The Year of the Cow-Like Object

Written by Father Dougal on March 7 2022

Hi Everybody!

A couple years ago I wrote about Cow-like objects. 


Since then Cow-like objects have been showing up more and more, and last year they showed up as “A Thing” and anyone who ignored them paid for that. Someone starting with a forward line of Ziebell, Impey, and Daniher would have been very happy. They also would probably have been called mad. But taking players highly discounted that could make $150,000 or more, well, nothing wrong with that at all! 

Because everyone knows Guns and Rookies is the best overall approach to winning Supercoach there is a very fair bias towards that approach. Because the “only” other well known approach is “Mid-price Madness” which is validly considered mad for a certain value of mid-pricer, well, anything that wasn’t GnR tended to get lumped into MpM and therefore discarded. Which was silly.  GnR or MpM is a false choice. There are all sorts of strategies that are not GnR that are perfectly valid. Labeling anything other than GnR as Madness just gets in the way of clear thinking about how to set up teams.

But, rather than get into other approaches let’s keep it simple-ish and assume that anything other than GnR is mad. If we do, then really the issue is that we are being too restrictive in our definition of what a gun is and what a rookie is. 

At the most basic:

If someone is good enough to be kept for the season then they are a gun. How much they cost does not make them a gun, how well they perform does. 

If someone can make $150,000 or so, then they are a rookie. How much they cost only matters in comparison to other rookies. 


Say that Fred is a $117k rookie.  If he scores about 60 he will make about $150k around round 8. Perfectly good choice. 

Say that Charlie is a $207k rookie.  If he scores around 78 he will make about $150k around round 8. Also a perfectly good choice.  

Now, Charlie costs $80k more than Fred, but if you are playing him on the field you are getting, in this example, 18 more points a week or 126  more points when he is ready to sell at the beginning of round 8.  Of course odds are you got him in because he has good job security, and enough rookies with good JS are hard to find.  So, higher upfront cost for the same profit and some more points and also more cash extracted or a better start to an upgrade. 

Say there is this  guy Bill. He costs $212k, which is only $5k more than Charlie. Near as to no difference; needs to score 79 to make $150k.  But, Bill is 25 and has over 100 games played. He has a history of scoring 74, which is a little below the target but he also looks like he has rock solid job security. More than Charlie, who has zero matches played. Also, he has a much better chance of scoring 74 again that Charlie has of doing it for the first time.  Bill is really a lower risk than Charlie. But technically is a not a rookie, so fine, he’s a cow.  

Say there is the guy Tom. Tom costs $233k, which is just $26k more than Charlie. He is 27, and has been hurt a lot but is healthy now, and in the past scored 86.  He would need to go at about 82 to make the same cash at the same rate as the others. But, like Bill, he has done it before. Of course $233k is clearly more than a rookie, so he must be a mid-pricer right? Well, we had no problem paying an extra $80k to get Charlie so why the heck is paying an extra $106k that different. Or for paying $26k over rookie cost.  And he’d be on field scoring more too. 

Say that Mike costs $257k. He is 30 and was hurt and has a bad last season. He is old but not too old to think about. He also has an eight year history of scoring at 81 or more with an eight year average of 88 other than his injury season. He costs $140k more than Fred but only $50k more than Charlie, and like both Bill and Tom, he has much better JS and he is likely to be on the field and score more points. And with career highs of  95.2 and 94.5, he could in theory end up doing so well he does not get sold. 

Since we need a lot of rookies, and never get enough with good JS, really we are, or should be, picking from all the players that have a decent chance of making at least $150k in extractable profit.  

Say Wally is a $117k small forward with dodgy JS. He is “technically” a rookie. Mike is “technically” a mid pricers and so according to the GnR handbook you have to take the rookie and not the mid-pricer.  That would be what I will call “anti-smart.”  Someone who did the anti-smart thing and picked up the best available $117k rookies would have saved something like  $3314k dollars, which is not nothing. But, they would have really hurt their cash growth. And their scoring., assuming marginal guys even keep their jobs. 

So, Bill & Tom & Mike, aka Impey, Daniher and Ziebell, all did well. All had clues they would do well. I don’t think anyone saw a 107.6 average for Ziebell, but keeper level was clearly possible. 

So, anyways, players who cost more than rookies/cows but are still able to make $150k, are cow-like objects. (Says me at least.) Last season there were those three and a few more as I recall.  Dyson Heppel cost $319k and went for 99.4 meaning he was kept, or made a near 200K if for some reason he wasn’t kept. Was that predictable? Yes. Did most of us do that? No. Would most of us have done that along with Jarman and Joe and Jack? Even less likely because that would be Mid-Price Madness and everyone would make fun of you and nobody would validate your parking and weasels would eat your brake lines. Or something. 

Mid-pricers are guys who are not guns who will be worth keeping in your team and who won’t make enough money to be cash generators. They are not very useful.  So, do not use them. But, don’t confuse a mid-pricer with a cow-like object, because they are not the same at all. 

