The Giant Killer – Analysing the winning SuperCoach Team of 2016

Published by Higgo on


Peter HigginbothamYou may be aware of the biblical story of David and Goliath. The ultimate tale of an unlikely victor. One man defeating a great beast with nothing more than a sling and a pouch full of stones. A giant killer.

Forget about David. In fantasy circles a new SuperCoach legend has emerged.




Introducing the newly crowned King of Fantasy for 2016 – Graeme Fawell and his team of Giant Killers.



Graeme’s winning SuperCoach journey is an intriguing tale of strategy blended with bold trading genius.

Join with me as I follow in his Giant Killing footsteps and analyse in detail the lethal blows that were dealt across the season. Blows that felled all-comers and delivered Graeme into the immortal halls of the SuperCoach Kings.

Starting Squad Selections


Starting Squad Notes

  • The Johannisen selection gave this starting squad a defensive point of difference with an initial ownership rate of just 9.9%.
  • Hannebery and Priddis, both starting at over $600K, resulted in relatively low initial ownership percentages.
  • Both Fyfe and Liberatore were notable omissions from this starting midfield. Significant unique non-selections given starting ownership percentages of 39.8% and 51% respectively.
  • A generous spend in the ruck with the SET-AND-FORGET strategy clearly being employed.
  • A decreased spend in the forward line which goes against the commonly used strategy of “going skinny” in defence.
  • The most significant point of difference play in the Giant Killers starting squad was the Mitch Robinson selection with a starting ownership of just 3.5%.
  • Ruck-Forward swing and Doughnut strategy facilitated via the Wyatt-Cox selections.
  • Robinson, Hall, Crouch & Johannisen all classified as “mid-priced” starting selections

Comparison of Initial and Final Team Selections


supercoach-winner-2016-starting-v-final-squadDisregarding Wyatt and Cox, only seven of the original selections remained in The Giant Killers across the entire season. This seems an extraordinary low number in comparison to recent winners;

2013 – The Dimma Witts – 12 Keepers

2012 – Power To The People – 13 Keepers

2011 – Impromtu SCE – 17 Keepers

How was this year’s winner able to beat everyone with so few starting squad keeper selections?

The answer, in my opinion, is due to two key factors; 30 trades and fast appreciating Mid-Priced/rookie selections.

The luxury of 30 trades does make it possible to be more daring with starting squad selection strategies. Graeme started with four mid-pricers (priced between $250k and $500k) and was easily able to deal with injuries to key premiums such as Rockliff, Barlow and Ablett, while still generating cash and building his “war chest”.

Is this winning team evidence enough to suggest that a straight “Gun and Rookie” strategy is no longer the most effective starting play?

While considered risky selections, mid-pricers can often generate cash just as quickly as rookies. The true value of the mid-pricer comes in the fact that they are just one trade away from a premium – known as stepping stone selections.

By Round 14, the second of the bye rounds, The Giant Killers were at full-premium … or very close to it! By using decisive, astute trading and by moving quickly on rookies, Graeme was able to turn mid-priced and rookie selections into premiums more quickly than the vast majority of teams.

The details of these trade moves, and the true reasons for Graeme’s Giant Killing win can only be fully appreciated by examining each trade move and selection in detail.


Trade Moves

While starting with Hannebury, Priddis and the best possible ruck duo were contributing factors, they played a very small role in Graeme’s all-conquering win. It is time to unveil Graeme’s Giant Killing trading genius.



Trade Notes

  • While starting Robinson and not starting Liberatore were mistakes, these were quickly rectified with decisive early trades; Franklin IN, Rockliff OUT, Warchest builds to $265,700.
  • Moving early on Barlow before his price drop and buying into Zach Merrett early is undoubtedly one of the key contributors toward the win. Merrett was traded in at his cheapest price when his ownership was just 5.5%. Merrett went on to rise to an ownership of 30.6%
  • The corrective moves made in Round 3 were significant, and seemingly a pre-conceived plan as they generated enough cash to facilitate the crucial trade of an injured Crouch up to Parker.
  • The initial Johannisen selection was another factor that weighed heavily into the success of The Giant Killers. Johannisen posted scores of 130 and 123 in the first two rounds of the season. Prior to his price change in Round 3, his ownership grew from 9.9% up to 22.4%. After a 70 in Round 3, Johannisen suffered a major hamstring injury in Round 4, burning all coaches who bought into him late.
  • Cashing in rookies early and jumping on new cash cows was clearly a consistent theme, and yet another factor contributing towards Graeme’s win. When did you cash in Weitering, McDonald- Tipungwuti, Dea, Menadue ….? While you may have made more cash when you did trade these rookies out, your squad development most probably took longer and The Giant Killers were already well up on you in points gained.
  • Trading in Boyd, as with Merrett and Neale, not only gave The Giant Killers an early mover advantage but also a cash advantage. Boyd was traded in for $511,000 at an ownership of 5.3%. Lachie Neale came in at an ownership of just 3.7%.
  • The Rockliff trades were also significant. After moving early prior to Round 3 and trading Rockliff out, another early move was made to trade him back in – a high risk, high reward play. Graeme traded Rockliff back in for his comeback game in Round 11. This was timed to perfection as he was at his cheapest price of just $500,400 with an ownership of just 4.9%. Rockliff scored 204 and as a result over 10% of players went on to trade Rockliff in at a higher price. A Giant Killing move!
  • A mistake! Barlow was traded in and out again the next week. However, all was not lost as Barlow score 119 and generated an additional $33,300.
  • It is interesting to look at how Graeme dealt with Aaron Hall. 20.4% started with Hall and after his red-hot early season run, his ownership rose to over 44%. Trading into Hall was a move that burnt a quarter of the competition! While this gave The Giant Killers another advantage, the best play would have been to trade Hall out early at a price of over $500,000. Hall was not traded out until Round 18. While potential cash generation was lost, Graeme yet again made the perfect trade and bought Nick Riewoldt into his squad. A great move considering that going into the last round, The Giant Killers key rivals did not own Riewoldt. Saint Nick went on to kick nine goals and score 187 against The Lions. A selection that propelled Graeme from sixth position in the overall ranking into first.


