21 tips for SuperCoach AFL success
SUPERCOACH can deliver incredible highs. There's nothing quite like watching a player you just recruited dominate a game, winning a league match on the last play of the round or nailing your captaincy choice.
Things don't always go to plan but the good news is there is always next week and another two trades (if you haven't used them all already), and some planning ahead at this point in the season can make sure you're riding a lot more of the highs than the lows of the SuperCoach rollercoaster.
Based on years of experience, intense research and a bit of gut feel, here are our SuperCoach golden rules.
DON'T ... LET YOUR HEART RULE YOUR HEAD
It's amazing how often you look at a just completed SuperCoach squad and realise it is half-filled with players from the team you barrack for. While you're likely to have a better understanding of those players than players from other teams, the smart play is to spread the talent around. That way at least you have players to cheer for if your team isn't doing so well. And it also avoids a massive problem when your side has the bye!
DO ... PICK PLAYERS YOU LIKE
You want to enjoy cheering for your SuperCoach players, so don't put a blanket ban on guys from your own side. And one of the best aspects of SuperCoach is it gives you a chance to pick players you love who might play for other teams. Always wanted to cheer for Buddy but aren't that fond of Hawthorn or Sydney? Now's your chance.
DON'T ... THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND
It's easy to get carried away with the possible scoring potential of every player and imagine bargain stars like Tom Liberatore, Dan Hannebery and Toby Greene or sneaky selections like Dylan Roberton, Grant Birchall and Corey Ellis scoring 100 points every week. History tells us that doesn't happen and most players score around what their priced at. A team full of high-risk, high-reward selections is asking for trouble.
DO ... TAKE SOME RISKS
You can't get ahead of the pack by selecting the same team as everyone else. Take a look at those risky players and select the two or three you think have the best chance of success. We have enough trades to correct a mistake or two without our entire season running off the rails.
DON'T ... PICK INJURY-PRONE PLAYERS
Grant Birchall is incredibly cheap this year for a four-time premiership player, but he was really cheap last year too before breaking down with injury - again. The same goes for Harley Bennell, who is available for $167,700 - cheaper than some draftees - despite once having finished with a season average of 102 points a game. That was four years ago, and he's played only two games since. History says he'll struggle to get on the field again this year. That leaves us with a tough call on Nat Fyfe - he has played 20 games in a season only twice in his career. But are you brave enough to leave him out?
DO ... TAKE THE TIME TO GET YOUR STARTING ROOKIES RIGHT
This is the best thing you can do to give yourself the best shot at a successful season. Having cheap players on your bench who are getting games means they can be available to play in your best 22 and, crucially, they will rise in value. There's nothing worse than reaching the midpoint of the year with players on the bench who aren't scoring and aren't worth enough to trade them for someone better. There will be plenty of advice between now and Round 1 to help you get these picks right.
DON'T ... PICK TAGGER TARGETS
Touk Miller didn't just annoy Dayne Zorko last season. When he sat on the Lions star in Round 5 and restricted him to just 10 disposals, 11 clangers and a measly 37 SuperCoach points, it had thousands of SuperCoach owners pulling out their hair. Bombers star Zach Merrett also fell victim to hard tags at different stages last season. Champion Data stats reveal Zorko, Dustin Martin and Rory Slane are among the AFL's most taggable players. Patrick Dangerfield, Nat Fyfe and Dayne Beams, in contrast, are unaffected while remarkably Gary Ablett plays better when he's being tagged.
DO ... LOOK FOR RELIABLE GUNS
The lure of the 130 point score is tempting for everyone who plays SuperCoach, but the reality is producing numbers like that every week is almost impossible unless you're last name is Grundy or Gawn. Players who can produce 90-plus every week will allow you to sleep a lot easier at night than guys who score 120 one week and 50 the next. Rory Laird scored under 80 only once last season, Devon Smith scored at least 77 in every game but one.
DON'T ... PICK PLAYERS WHO WILL DRIVE YOU MAD
Experienced SuperCoach players have a term for players like this: "burn men". These are the guys who you put your faith in, only to be let down again and again. Often that's by something totally within the player's control, making it even more infuriating. James Sicily and Toby Greene are serial offenders.
DO ... LOOK FOR PLAYERS WITH UPSIDE
If every player on your team performs exactly as they did last year, you probably won't finish on the bottom of your league ladder but you won't be lifting the cup either. Maximise your $10 million salary cap by finding players with the most scope for improvement, whether that's a natural career arc (Charlie Curnow), putting an unusually quiet year behind them (Jack Billings) or through returning from injury (Tom Liberatore).
DO ... PICK DUAL-POSITION PLAYERS
Players who can be selected in more than one position are worth their weight in gold. Try to have at least one on each line (with the possible exception of the ruck, although even there a ruck-fwd can come in handy). DPPs give you extra flexibility to cover missing stars without using trades.
DON'T ... PICK TOM MITCHELL
He scored more SuperCoach points than any player except Brodie Grundy last season, but in case you missed the news the Hawks ball magnet will miss the season with a knee injury. Same goes for Carlton defender Sam Docherty.
DO ... PICK PATRICK DANGERFIELD
The Cats ace had what many perceived as a quiet year in 2018 but still finished with a 122-point SuperCoach average, the fifth-best in the comp. He's looking a million dollars in the pre-season so expect him to get closer to his remarkable 136 average of 2017 - and you can pick him in the forward line after Champion Data assigned him DPP status. Lock and load.
DO ... USE YOUR TRADES WISELY
Thirty trades for the season sounds like a lot but it's amazing how quickly they can disappear. Going hard early is fine but make sure you apply the brakes at some point. Experienced players like to use most of their nine available trades during the bye rounds (three per week) and have at least seven or eight left after that for the run home.
DON'T ... TRADE YOUR STARS
SuperCoach is littered with tales of players who offloaded what they thought was a dud selection after a few rounds only for the decision to come back to bite them. After a horrible Round 1 score and some other below-par performances, Zach Merrett was on the nose in SuperCoach in the early part of last season, with many coaches using a trade to get rid of him. But those who kept the faith were rewarded with an average of 114 over the final 12 rounds. Talent doesn't disappear overnight.
DO ... WATCH PRE-SEASON MATCHES
The JLT Series, interclub practice matches and even intra-club hitouts provide valuable intel on new roles and are often the first chance we get to see draftees and trade recruits in action at their new home. That can be invaluable when deciding who to take a punt on in SuperCoach. We're not sure about AFLX though.
DON'T ... GET SUCKED IN BY PRE-SEASON FORM
Take the above advice with a grain of salt. Pre-season games usually have modified rules and shorter quarters, and coaches like to rest older players and experiment with moves that are abandoned when the real stuff starts. Two years ago Melbourne played Jake Spencer in the ruck alongside Max Gawn for the entire pre-season only to abandon the tactic for Round 1.
DO ... JOIN LEAGUES
The best fun in SuperCoach is taking on your family, friends and work colleagues in head-to-head league matches. You can create an 18-team league in which teams play each other once (starting in Round 3) or a 10-team league in which all teams play each other twice (starting in Round 2). Both end with a four-week finals series from Rounds 19-23 culminating in the SuperCoach grand final in Round 23.
DO ... CONVINCE YOUR MUM TO PLAY
DON'T ... LOSE TO HER
DO ... HAVE FUN!
Remember - it's only a game!