The Salamander’s 2020 Season Post-Mortem

Written by The Salamander on February 5 2021

After the end of last season, I had been planning to sit down and write something like this, to try and piece together where it all went wrong. It was, after all, not a good year for The Salamander:

I had initially been hoping to go over the season round-by-round, giving the thumbs up or down to various trades and other decisions. Alas, having decided to put off writing this until the preseason, I found that I could no longer see what trades I made last year. So, instead, I’m focussing on my initial team from last year, as published in my team reveal. That’s probably more relevant at this time of year, anyway.

Starting with the backline:

Ugh. At least Docherty worked out well enough. I also have vague recollections of Houston starting to do well the moment I traded him out.

Like the backline, all these picks were fairly standard. Also like the backline, some of them didn’t work out as well as I would have liked, albeit not to the same degree.

I still like the thinking behind this kind of ruck setup. But I picked the wrong ruckman out of Grundy and Gawn, and Naismith’s injury history was perhaps not the wisest thing to bet my R2 on. I rather like Gawn + Preuss for 2021, however.

Finally, the forward line:

Well, at least some of them worked out. Petracca was great, and I’m pretty sure I hadn’t got around to trading out Brayshaw when he came good. That’s about all that went right, though. Jack Steven didn’t even get up for Round 1 – I can’t remember off the top of my head who I replaced him with.

I’m still not convinced that the whole “forward rookies bad” thinking that was behind that forward line is wrong, but I think if you’re going to do something like that, make sure that at least half of them are established premiums. Relying entirely on speculative picks is almost certain to backfire.

The biggest thing to take away here is that as badly as a lot of these selections went, they all seemed like great ideas at the time. Which has made me realize that no matter how much of a sure bet you think your selections are – even if they’re the most vanilla picks imaginable – at least a couple of them will end up going wrong (and the less vanilla they are, the more will probably go wrong…).

So, I’m swearing off all of that silliness this year. I’m no better than anyone else at predicting how most players will go in any given season. My real strength in SuperCoach is, and always has been, trading. If I can use that ability to try and get ahead of the pack, rather than catch up to it, then I’ll automatically have a much better season this year than I did last year.

So, in 2021, I’ll be starting a very boring team. It will be based on the general consensus best-picks for each position. Assuming he puts one out again this year, I’ll probably just use Father Dougal’s excellent last-minute team-picker; otherwise, I’ll just try and do the average of what everyone else seems to be doing.

And then Round 2 will come along, and it will be trading time. 😉


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3 thoughts on “The Salamander’s 2020 Season Post-Mortem”

  1. Thanks for the article Sal. Like you , I experimented with almost every combination last year. Great learning.
    In fact last year was not different to others. There just were more variables and we got sucked into perceived values because we had more trades. For every Brayshaw that worked out, we had many Naismith and Simpkin that ran out of puff.
    I also realised that with 3 rounds to go, I ended up with all 13 of the 13 (out of 20 ) premos I had preseason. That tells me that I should trust my gut and not rely on Marsh Series form.
    My 13 premos are locked, I will only budge on the rookies depending on who starts.
    People on this site are amazing and we nail most rookies pick every year..
    You have been doing your research for few months now, don’t throw it all away because you heard something.


  2. Presumably you started with 5 premos and 11 midpricers (under 500k) chasing perceived value and a higher score over the first few weeks. Interesting how that played out and impacted your trades. Thanks for sharing.


    1. I was actually looking to start what looked liked cheap potential keepers, due in part to a perceived lack of good rookies (at that point, we still only had 30 trades). Normally you would expect a few of those to go wrong; unfortunately, it was more than a few.



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