Five days. That’s very, very alarming. Five panic-filled days of Supercoachers all over our great nation scrambling to assemble the perfect structure, filled with unbeatable premos and money-making rookies.
This should be easy, right? After all, we’ve had since January – and yet many of us are filled with dread, rather than filled with excitement, about the beginning of the season for our beloved game.
I thought I had mastered it, the unstoppable team that would take me to $51,000 ($1000 from claiming glory in my annual cash league). And then Nic Nat became a doubt.
So I restructured and created an even greater team, this one bigger, badder and burlier than the first. Of course, disaster struck again. We were hit with the shortage of forward line rookies, and my head started spinning. What do I do?
A thousand thoughts swirled in my head, each one riskier and more absurd than the last. It was then I took a week off to find my inner zen among the great Zhangye Danxia mountains in China, under the mentorship of Bodhidharma, the legendary Zen Master, and winner of the first ever Supercoach, way back in 572 AD. (When $50,000 was worth a lot more than it is now!)
It was on the 7th day, after a week of total spiritual awakening, that I began to see the 2018 season more clearly. And it occurred to me:
This is going to be a season like no other.
We’re going to have to take some risks. We may have to rely on faith, rather than facts, to achieve glory. We may have to endure the pre-season mockery of our Guns n’ Rookies friends, whose teams are filled with all the best $500k+ players.
And the scariest part of all – we may have to pick Scott Lycett.
‘Wow, that’s a lot of money tied up in the backline! Defenders always drop in value, you could be using that money to upgrade your other lines!’
If these were your first thoughts, you make a good point. Defenders DO have a history of dropping in value, and premos can often be picked up sub $500k. But where are premierships won from, community? The backline!
A solid defence is the foundation of a solid attack, and premiership winning teams ALWAYS have a robust defensive structure. This is why my strategy this year is to set and forget a large chunk of the backline, so I can focus on securing the other lines when the superstars stand up and reveal themselves.
Michael Hurley, Rory Laird and Michael Hibberd are almost guaranteed top 6 defenders, so I figured I would secure their services for the 2018 season, rather than banking on a strong forward line, where the top 8 may not be as cut and dry.
Shane Savage has swapped with Kade Simpson almost daily, but I have decided to take a punt on Savage, as he averaged 100 points a game in 2017 after becoming a rebounding defender. I’m confident in all my defensive rookies provided they are named, they all played well in JLT and would be hoping for a good season.
Again, I know what you’re thinking. I always know what you’re thinking. ‘Post MaSloane has been sucked in to Mitch Duncan’s JLT hype! He can’t survive in Geelong’s midfield!’
Logically, that makes sense. With the big three at Geelong, how could Duncan possibly be afforded the midfield minutes he had last year? But if there’s one thing I learnt from my enlightening week with Zen Master Bodhidharma, it’s that faith and belief will always trump facts and logic.
Did you know that scientists have proven that bumblebees cannot possibly fly? And yet, what do bumblebees do? Bumblebees fly anyway, purely because they couldn’t give a damn what scientists tell them they can or can’t do.
Think of Mitch Duncan as a bumblebee. Besides, Duncan is a pure midfielder, and while Dangerfield and Ablett will rotate through the forward line, and Menegola will play on a flank, the only place I can see Duncan playing is on a wing or in the guts, the two positions he played for the 2017 season where he averaged 109.8 Supercoach points. Been locked in to my team since before JLT.
The other midfielders sort of pick themselves, despite the abundance of uber-premos we have in the engine room for 2018. Patrick Dangerfield, Josh Kelly and Nathaniel Fyfe are all locks in my book, as they will finish among the top few scorers for the season.
If Patrick Dangerfield misses one week, I’ll keep him and play another rookie on field. If he misses two or three, I may downgrade him to Tom Mitchell and keep the remaining cash in the bank. This is the only way I can see that will allow me to get him back in.
You can make cases for a lot of other players, but the problem you have is you can’t pick them all. Bummer. Rory Sloane was in my team majority of the preseason, but has been edged out by Patrick Cripps for two reasons: his price and the round 14 bye.
In one of my all-time terrible picks, I had David Armitage for the entire 2016 season. He had come off an average of 109.7 points the year before, and I started him for around $600k. He averaged 87.3 that year, playing as a tagger, and was placed on my NEVER AGAIN list.
Unfortunately, I have a habit of making the same mistakes twice, and Armitage is back in my team. He looks to be playing as an inside midfielder again, and if he can average 95 points before the byes he’ll make us a stack of cash, while generating more points than a rookie in the process. I wish I had more self-discipline if I’m honest.
Max Gawn should be in every team. We keep harping on about him, but for the love of God, please pick him. You won’t be disappointed.
Scott Lycett I’m not as keen on. He played terribly in JLT, and his job security is anything but guaranteed with the return of Nic Naitanui. I don’t really want to select him. But someone I do want to select is Matthew Kreuzer, and I’m hoping that Lycett will make a quick bit of cash so that I make an easy upgrade to Kreuzer once he loses his downright obnoxious price tag. Fingers crossed, community.
This is the line I’m most unsure about. I like F1-F4, I really do. Isaac Heeney should be one of the top forwards for 2018, so he’s locked in. Michael Walters and Devon Smith both have ‘breakout’ written all over them, with an increase in midfield time, so they’re locked in.
The pick I’m most excited about, though, is David Mundy. I wrote an article in the preseason explaining why he is a solid selection, especially with the uncertainty we have in the forward line this year. This pick could really set me ahead of the pack, or leave me lagging behind, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Mundy’s a gun. I’m backing him to the hills.
What I’m not as sold on is the structure, with two on-field rookies exposed. We have next to no forward rookies available, and even the ones we do have don’t seem to be good scorers, with the exception of Bailey Fritsch. We have two options.
We could panic and clog up our forward lines with uncertain keepers and mid-price risks, or we could have some faith that the Supercoach gods will deliver us what we need. I’m banking on the latter. Pending available rookies, this is the structure I’m gonna ride all the way to $50,000. Wish me luck, I’ll need it.
The keen eyes amongst you wiill notice I don’t have any rookies exceeding $123,900. Every year I pick the cheaper rookies, as I generally see more upside in them despite potential point output. The money you save in not selecting top-tier rookies can be spent on making sure your premiums are the best of the best. Job security can be an issue, but I’m happy to cull cash cows early if they show signs of slowing down.
Round 14 terrifies me. I only have 6 keepers currently playing in that round, so I’m well and truly up a well-known creek with no paddle. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, though.
So there it is, community. My team for the 2018 season. Pick it to pieces if you like, but just know that I’m very high-D Choleric, and enjoy arguing just for the sake of arguing, so the only opinion I generally like is my own. Still, I encourage you to voice your opinions!