Zac’s 2019 Season in Review with tips and tricks for overall success!

Written by Huttabito on January 28 2020

2019 Final rank: 77th
Winner of SCT LoEC3

After finishing 87th in 2016 I wanted to return to the top 100 after being in-between 1-3k in 2017 and 2018. I purely play for overall (although I do believe obviously there is a very strong correlation between overall and leagues).

Now personally I am not the biggest fan of reading heavily into data and numbers (although don’t get me wrong I still love reading all the content!). Data can be amazing to read and use but you don’t need to get caught up in over analysing what in reality is a simple game! So, here are my main tips for a good rank.

When prioritising the highest ranking possible you want to maximise points. Simple right? But how do we do this?

  1. Pick players who are proven scorers.

You don’t want to be going into the season sweating on whether or not a player will be a good pick and develop into an elite scorer – you want to be near certain! Picking ‘breakouts’ is how a lot of people spend a chunk of pre-season. Whilst when you get it right (let’s say Clayton Oliver a few years back now) its brilliant. But it just doesn’t happen very often. The best players are the most expensive for a reason. They are proven. These are the players you need to be selecting and nailing.

Let’s look at the top averaging players of the 2019 season. Are there any surprises? I’d say no. Dunkley is one from last year’s preseason where he had the numbers in the back end of 2018 and looked prime for big 2019 season so we will say it was expected (maybe not to the extent of a 116 average but the potential to be a keeper / premium was there).

Rowan Marshall is the biggest surprise here. If anyone started him then I take my hat off to you. However, if not, then you would have had the chance to jump on at the right time meaning you didn’t really lose anything by not starting him.

Therefore, what I’m alluding to is the risk of starting with a failed breakout is by far greater than missing a breakout who a minority of players would have. Limit your risks and move from there. There is nothing wrong with starting with a template team.

People are becoming too caught up with trying to overthink player selections and selecting players who have low ownership. When selecting your team, simply don’t worry about if the player is owned by 1% or 50%. If you think he’s going to be a top player, then select him. You don’t get bonus points for having a unique team!

With great sites like this and all the resources of other supercoaches, teams are more similar than ever. But that’s not an issue. It’s about how you get to your final squad throughout the season that will determine your results.

  1. Don’t be afraid to cull rookies early

Often you will see coaches trying to squeeze every last potential $$ out of a rookie in order to maximise your team value. Whilst this maybe something that allows you to get the best team for your league matchups come finals, it will slow down your efforts to rise up the rankings. The quicker you get in better players the better you off you will be.

A prime example of an early rookie cull for me last season was downgrading Will Satterfield when he was 190k. Whilst he eventually got to 300k that 300k in 7-10 weeks was going to be useless to me then. And although it only banked around 60-70k the move to go Setterfield to O’Brien was a move that set up my season. I also eventually traded O’Brien when he still had a good 80k to make because it made sense for me to bring in another premo. Don’t forgo a good downgrade option or upgrade to a premium you want because your rookie isn’t maxed in price

One of my biggest regrets was not bringing in S. Stack because I still had some rookies making money. I would have earned more points and $$ in the long run by culling a rookie earlier for a better one

  1. Trade aggressively when the time is right!

Last season I was more aggressive in my approach to using trades, BUT not from the very start. I saved my first trade until round 5 (Setterfield to O’Brien mentioned above) and by round 6 I used maximum trades every week to finish my team taking me until round 15 to do so (leaving me with 7 trades left for cover).

In order to rank high, use those trades downgrading and upgrade rookies as soon as good downgrade targets come available (even if you cull another rookie early as mentioned above).

At Round 15 I was ranked 314th due to my efficiency in upgrading to full premo (and obviously a solid starting team providing the foundation). However, my aggressive trading is what propelled me into a top 100 finish.

My last 7 trades

It’s safe to say if you prioritise leagues these would not be moves you would make. But to get a good rank, they were required.

Round 16, Gawn and Cripps are both out injured (and turns out would both be back next week – which I knew). Some chose to cop the donut with Gawn and most people with Cripps would of used bench cover. But it all goes back to the top. “you want to maximise points”. So, I pulled the trigger from Gawn to Lycett who was brilliant for me (until Ken dropped him!) and Cripps to Jelly which was good for the week until he went on got injured too! Within 3 weeks I had burnt 4 trades trading Cripps and Gawn out and in. But these moves would have pocketed me a lot of extra points that helped my rank significantly which are so valuable when fighting for a top 100 rank.