So, why is this the year of the cow-like object? Well, maybe last year was thanks to the ones I have already mentioned, but this season there seems to be a dozen or so players who look like they could be perfectly good cow-like objects, and there is a worse than normal shortage of rookies.  So we both can use more options. Of course a lot of the players who look like good options won’t after a few practice matches or they get hurt, or whatever.  A lot are guys who have never done it before, which are much more risky than guys who have and had an off year that made them cheap. But, this year we will need them.  Applying what we learned from last season,  we should look at each one and based on their merits take as many as make sense, no matter how odd it feels to have a team with a lot of players between $200-300k. And we may not. It could be everything sorts itself out rookie-wise and there are only one or two good cow-like  objects and so we only take those. 

The big thing, to me, is not to be afraid to take whoever the Supercoach gods have seen fit to give us. Last season I spurned their offerings of fine cow-like objects out of fear of being too weird (!) and regretted it a lot.  We can’t be sure a cow-like object will work out any more than we can be sure a cow will work out, but, at least let’s be appropriately open to them this season. 

Thank for reading!


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18 thoughts on “The Year of the Cow-Like Object”

  1. Agreed. Logical. Sensible.

    People need to accept that the game has changed.

    There are virtually no rookies at 123k who will line up for round 1.

    There will probably be more 102k rookies in round 1 AFL teams than 123k rookies.

    But what is their job security? Most are SSP’s chosen for until a specific player recovers.

    Many of those people are only a few weeks away from fitness, because clubs are not stupid and know how to schedule operations in the off season.

    So, what we have is: there are premo rookies (say Horne Francis, Daicos, Rachele). Be warned that many of whom don’t score as well as we hope. (Cough Ugle Hagan Cough).

    There are second and third year player cow like objects (say Dylan Stephens, Hugo Ralphsmith, Tristan Xerri, and oops Corey Durdin).

    There are more senior players with one or more years of injury who are cow like objects (Coniglio, Milera, Paddy McCartin).

    Champion Data tweak the rules all the time.

    Players need to as well.

    We’ve had bushfires, floods and now it looks like the cowpocalypse.

    But, like floods, it only looks like the cowpocalypse if you won’t move to more expensive higher ground.


    1. Great thread and agreed with HH commets. The plus maybe hat the injured cheaper rookies [ Dean, Chesser, Clarke etc] become viable downgrades at the right time.


    2. What a sensational analogy – “it only looks like the cowpocalypse if you won’t move to more expensive higher ground”.
      I love it HH and what a great read from the good Father as always.

      Great work! And it probably affirms my thinking over the last couple weeks as I have been dropping off a premo here and there to fit in the rookies that look like they will play.


  2. You really never fail to impress, Father D.

    I wish I had the courage of my convictions to follow the 8 or so cow-like certainties I’ve identified to their guaranteed $150k profit.

    Ultimately it may come down to lack of cash, and lack of playing options, rather than any resolve on my part though.


  3. I had to compromise a premo or 2 (compared to GnR) to fit in the 200k-300k and expensive rookies. I don’t want to miss out on those rooks & I feel I need the 200k-300k guys for JS.

    I am looking at:
    4 x $200-300k price (Bowey, Berry, Cogs, Raynor)
    6 x Expensive rookies (> $123K) ( Sinn, McCartin, Ward, Maginness, Daicos, JHF)
    8 x cheap rookies (< $123k)
    11 x bona fide keepers + Rowell

    TU – Keep it – must have those expensive rooks. And need the 200k-300k for JS
    TD – Get in another premo and cheap rookie at any cost


      1. Currently have DeKoning, W Kelly, MacDonald, Long, N Martin, Dixon, J Hayes, Jones.
        All subject to selection. I expect changes but that is how it looks atm


    1. At this stage players like him and Ralphsmith are the “rookies” we need to structure our team around for round 1.

      It isn’t ideal.

      But our teams need warm bodies, and this at least allows us to get 10 or 11 premos.

      Way better than a team of true midpricers with little upside (well barring guys like Hewett and Rowell).


  4. This feels very close to the madness part of midprice madness.

    It does work if you get everything right. Just can go very badly.

    I think the main difference with midprice madness is trying to find 400k keepers where as these “cow like objects” are just stepping stones


  5. Players either top 3 in position or > 14% ownership and $210k-$350k

    Wayne Milera 12%, Keidan Coleman 7%, Jake Bowey 5%

    Matt Rowell 29%, Jarrod Berry 24%, Jye Caldwell 16%


    Stephen Coniglio 69%, Will Brodie 25%, Cam Rayner 24%, Jade Gresham 18%, Charlie Curnow 14%

    Of all these, Coniglio, Berry and Curnow are the ones who have 2 or more prior seasons of averaging at least 30 points better than they are priced (approx $150k price increase). Curnow is line ball. The rest require some kind of break out.


    1. Assuming you need 6 12 keepers + JHF, Daicos, Ward, rachelle = 22

      Cogs + berry seem safe.

      In a worst case (non injury scenario) That leaves 3 rookie correction trades to sort through that jumble and your only on the hook for 1 bad choice that you will be able to rookie correct the next week to a cheap rookie after their first price rise.

      So the main cost is trades but with extras and a boost it’s looking less risky then ever


    2. O% of teams but McGovern should make me $150k.

      New role. Next Jones. 100 from 62 min last week.

      Am I a genius or an idiot?


    3. Curnow had a 5 and 7 in 2019. Averaged nearer 90 in the rest in a team that came 16th (won 6 after mid season coach change), and wasn’t fully fit. You just need to pray that he stays fit for at least a month.



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