The State of the 2020 Season

Written by The Salamander on March 17 2020

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what has and has not been announced by the AFL regarding the 2020 season. This post seeks to clarify that, and will be updated as the situation unfolds.


What has been announced?

The season has been shortened to 17 rounds, with all teams to play each other once. The first four rounds of the fixture remain unchanged, with a revised fixture for the remaining 13 rounds to be announced at a later date.

Does this mean there won’t be any bye rounds?

Quite possibly. This has not been officially confirmed as yet, however.

UPDATE: News Ltd. publications are reporting that there will be no byes, but again, the AFL has not officially confirmed this. It’s probably a pretty safe assumption, though.

Has the start of the season been postponed?

As of the time of writing, no. As had been announced previously, games are to go ahead, but in empty stadia (so it will basically be like playing at Metricon).

UPDATE: A decision on whether or not round 1 goes ahead as planned is expected on Wednesday.

UPDATE: Nope. It’s on.

What else is being considered?

The AFL is considering the following options:

• Going ahead as previously planned, until circumstances force them not to.

• Postponing the start of the season.

• Starting the season this week, and taking a blitzkrieg approach to try and cram as many rounds into as short a timeframe as possible, so that if the league does have to shut down for a while at some point, it won’t put them too far behind schedule. This would involve teams playing multiple games per week, which will almost certainly see top-up players introduced for each club, and possibly shorter games.

• Taking a similar blitzkrieg-style of approach later in the season.

Is there any chance the season will be cancelled?

Not at the moment. Quite simply, the AFL can’t afford for it not to go ahead. If the season didn’t happen, they wouldn’t get any money from their broadcast deal, which would mean, among other things, that players wouldn’t get paid. You can bet your bottom dollar that all affected parties will move heaven and earth to make sure we get an AFL season in some shape or form.

And, even if it did end up being cancelled, it wouldn’t happen the way people have been predicting, with Gil calling a press conference and saying “Yeah, it’s off. See you next year.” That just wouldn’t happen. If, hypothetically, the season were to be cancelled, it would play out like this: first, the league would be suspended indefinitely. Then, some time in the back half of the year, when it became clear that there was no viable way of having any kind of meaningful season, the AFL would quietly put out a press release acknowledging as much, and say “see you in 2021.”

But, due to the financial considerations I outlined above, I think that is very, very unlikely. Certainly, they’ll do everything humanly possible to avoid it.

What does all this mean for the AFLW?

That should become clearer later in the day. Unlike the men’s competition, the AFLW is much closer to the end of its season than it is to the start, so the focus there is likely to be on getting through to the Grand Final without a shutdown, rather than postponing anything.

The home and away season has been cut short, with an eight-team finals series to begin this weekend. This probably also means that the AFLW Fantasy season is over, though I will check with my collaborators to see if there’s any way to get a secondary competition going for the finals.

ShePlays is hosting a new AFLW Fantasy competition for the finals.

Is SuperCoach still going ahead?


Are the SuperCoach rules still the same? Do we still get 30 trades etc.?

Nothing to the contrary has been announced, so, for the time being, you should assume that this is the case. We’ll let you know if anything changes.

UPDATE: No changes have been announced, but the Herald Sun says that some things, such as the number of trades, or the number of games played before price changes take effect, might change. The formula by which price changes are calculated will not be changed.

UPDATE: Price changes will now take effect after a player has played two matches, rather than the usual three.

How does all of this affect our SuperCoach planning, strategy, and tactics?

You could write a whole post (maybe even a whole series) on that, but some of the most obvious things that come to mind are:

• With only 17 rounds in which to fatten up cows and turn them into premiums, is aiming for full-premium still a viable strategy? Or could be better off trying to instead get to full-keeper as quickly as humanly possible? Or even something else entirely?

• If they take the blitzkrieg scheduling route, players will likely end up being rested more than they otherwise might. This would likely see top-up players getting regular games. So, although they’re not going to alleviate our cow shortage at the start of the season, they might provide us with some good downgrade targets during the year. The flip side of this, though, is that you’ll need to plan for your gun players being rested.

• If round 1 is delayed, then player availability for the actual start of the season will be different. Tom Doedee will likely be available, for example.

• If games end up being shortened, will it result in a change of playing style? If so, how will that affect the distribution of points?

• If a lot of top-up players end up coming into the system, that will have a big deflationary effect on SuperCoach prices.


Finally, all of us here at SCT HQ are being optimistic, and getting on with business as usual, until the AFL gives us a reason not to. We strongly recommend you all do the same.


