Captain Strategy – Mick the Mad Irishman
OK community. You’re going to need to take out your baby violin and a box of Kleenex, because you’re about to hear the saddest story told since “The Notebook” … and yes.. yes don’t pretend you haven’t seen the movie, or that you didn’t tear up a like Gary Ablett on Brownlow night at it’s hopelessly romantic ending. I know you did!
Last season I gave up a potential 1046 points over the course of the season on not picking the correct captain. I finished a little over 800 points behind last year’s winner. And I know what you’re thinking, how on earth did you give up so many points? Were you making Travis Cloke your captain every week or something you mad bastard?
Well to answer your question – pure and simple – I couldn’t buy any luck what so ever when picking my captains last year. Of course I can’t put it all down to bad luck as I had some really dodgy looking picks in there too. Where was Captain Hindsight when I needed him?
The above table shows the Captain relevant players that I had last year. Priddis, Cox and Naitanui were all traded in and Pendlebury was traded out when he got injured. I used a total of 8 different captains over the year. The score highlighted in yellow was my Captain pick for each of those rounds. I managed somehow to miss Ablett’s two highest scores but still picked up his two lowest.
Some of those really bad looking Captains choices look really obvious now, but at the time there was sound reasoning behind each one of those picks. For example I had just traded in Naitanui in round 13 coming off his monster score of 185 in round 12. Ablett had the bye that week and I thought going on form Naitanui was the clear choice for Captain. I got it wrong, and this was a recurring theme throughout the year.
The next table shows what my actual Captain’s points were, compared to the maximum possible points I could have achieved if I had picked the highest scoring player in my team for that week. I have also included a Column Titled “Set and Forget” which I will explain a little later.
So as you can see the difference between what my captains actually scored and the best possible score I could have achieved was a whopping 1046 points. Now before I go any further, I’m not saying that I feel aggrieved or that I could have won the competition last year because I’m not. It would be next to impossible to pick the best scoring player in your team every week. If you have then I’m afraid you’ve wasted all that good fortune when you should have being buying tats-lotto tickets. However what this table shows me is that there is a potential to gain a lot of points by putting yourself into a position where you can eliminate the bad captain choices, and pick out the best possible ones.
Obvious I know, but remarkably I only managed to pick my top scoring player as my captain on four occasions last season.
Ok you can put away the tissues now, that’s my little Supercoach heartache story over. Not sure if Hollywood will be coming knocking for the rights to the screen adaptation but stuff them, I’m sure the community feels my pain.
So here is the thing community. Those who achieve greatness are not those who do not make mistakes, but those who learn from the mistakes they have made. Going into next season I have learned from my mistakes in 2012 and I would like to share with you two “Captain Strategies” that will help you not make the same mistake as I did in 2012.
Set and Forget Captain
This is a remarkably simple strategy where you make your best player captain every week, or if he is not available you then make your second best player captain, and so on. This might sound quite simplistic but if I refer you back up to the table of my last year’s captains once more….
I have included a column titled “Set and Forget” which shows the scores I would have got if I had adopted this strategy last season. Each of the scores would have come from Gary Ablett apart from rounds 5 and 6 when he missed through injury and round 13 where GCS had the bye. Scott Pendlebury would have taken the captains role in rounds 5 and 6 and Jobe Watson would have taken the role in round 13, as they were my next best players at those respective times during the season. The column next to it shows the difference between what I actually scored and what I would have scored if I had adopted the set and forget strategy.
Remarkably I would have scored 443 points more if I had adopted this strategy last year, instead of losing the faith with Ablett’s bad scores and looking for smokies in the following rounds. Now I know 443 points isn’t all that much over the year but if you are like me and feel you have a good chance at the top prize then 443 points is a lot. Imagine if I had come within that margin of last year’s winner? Then I would feel aggrieved.
I challenge any of you fine readers to think back to last year and recall how many times you tried a smoky captain who ended up scoring worse than your best player. I bet you there was a few times right? I know that this seems too simple but I would say that 90% of the time, the coaches who adopt this strategy will outscore the coaches that change their captains regularly based on form.
One last word with this strategy; It is a good idea to have the best player in the competition to fully utilise this strategy. For an example a coach who had Ablett as their set and forget captain would outscore a coach who had Swan as their set and forget captain by over 200 points in 2012. If you take captains points into consideration I really feel Ablett is a must have player once again in 2013.
Captain Loop Hole
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term “Captain Loop Hole”, it’s a scenario where you get the opportunity to have a second go at picking your captain if you were not happy with your first choice’s score. In 2012 this could only happen in a round that had a partial lock out, where a game was scheduled before the full lock out occurred on Friday night. You also required a non-scoring player in your team.
How it worked was you would select a player who was playing in the game before the full lock as your Vice Captain. If you were happy with his score you would then put your non-playing player on the field and make him Captain, making sure you have an emergency to cover his doughnut. This means your Vice Captain’s score now acts as your Captain’s score. If the player you selected as your Vice Captain has a bad game you then just select a Captain from another member of your playing squad.
So why am I writing about this now?
Well community by now I’m sure you are all aware of the new rule changes for 2013. With the new rule of a rolling “Lock Out”, it effectively means you can apply the “Captains Loop Hole” in every round in 2013, giving you two chances of getting a good score from your Captain. However there is a price you have to pay for having this luxury, you must select a non-playing player in your squad. This is something you must give considerable thought to because you will be forgoing one potential cash cow to adopt this strategy.
I have given it a lot of thought and to be honest I think it’s likely that it is a strategy I will use. You obviously won’t give up a spot in your midfield as all the big cash cow potentials are all located in there. Also with 8 players in there this year you are likely to need two players as cover. It can be argued that it is also not wise to give up cover in either the forward or back lines. However it wouldn’t be too significant if you lost one player in your Ruck department as you have only two players to cover for. In fact the chances are you might even have a non-playing player without even trying. I have noticed that a lot of teams have selected Sam Rowe as their R4.
I too have selected him but the difference is I have selected him as my non-playing player that will help me utilise the “Captain Loop Hole” strategy. Sam is a great story no doubt, coming back from cancer and getting back to the top level in his chosen sport. His story is more in line with a Hollywood movie but if the truth be told I still don’t see Sam breaking into Carlton’s best 22.
Warnock, Kreuzer, Hampson, Waite, Walker and Casbolt, are all ahead of him for me. He is however perfect for this strategy because not only will he provide you with the non-playing status you require, but he also provides you with a very important forward/ruck swing that will come in very handy in 2013. If however Rowe does manage to crack into Carlton’s best 22 there is another by the name of Liam McBean at Richmond who also offers you a swing into the forward line and that non-playing status you require.
One last word with this strategy; Don’t get too greedy with when it comes to your Vice Captains Score. If he manages to score over 120, you should use this as your Captains score and don’t go chasing a bigger score with another player. The chances are you will get more lower scores than you will higher ones.
Stay tuned ….