The Elephant in the Room – part 1
Hello Community, it’s been a little over a month since I last dropped you a line but I can assure you I haven’t forgotten about you, and I certainly haven’t stopped thinking about my 2014 Supercaoch team either.
I have been back to the homeland for Christmas and doing a little travelling around Europe while I’m this side of the world.
I’ve just gone through a few of the photos and can’t help but notice a troubled look across my face in each and every one of them. You see community, something has been distressing me, playing on my mind and I just can’t shake it. There is an Elephant in the room and nobody wants to address it. What are we going to do about the vast majority of elite and super elite midfielders having the round 8 bye?
Now before I go any further there is a very simple answer. Just ignore it. If you are a player who is only going after a league win, then that’s a very simple solution. Pick the best team you can and if your team happens to be loaded with round 8 bye players, then so be it.
At worst you’ll take the loss over round 8 and back yourself in to get enough wins to finish high enough up the ladder to have a good crack come finals. Best case you’ll meet someone else in round 8 with the same mentality and sneak a win with a really low round 8 total. Happy Days! That’s all well and good if you’re just a league player who doesn’t really care about overall rankings, and if that’s the case this article isn’t for you.
However if you’re like me, and concentrate on overall ranking in the hope you’ll put yourself into a position to take out the top price, then round 8 presents a very real problem. Loading up on players with the round 8 bye will cause a significant dent in your overall score and result in a drop off in the rankings after round 8. In may very well put you too far behind the leading pack for you to play catch up over the second half of the year. That’s why I feel we all have to be very conscious when picking our teams that we don’t overload with too many round 8 players, especially round 8 midfielders. That in itself is no easy feat and presents itself with some intriguing, if not problematic selection dilemmas. In case you are not aware there are a lot of very good midfielders sharing the round 8 bye. If I was selecting a team with no consideration for the byes I might very well select 6 or 7 of my 10 midfielders from this bunch.
I’ve highlighted the players I personally have a keen interest in by making them in bold. Giving no consideration to the round 8 bye I could easily see myself selecting both Ablett and Pendlebury from the Super Elite section. They were the only two players who finished with Super Elite Status in 2013 and you’d think there won’t be too many players, if any above them come the end of 2014 either.
Dangerfield is locked away in everyone’s forward line, so there’s another player you will be missing in round 8. Joel Selwood had a superb second half in 2013 and recorder the third highest average last season, and one who I’d like to have in my team in 2014. Both Trent Cotchin and Dayne Beams offer great value for money and two players I would expect to finish 2014 with Elite status so it would be very hard to pass them up.
I always like to fit in one or two breakout contenders in my team too and there are so many to choose from in the midprice range. I see North having a big year with a big chance that someone like a Ziebell or a Cunnington breaking out, and I wouldn’t rule out Nick Dal Santo getting back to elite level either. Then there are a whole host of Gold Coast Suns midfielders ready to explode.
Prestia and Bennell are superstars and represent real value. Likewise Geelong has some holes to fill in their midfield and have two very promising players who seem to have plenty of upside in the form of Christensen and Duncan. Then to round it all out you have a rookie, all be it a very expensive one, in the form of Jack Martin. The talk is big on this kid and even if he averages 10pts a game less than O’Meara in 2013, he’ll still have a great year.
The above example is a very strong midfield in my opinion and one I would be very happy with only for the fact that 7 players will be out during the round 8 bye week. I think we can all agree that this is just too many if you want to have consistent scores through the bye rounds, and be in a position to contend for the top prize when you come through the three week bye period.
So if six or seven round 8 bye midfielders are too many, then what is the ideal number we should be looking to put in our teams?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question but in my opinion I think the ideal numbers you should be looking at is 3-3-4. That is three players from the round 8 bye, three players from the round 9 bye and four players from the round 10 bye. This formation is ideal for the sole reason that it will allow you to maximise your premium’s output, and maximise your trades over the three week bye period. You will only be missing 3 players during the round 8 bye, meaning you have seven on field players in your midfield. If you then make use of your 3 trades for round 9, you should be able to turn 1 or 2 of your round 9 starting players into premiums that had their bye in round 8, thus meaning you’ll have at least 7 players to choose from in round 9. Apply the same principle to round 10 and by using your trades correctly you should be able to add another premium or two that had their bye in rounds 8 or 9, and give you as many as 8 players to select from in your round 10 midfield.
Confused? The best way to explain this might very well be through diagram.
Now the above is a best case scenario but it effectively proves that you can maximize your team’s midfield output and have a full premium midfield as early as round 10 if you start the year with the correct bye and trading strategy. The above example incorporates a 3-4-3 format perfectly. However with the abundance of midfield talent in round 8 there could be a strong argument for going with a 4-3-3 format, with 4 players with the round 8 bye, and three from both the round 9 and 10 bye rounds. This would ensure you’re not missing out on too many points over the first 7 rounds. However anything more than 4 round 8 bye players and you really are going to be in trouble. You’ll be hurt badly in round 8 and will also struggle to make best use of your trades during the byes. I can foresee that those that plan through this bye period correctly will be the ones who will enter the leading contenders for the top prize when all the byes are over.
The next big question we should all be asking is which three or four players should we be picking that have the round 8 bye. Or maybe the more important question is which players do we leave out? I’ll be addressing those questions in part 2 of this article later on in the week.
Final Word: Just when you thought you had your team looking pretty solid. I know right!
Mick the Mad Irishman
27th in Supercoach 2013 https://twitter.com/Da_Mad_Irishman