Captain Strategy – Mick the Mad Irishman

Published by Jock on

AFL Fantasy and Supercoach Captain strategy

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?

Supercoach captains

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.

Supercoach captains table

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 ….

Mick the Mad Irishman

Click here for more from Mick. Mad as a cut snake.. but one of the finest AFL Fantasy strategists in the nation.

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Awesome , anyone can join my league competitive 2100+ -332629


great article loved it


"Fortune favours the brave"
Not taking him. Effectively means I get two middish types instead of Gaz and a rook. Will get Gaz rd.6ish. IF he has a spud start game or two, I win 50k. If I have him either way, I am a clone and must rely on other risks to win the 50k.


2 middish types might mean you miss out on the cash to be gained by 2 rookies.
You could also missout on 30 to 50 points per round not having Gaz as your Cap.
Gamble either way
If you know you want him save the trade and grab him from the get go. That's what I have done.
Good Luck 2U!


It's all bloody good to say you lost 1000 points over a season by not picking the right captain. However it would be almost impossible to do so; that's the nature of supercoach and the reason I enjoy it; youre trying to control the uncontrollable (a player's output) – their action is independent to ours. It's all apart of the fun and intrigue. (For the record, in round 8 I traded in Dangerfield and made him captain to my workmate's laughter – I still bring my triumph up weekly!)

I personally support the set and forget strategy; I feel it's the only rationalisation of paying such a premium for Ablett.
I also personally won't use the captains loophole – I believe it's unsporting and not in the spirit of the game


He acknowledged that it would be impossible to pick the right captain and he wasn't claiming that he actually should've one. You would know these things if you read the post.


Edit: o̶n̶e̶ won


Did u mean to type eeeejit?


eIM, all feed back is welcome my good friend.
I 100% agree that it is impossible to pick the top scoring player every week, and I did try to convey that message within the article. What I was hoping to show is there are a lot of points available over the coarse of the season by picking a good captain.

Great call on going in with Ablett as you're set and forget captain. Not sure if I agree with you're captains loophole theory though – hope that workmate of you're doesn't use it against you and win this year 😉


Very brave article Mick. Not many would show the intestinal fortitude to lay bear their past errors for all to see. For that I really have to congratulate you on what looks like a life altering journey of self discovery, which is obviously lifting you above levels reached by us mortal Supercoaches.

After that pat on the back I really don't wanna go down the, what were you thinking path. But what were you thinking mate?? You were too distracted by the prize. I mean you mention the top prize more than once. I know it's lonely at the top but you still need someone to talk too. A man is not an island. Or a camel. You let thoughts of that car get in the way. That nice, big, shiny, car. What were you doing when Crouching was giving out the gold? Weren't ya listening to Crouching Ones advice? "Wen Uoo chaze da ka, Uoo get tyred! Welcome."


Love it Luckystiff 😀 what was I thinking all right


Cheers mate, good stuff!

Re: the loophole, i think for anyone seriously considering the dummy R4 position, might be worth looking at each player's fixture to get the maximum flexibility. The more Sunday games the better etc, not much point utilising the loophole with a player who has lots of Friday night and Sat arvo games. Personally, i want to use the RUCK/FWD switch option with Roughie (Cox already my R1 and Currie my R3) so that only leaves Rowe, Mcbean and Sinclair. Sinclair (WCE) only play one Friday night game up to the bye so could be a goer.


Matt superb point, loving the feedback. Never mentioned Sinclair but he do is a great option and as you said has only one friday night game until the bye … might very well be the best option

Jordan Forrest

Yeah its a strategy ive thought about a lot. But if you want to use it to maximum capacity, you have to have the donut in the midfield to be able to get the VC scores of Pendles, Swan, Dangerfield etc…
It's far less effective if you are using the ruck/fwd option as you can only use Cox or maybe Franklin as the two best options, and then they have to play before Ablett to use the loop hole properly.. which probably only happens 10 times a year… If you want to get the best out of it you have to sacrifice a spot in your midfield…

PS. switching Rowe to the forward line to get buddys score will then chuck say cox on the ruck bench with two premiums already in the ruck (I think)… which isn't what you want.