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49 thoughts on “The State of the 2020 Season”

  1. I’m not sure about gun players being rested. With so much uncertainty, surely if your best players are available, you play them, because who knows what happens in the future? If you drop a couple of games, there’s less chance to steady the ship.

    A bit like winning the toss and kicking with the wind. You always take the advantage because you never know what will happen later.


  2. For what its worth, I reckon the AFL has signalled that it intends to have a season almost regardless. For SC I would think head to head will start R1 with a 13 week season plus finals, but no byes. As we all start equal, league fixtures will be random.
    Strategically, getting to full premos becomes the key, so those mid price bargains might go for (hopefully) more rookies, and another premo or two. I’ll also be looking at one emergency loop on each line as I think that will give best flexibility and results. Problem is we dont know the draw after the first four rounds !!
    I think 30 trades will stay, and probably a maximum of three per week.
    Any other thoughts ??


  3. Does having 17 rounds now mean we have to change up the structure of our sides? Going to be very difficult to go full premo…. do we look towards starting more of those ”fallen premos” or mid prices, such as;
    Devon smith, Jack Steven, Dylan Roberton ect?

    Currently only have Devon Smith in my side, but now there are 6 less rounds, im starting to try and convince myself that I should be starting all 3 plus maybe more, in the hope that they all turn out to be premium keepers….
    as we may run out of time to hit a full premo team. Or is that just false hope?

    Main concern here is; does the reduce in fixture mean we have to significantly change the STRUCTURE of our teams? Or am I over thinking things?

    Thoughts would be really appreicated!


    1. It depends if the scoring remains relative (ie: 3300 points over 64 minutes + time on, instead of 80 minutes).

      By cutting 4 minutes from each quarter, the game is essentially only three quarters long, which might make players who rely on volume less appealing. Titch for possessions, Dev Smith for tackles, Lynch for goals, Gawn for HTA.

      Hard to know until we get confirmation on the rules.


      1. In the AFLW, where the games are just over half the length of a men’s match, and there are 21 players a side instead of 22 (with 16 being on-field), CD still hands out 3300 points per game, so I can’t see them changing that for this, either.


  4. I suspect the season will end up being reduced to an 18 team knockout/final series with perhaps seeding used to determine the draw. No crowds would allow short notice fixturing.
    The format would mean players eliminated when their team is knocked out and some very different SC rules.


  5. May recommend going for more mid price players since there will be less time to maximise upgrades


  6. Could this mean less injuries?
    How will that affect our Dead Team?
    AS, still waiting for your thoughts (refer Dead Team).
    ….how about a poll on wadda we reckon about team selections in general if only 17 games??

    ….SCT leaders, our brilliance as SCT associates could be being scrutinised as we speak…er…um write…..


    1. Quicker cash flow? The whole point we are turning to these high end rookies is because we aren’t confident the basement ones will produce enough cash flow


  7. Less trades, extra rookie on each line.

    My guess is between 22-24 trades with a list of 33-34

    There is less rounds played, with less turnaround between games, so it’s the purest outcome.


  8. Can envisage game day lists being extended from 22 to say 24 even as high as 26 to accommodate the possibility of teams playing 3 games over a 14 day period.

    Deflation should be around the same mark as previous should they run with extended bench numbers due to the fact that rookies and top up players will spend less time on the ground. The gun players will still be on the ground for 80%+.

    3300 points per game = average 75 points per player.
    24 man squad = 68.75 points per player.
    26 man squad = 63.46 points per player.


    1. Don’t these guys play 90% anyway?

      I wouldn’t run any expensive rucks if they’re playing more than 22. Even if Grundy’s tog is slightly down, he’s not worth 700k


  9. Defenders like Michael Hurley and James Sicily are now definitely to be strongly considered with the possibility of quarters being reduced from 20 minutes.

    These type of defenders will spend 90% time on ground.


  10. If there’s no footy from a legal point of view I have no idea how it will play out.

    I think the players saying they want a 22 round season is because they don’t want to take a pay cut.

    In a way, they’ve signed a contract, unless if there is something written that says ‘in the event of a pandemic this contract is void’ then I would have thought if the AFL can’t put on a show the players get paid as per contract.

    But on the other hand if a player is injured for several seasons, he still gets paid for not playing…


    1. It’s not so much whether or not the AFL wants to pay the players – it’s a question of whether or not they actually have the money in the bank to pay the players. That’s their problem.


