e Neale last year and Devon Smith a few years ago).

    This year, I am hoping to be more proactive. Will wait a week on Ward and Crisp, if they play poorly, Hewett and Lipinski will be on my squad!


  3. Loving the read here, not bad from a bloke whose “not very good at supercoach” lol. Hours of good pointers for 2022 ahead. Great work legend!



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