What a season, what a ride. The stuff of legends!


Congratulations goes to this year’s most worthy SuperCoach winner – Graeme Fawell.

Thank you also, Graeme, on behalf of the entire SuperCoach playing community, for sharing so openly with us the finer details of your phenomenal season.

There is much to learn and much much more to discuss in the comments below. Please add to my dissection with you own observations and learnings from this analysis.


Kind regards,




Peter J Higginbotham


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I N Pieman

Fantastic article Peter. And thanks Graeme for sharing that info on your fine victory. Loved the balls out grab rocky early & catch the 204. And grabbing NRoo was a brilliant move


I was in a public league with this guy. Lost just one for the year and coasted to the title. Legendary team.


brilliant article Higgo.

Much to be leaned from what he did.

most people will look at his starting team and think it was very similar to there own. It does show that with 30 trades our starting team isn't as important as it once was.

greame had only 5 trades left after round 15 (bye) and 2 with 5 rounds left. that is a big lesson for me, next year i won't be keeping them as much as this year.

the 3 Shark moves are outstanding (One Touch Woner would be proud), Merret, Boyd & neale.

I also note that he always had a reasonable amount of cash avaliable.


Completely unrelated topic, but is anyone able to tell me why they have not run a 'Supercoach Finals' this year? I mean the one you play during the AFL's actual finals series


Great insight. Perfect example of smart trading having only started with 7 keepers.

My takeaway from this was he was brutal in his rookie trading. I like to get maximum gain from my rookies before moving them on (sticking to the breakeven/average rule of thumb) by doing this he achieved full premium much earlier. Something I'll try to incorporate in 2017.

Maybe a bit of luck involved having only 4 trades post byes, but hey, he's got 50k in his back pocket


Great analysis Higgo! Very similar forward line to mine to start off with, which didn't go to well. Surprised that he didn't have many major PODs to start with (Robinson and JJ), but it does show that Supercoach is more about trading, not the starting team


Thanks Peter. Great article. And thanks for sharing Graeme. My first season of AFL Supercoach. The key idea I'll take away is the aggressive trading of cows. 80% of their maximum gain is enough if you continue to pick up rookies ready to rise. Don't underestimate the Wyatt/Cox selections too.

Don't Blush Baby

Brilliant Article, thanks Graeme for your insight and Higgo for putting this together.

Please post before the start of the pre season next year for all to take note

I went from Top 3% this year from 5% last year, might mean a lot to many but a lot to me , thanks to all info posted on this site.

Cheers to all

Big G

Not to have sour grapes, but I think this guy simply got lucky that he had Roo and Treloar in his Round 23 team. Interesting he had the balls to pick z merett so early on.


Sounds like sour grapes


Barlow first two: 60, 61
Zerrett first two: 114, 131

Textbook corrective trade.

Treloar had a 3 round average of 125 prior to round 23. Forced trade anyway as Sloane was out.

NRoo against a rubbish Lions could have done anything. 4% ownership when traded in. Great premium POD.

Big G

Yes, I actually traded in Roo myself for Lids late in the piece. But what are the chances of him getting 187 in the final round together with Treloar's 150 (after going scoreless in the first term) to allow some teams to steamroll overs in the final round. Admit it – some things are pure luck.


Treloars 150+ in the final round was the difference in my league, I had been top all season lost 2 games total, my final team is virtually identical to the overall winners team bar 3 or 4 players but got rolled in the final by 18 points because Treloar went big and I didn't have him. Happens and TBH it's the overall I chase anyway of which I finished about 3000th which is my best finish in SC so far.

Very happy with my season to average 2250 per round just not enough to get the chocies in the end.


Nice work again Higgo's. Are we also able to get an analysis of captain choices? Looks like many of us pretty similar teams to Graeme, (without the trading brilliance), but I found I was badly hurt by average captain choices. Missed points really mounted up early in the season and puts you off the pace quickly.