  11. Covid-19 can get stuffed and Australia’s Champion ‘gate closer after the horse has bolted’ can also get stuffed. AFL players are fit and healthy enough to recover from the virus in a few days, FFS even an old man like Tom Hanks only spent 5 days in hospital and that was for quarantine not health complications.
    The public can not catch the virus from TV and crowds are not essential for games to proceed.
    If it’s safe for thousands of school kids to congregate all over the country for 6 hours at a time and then go home to parents and families in risk categories then it is also safe for 50 young athletes to play a game for 100 minutes.
    Stop using our game as a smoke screen for your total inadequacy Scott


  12. Geesh…one of the things I love about this site is that is normally friendly and apolitical. David, best you keep your comments on this site to footy…you can attack the PM from the audience at QandA…plenty of seats at the moment !!


  13. Based on what we know, I feel like it is a must that….
    – You have MAX 4 premos in the midfield
    – Get yourself players ranged around 150-200k rookies (caleb serong or dylan stephens)
    – Aim to build a podish type of team whilst keeping players such as dusty, whitfield etc since you need to take more risks to better your chances for a bigger score in the long run to ultimately better your chances to be better than your opponent
    – Use more money on mid priced players

    Let me know fellas


    1. I’m still racking my brain about which way to go, including your style Huz. But I reckon pts at the start is the way to go, so I’m going GNR. What I will be doing cause its a shorter season (maybe VERY short!!) is looping both the c, and two rookies on each line via a north or eagles player……that allows me to have 25 bites at the cherry for hopefully two rounds (plus the GG c loop), then trade to any rookie bubble boys that I have missed, so not missing cash generation. I’m doing this as i dont think there will be enough chances to get to full premo over the season, so mid/late season rookies will not be needed.
      Love to hear some thoughts.


  14. Now you listen to me young David. What you said about my darling husband is not nice.
    In eighteen months, he has had to oust the worst Labor PM Australia has ever had (Turnbull), beat Dollar Bill in the unwinnable climate change election, deal with a horrific drought, one of the worst bushfire seasons ever (sorry Greta, not the worst), and now this virus. Has a PM ever had to deal with so much in such a short period of time ??
    I’d really like to give you a piece of my mind young fella, but that would be politicising this site wouldn’t it ???


    1. Mrs Morrison you obviously met Scott at Uni when studying marketing. The only thing you mentioned that has been dealt with is Turnbull.
      No bushfire relief funds or projects actually in the community and the extent of the fires due to refusal to listen to experts, no drought just an as usual dry climate used as an excuse to funnel taxpayer $ to LNP supporters, a 3-months wait to do anything about covid 19 allowing it to get to this stage (Singapore and Taiwan stopped it with timely actions not belated words) sheesh he still hasn’t sent my daughters 2017 NDIS allowance.
      He tells a great lie though, well you both do actually.


      1. Your wrong David, he’s done a lot of great stuff.
        He eroded and underfunded the public health system so greatly that thousands of elderly Aussies are at genuine risk of death due to his his great failure to act swiftly on covid19.
        He greatly ignored the advice of Fire chiefs which enabled the greatest bushfires we’ve ever had.
        Devalued the $ so greatly that foriegn business could buy out our manufacturers and shut them down.
        Waged war on workers so greatly that millions are now on casual rates with no sickness entitlements.
        Funded Indian mining companies so greatly that they are able to destroy an area larger Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark at no cost to themselves.
        Violated caretaker govt laws so greatly that he won the unwinnable election.
        Sheds blame so greatly that Mrs Morrison doesn’t smother him in his sleep from utter shame.


      2. David, this is a highly emotive issue, but China informed WHO of this virus on NYE 2019 (google it), not three months ago. The NYE revelation is just like a Govt here submitting reports to Parliament on the last sitting day before the summer break…designed to get minimal public appraisal. I remember the Chinese ambassador attacking Australia for shutting out Chinese students as “a political” decision.
        This all happened so quickly that there is no right or wrong to the way it has been approached…..hindsight and all that !!


    2. Yeah Mrs Morrison he’s doing a great job my country town and every town within 200kms have had their supermarkets raided by BUSLOADS of shoppers from the city and due to the low importance of our small communities to the wholesale suppliers we wont have essential items until months after privileged idiots like you. It’s very easy to say “don’t do it, its un-Australian” but it is Australian under your husbands selfish govt. I would trade an imaginary surplus and rampant panic buying for a massive deficit and a genuine leader any day. He’s a useless flog and his lack of courage, foresight and leadership will see many Australians die


      1. CF, I agree its terrible what has gone on in country towns, but surely you aren’t suggesting thats the PM’s fault ?? Nor is it this “privileged idiot’s” fault about what wholesalers do, but I’m betting it will be a lot better than making you wait months for essential items.
        Sadly, your last sentence is not the first time on this forum that we have seen a vitriolic, cowardly, anonymous attack on someone…..a sad legacy of the advent of social media. It adds nothing to the discussion, is merely your opinion, and reflects much worse on people like you than your target.