I think you've confused yourself, which I also did a couple of years ago.

For example, your rucks are: Maric, Luey, (Rowe, Currie). Bring Rowe on for Luey and make him captain, knowing that he won't be playing and put the VC on Pendles ( who ever you like!). Make sure Luey is emergency. If Pendles racks up 130 and you want to stick that then you're set and you'll still take luey's score as per normal. If you weren't happy with Pendles score then just wack the big C on Gaz or some other gun! 😉 The position of the player doesn't restrict you in that sense at all. I think it just suits team balance a bit more to use a DPP ruck as the non scorer


Spot on Josh


mmmmmm confused
Have the rules changed?………….
But you have thought about it alot it seems………………..?


Ok it seems your post should have been a reply and not a post.
More confusion.

For everyone, If you are replying to a post SELECT REPLY FFS.
It aint rocket science.


Brilliant and so simple.
50 points can be all the difference and no one plays SC to lose.


Past 2 years has been set and forget with Ablett. When he’s playing, he’s my #1 everytime. When he doesn’t play, it’s usually someone like Pendles or Swan, whoever my 2nd best midfielder is. Always pick a midfielder, I tried Franklin a few times, but I always seem to pick him on a week he has a below average score!

I’ll use the captains loophole if it’s available to me, but I will not select a non-playing player just to use it, only if it happens due to a player I have selected not playing that particular week (which will undoubtly happen as rookies are rested, or 1-2 week injuries occur)


yup me 2, need all the cash generation players we can get! There will be plenty of donuts through the year to use the loop hole on occasion.


Their is a fair chance your R4 will get hardly any points anyway. There is
no Giles this year so I think the points gained from having this R4 working for you will be far more beneficial than having someone like Witts sitting there playing two games for the whole season.


True, i've got the same setup as Mad Mick with Sam Rowe as my R4, but I did that for the FWD/RUC swing it provides with Cox, the loophole is just an extra. R4 is the only position I'm doing this with because as you said, there's no obvious "will definitely play" option to pick from.

As a general rule I'll still be going the set and forget route with Ablett, but if there's a chance of a player of mine having a big score in the Friday night game i'll give it a whirl. Problem with Ablett and the loophole is GC play 18 games on a Saturday, meaning you only get the Friday night game to pick from on most weeks.


A bit off topic, but does anyone have thoughts on how Lake's addition to the Hawks backline will affect the output of Gibson, Suckling, Birchall, Schoenmakers etc. Anyone see potential increases or decreases?


Yes I wonder if Burgoyne will be freed up and move forward to add more goals to his scoring!
Good thinking! Will watch and trade him in if it happens.


More goals but less everything else. Full time forward would be the worst result.

Bomber Stef

Birchall was reliable last year (averaged 94.65 in 2012 and 94 in 2011 and was the 5th ranked defender in 2012) … would expect to see him loose even more this year with Lake playing as a key defender. Had 25 plus disposals over the last 10 games of last year.

If you factor in his stats and the expectation that he will play an even bigger part in the hawks rebound 50 game you'd expect him to score well.


Is duffield a valid option this year?


Averaged 116 the last 6 games last year.


Ranked 7th best defender last year.

Averaged 75.7 in 2011 and 92.84 in 2012. Stats show he is on the rise!!

Last 10 games of last year he only had less than 20 disposals once. Only kicked 2 goals last year though.

Could be an option if he spends some time in the mid.


Yeah true…. I can't choose between Duffield and H. Taylor, who do you guys think is a better pick between the two this year?! Although Taylor is a DDP and plays forward at times….


Duffield by 1000 miles don’t let Harry’s high score in the nab fool you.


Nice Q. Dee I like H.Taylor in my squad unfortunatly I do not see consistant scores ( which will soul destroy you ) Great Player but his big scores are interspursed with Avg scores …Duffman for me. Hope this helps in the quest


Thanks for the news about the captains loophole ^^ Do you think you can write an article on GWS…surely there is gold in that team in relation to cash cows.








Hey Chris, I love the look of your mids but in my opinion it leaves you pretty thin in some areas. I'd say too many mid priced hopefuls in the FWD but high risk/ high reward I guess?