Now these are moves you make AFTER your team is complete NOT BEFORE. For example, I held Matt Crouch over his 4-5-week injury (yes, I wish I didn’t), but my priority was to get rookies off the field at that time not to swap premiums. Trade aggressively, but upgrading rookies is always the main priority.

To summarise the keys to a good rank are to limit your risks early, prioritise rookie upgrades until your team is finalised (hopefully just after the byes) and don’t be afraid to aggressively use remaining trades (providing you don’t run out with 2-3 rounds to go!)

Good luck to everyone this season and thanks to all the contributors of this great site and community !


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24 thoughts on “Zac’s 2019 Season in Review with tips and tricks for overall success!”

  1. Brilliant insights Zac and best of luck in going 76 places higher in 2020!
    Agree with everything you have to say. Will you be doing a Team Reveal before Rd1?! 😉


    1. Thanks allsaints! If people want it im happy to do a team reveal prior to round 1! Just not sure what its going to look like at this stage lots to consider 🙂


  2. Think the assertiveness of tips #2 and #3 are what separated you from the pack, Zac.

    I’ve definitely got to play less passively and not sit on rookies for too long.

    Great stuff.


    1. Thanks GD!

      The extent to which you trade aggressively and cull rookies is in particular the difference in strategies between trying to win your league and finishing in a high rank where every point counts.

      In another season those late moves i made could have easily backfired but thankfully they pulled through!


  3. Fantastic read, Zac. As far as trades go, “slow-fast-slow” is the ideal strategy.
    1. Nail down your starting lineup so you use as few trades as possible in the first 4-6 rounds;
    2. Then change gears and trade like a maniac up to the byes, cull those rookies and grab the fallen premiums;
    3. Hang on to whatever you’ve got left for the run home.
    Doesn’t always work that way unfortunately, but we can all dream….


  4. Hey Zac, great little article here, I was wondering where you stand on proven guys who tailed off last season like Lloyd, Laird?


    1. There proven for a reason. Both are fine picks and are safe.

      Lloyd seemingly tailed off due to Dawsons impact so i would watch that in pre season. But even if Dawson gets the half back role again its not like Lloyd is going to dramatically fall off.

      Laird has plenty of upside i think. If last year was seen to be an average season for him and the crows averaging what he did was still solid enough. Currently in my side.


  5. Brilliant! Loved reading your insight. Wow that is some ballsy trading, I dunno if I could do it, but hats off to you. Best of luck for the year ahead.


    1. I ignore them until i find my team that i’m very happy with. At that point i look to see if there are any major issues with the bye round structure. If there are i would make a choice on whether i want to swap a premo to another that i like to help spread the byes out or if i will deal with the consequences when the byes come through planning around that bye through my other trades.

      Hope that kind of helps!


  6. Great write up Zac.
    Personally league win is my priority so I approach it differently, but I think you hit the nail on the head for overall strategy.


  7. Thanks for that Zac. I thought the top players got lucky with their initial teams but you point out there’s a lot more skill involved.

    I have a question about the aggressive trading, it’s something I tried last year and on the whole worked. However I found myself twice with no good downgrade options and forced the issue and picked up Robert Young and Corbert for example.

    If you can’t see a good downgrade option do you wait a week or just take your best guess and live with it?


    1. Good question! Sometimes you have to take the bad rookie or go early on a rookie which can also backfire.

      I too got stuck with those same 2 players sitting ion my bench and occasionally fielded. The reality is you do not want to wait a week because then that slows down your whole upgrade schedule by a week.

      If you have twitter theres an account (@laughingracoon) who outlined how you need to start upgrading ideally before everyone else and stated it may cost you an extra 50k or so because you have to pick up these worse rookies you mentioned or downgrade non matured rookies but it gives you a gain in points by being able to upgrade to the next premium.

      So basically you just take the rookie thats available and hope you don’t have to field them!


      1. Thanks Zac,
        That twitter account has lots of useful/thoughtful ideas on it and, as per normal, a low amount of followers as a result.

        I kinda have a cunning plan thus far to upgrade at round 5 soooo we’ll see how that goes.



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