  15. Health system…..generally regarded as one of the best in the world, but even I will agree it could be better…never can be good enough. If travelling, would you rather break a leg in Australia, the USA, Vietnam, or anywhere else you might care to suggest. Do it in the USA and you risk bankruptcy….here, its free !! That “thousands of elderly Australians are genuinely at risk of death”, due to the PM, …is an insult to anyone’s intelligence. Health after all is a matter for the states, funded via the GST. What more would you like the PM have to done anyway ??
    These were not the greatest bushfires we have ever had….I suggest you look at Black Friday 1939, Black Saturday 2009 when 174 lives were lost in Victoria, and even the 1854 ( I think that year) in Tasmania. Its quite simple….reduce the load, and reduce the fires… in my open fire every winter !!
    The $ has floated freely since Keating/Hawke floated it in the early 1980’s. Its value is a function of global markets. Manufacturing has been shutting down for decades in Australia, not just under Morrison. Ever heard of the Button (ALP) plan to save car manufacturing…that worked well.
    Workers pay rates are now set independent of both sides of Government.
    Perhaps you might provide some substantive information of the “funding of Indian mining companies that allowed such areas to be destroyed”. Surely not Adani….there has been nil contribution to that company by any Australian Govt.
    So the “sports rorts” was far more of an election loser than the uncosted zero energy policy of Dollar Bill, or the policies of higher taxes on negative geared properties, and franking credits ??
    Dont understand your final sentence. Gotta cook dinner now.
    And its time to concentrate on the footy…..Scott needs my help with his tips.


  16. I am not sure that it is very helpful or healthy to discuss the ‘politics’ of the situation on here. There are other platforms you can use for that.
    As some will know, I have quite strong political views but would NEVER subject the SCT community to them on our very own platform. To that end …

    Can I ask that we keep discussions on the SCT platform to the implications on SuperCoach of any decision the AFL or government make that may effect our game, purely in regard to SuperCoach.
    We understand that these are strange times indeed and will likely result in unprecedented, even surprising measures being taken. And at short notice. We will do our very best to keep you all abreast of any changes and will always try and assist on the SuperCoach implications of those decisions in the best way that we can.
    Stay safe and here’s to the first bounce!
    Thanks all.


    1. Well said as…I think David might reconsider posting his final sentence which appears to have sparked all this, if he had his time again. Peace to people of all persuasions in these times.
      Anyway….on with the season. Tonight’s game might get stopped by thunder…not a virus !! Can’t believe I might actually barrack for Car…….nah…..what am I thinking !!!


  17. … in case of a game being played.


    B: Nathan Broad, Dylan Grimes, David Astbury
    HB: Liam Baker, Nick Vlastuin, Jayden Short
    C: Josh Caddy, Dion Prestia, Jack Graham
    HF: Daniel Rioli, Shane Edwards, Jason Castagna
    F: Tom Lynch, Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt
    Foll: Ivan Soldo, Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert
    I/C: Marlion Pickett, Shai Bolton, Toby Nankervis, Sydney Stack

    Emg: Jack Ross, Kamdyn McIntosh, Callum Coleman-Jones, Ryan Garthwaite


      1. Your most welcome allsaints.

        Best of luck to everyone, be it Supercoach or life.
        Stay safe, stay healthy and all best for your team.

        I will have the rest of the teams tomorrow….depending ?


    1. Carlton

      B Lachie Plowman, Liam Jones, Sam Docherty
      HB Nic Newman, Jacob Weitering, Sam Petrevski-Seton
      C Sam Walsh, Patrick Cripps, Jack Newnes
      HF Paddy Dow, Mitch McGovern, Jack Martin
      F Michael Gibbons, Levi Casboult, Jack Silvagni
      Foll Matthew Kreuzer, Marc Murphy, Ed Curnow
      I/C Kade Simpson, Will Setterfield, Zac Fisher, David Cuningham
      EMG pending


  18. And thats why I am going with the luxury of a loop on every line….just hope they leave price changes to after r3 !!


    1. Already confirmed as prices changing after 2 rounds. Not sure if that means it’ll only be a 2-game rolling average for the whole year, or if they’ll just assume everyone scored their current BE in an imaginary Round 0.


      1. Indeed. You won’t be able to see your opponents’ teams until after tonight’s match, however.



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