Staker won't be playing for a while and Dale Morris is another one of those risky choices that could pay off. He's an interesting one, might work out ok….but you've got a lot of mid pricers in there that may leave you in no-mans land.

I'd lose a Premium Mid for one of the gun rookies and upgrade Patton to a Premium FWD, just to stabalize the team balance and I think it's worth taking advantage of the sure cash cow mid rookies this year!

It's good to see Redden in there and I like the Smith/Luey ruck combo 😉




Keep Danger and loose Murphy, i agree with what they're saying on the pod casts about Dangermouse think he'll kill it this year IMHO.


My only concern here is that you have 5 players coming back from serious injury, which IMO is a huge risk. In particular your forward line has 3. I would consider swapping out two from the fwd line and dropping Staker (he won't play til at least round 3). Karnezeis could replace Varcoe or Kennedy, and swap McCaffer for kerrdge/Papparone/Neade or whichever Port rookie fwd starts rnd 1.

Also before you go all misty eyed on Buddy, sort the fwds by total points scored and see if he still looks like value for money.









ok ok ok break it down for my slow old brain ,, so , say i have rowe or another non playing person name him captain and since he doesnt play my vice captain becomes captain? SO as long as my captains team plays after the team from whom i pick as vc i can then put them onfield but cover his donut by making a bench in that position as an emergency. BUT if i dont like my vc score i make some one else captain as long as they havent already played…. Is that pretty much the jest of it? Just checking….


Yes you've got it mate.


Please place your vote on my Forward 3 option.

Any other suggestions please leave a comment.



Okay some questions

Duffield or Atley.

Should zorko be in my side.?

What about the likes of bartel and Lewis?

Feedback would be great thanks.


Out of that bunch Zorko would be my pick so see if you can find a way to fit him in, preferably in your forward line.


Duffman Luke uffman ( Party on bro)
Nice conundrum Young Z over Jimmy the Great Hard one but …Jimmy has new position up Front so DPP is null and void unless injuries swamp Sleepy Hollow. So If your descion is based on J the Great's DPP Zorko every time LOCK




Thoughts? didn't use dpp.
DEF) Goddard, B , Gibbs B , Heppell D , Atley S , Goodes B , Dochertey S , (Terlich D, Coloquhoun S)
MID) Ablett, G , Pendlebury, S , Kennedy, J , Dangerfield, P , Murphy, M , Redden, J , Mitchell, K , O'Meara, J , (Crouch, B , Viney J)
RUC) Leuenberger, M , Vardy, N , (Whitts, J , Currie, D)
FOR) Franklin, L , Rockliff, T , Martin, D , Harper, K , Varcoe, T , Mayes, S , (Kerridge, S , Neade, J)


Vardy won't start the season and I thinks there's better rookie options than Witts and not sure about Harper but he could be a good POD.


thanks im trying to find money to upgrade ruck. possible shuey downgrade in the mid and might get sam rowe


Mick that was the funniest thing I've read since I got the book " Jock's pick up lines " the sad t0hing is Jock's book has not gone to print I beleive I have the original draft I know this as the paper I have is strewn with carlton stains and some kind of sauce ( i'm thinking Soy but it could be really be old Ketchup).
The paper you have writtn is strewn with tears of furstation and "WTF was I thinking" but a very enjoyable read and then I thought of the Movie "Waking Ned Devine" and I laughed more and more…
We must be twins …Only our mother can tell us apart…I was not laughing at you.. I was laughing at myself
Damn …Same boat one oar..paddling furiously but ended up doing circle work…
Funny to watch if your on shore BUT no ones laughing in da boat
Nice work mate..We can have Wake to last year over a Guinness


Glad you got a laugh out of it dool 😀


What are you thoughts of employing the 0 from a ruck in Supercoach draft? Is this too risky as you don’t have as many bench players as in the regular Supercoach.

I was thinking of getting nic nat in Supercoach draft and if he misses first few rounds use him as the 0 captain option and then when he is back he’ll slot straight into my 1st ruck spot. Same strategy could be applied if you get Scotland and a few others that miss the start of the season! What are your thoughts on this idea?

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