Inner demons must be dealt with as lions are sought to fight battles – all to avoid another year of Supercoach blues.
No longer is your pre-season attention focused solely on how your club can manoeuvre its way right through to September.
You watch your rivals with a less evil eye than usual. All to get an edge. Pride is at stake remember.
Picking a side of 30 with only $10 million is no easy feat. Good advice can help you find that explosive start which should see you well on your way towards bragging rights over your mates.
1. DON’T BE CHEAP
Often the price tag attached to a player is enough to eliminate him from your considerations, and that logic is completely understandable.
There is a salary cap to manage, and it can be incredibly difficult when several players are priced over $600,000. But just ask yourself one thing: is a saving of $200,000 really worth it when Scott Pendlebury is averaging over 20 points a game more than his replacement?
Choosing a proven point scorer also takes drama out of the captaincy dilemma, a player like Pendlebury is proven to be a safe bet to provide well over 250 points, which normally sets your side up for a comfortable victory.
2. AVOID MID-RANGE PLAYERS
Obviously, there can be exceptions to this rule, players returning from injury can offer excellent value, but usually there are better options available.
Generally speaking, a mid range priced player (usually between $250,000 and $400,000) will provide mid range scores, and with options to either downgrade to a first year player who will only increase in value or upgrade to a genuine premium, these mid-range players really should be avoided.
Is Justin Sherman at $366,300 better value than Joel Corey at $521,600? Can Sherman provide more than Will Hoskin-Elliot at $181,600? When you compare the averages and their potential value increases, there is no justification for selecting the mid-range player.
3. AVOID THE ‘SOPHOMORE SLUMP’
Ultimately this rule is very similar to the last, and that’s because after one season players are usually going to be priced in the mid-range bracket.
At times, it can be hard to ignore players entering their second year of footy, memories of a young player scoring well above his expected output in his debut season can cloud the strict judgement required.
It can be difficult to look beyond the high potential many of these players exhibit and remember that most of these players are yet to turn 20 years old, and are still finding their way in the AFL.
Is David Swallow ($431,100) really worth it when you could just as easily spend another $200,000 on Chris Judd ($626,400)? Is it value for money when you could save $259,500 by selecting Chad Wingard? There are too many options to rationalise selecting someone who is not going to guarantee what others will.
4. NEVER WILLINGLY TRADE OUT STAR PLAYERS
Sometimes, a star will enter a poor patch of form. He may have a slight muscle strain, he may have been dealt a vicious tag, or he might just have had an off night.
2011 saw several players do exactly that at different stages of the year, each dealing a savage blow to their Supercoach prospects.
Of these, Dane Swan was the most obvious. He scored below average for a month before leaving the country for recovery in Arizona.
Most Supercoaches were concerned, several enough to warrant trading him out of their sides, a choice which would prove to be costly, with the Brownlow medallist scoring over 100 points in his first ten games upon his return.
Premium players can be frustrating; they are expected to score well consistently, and when they don’t it can be the difference between a win or a loss. But you must persevere, because you can rely on these players to bounce back in the vital stages of the year.
5. TRADES CAN WAIT
While it can be important for players aiming for the $50,000 to get their team right immediately, wasting trades in the first two weeks only damages a side.
Without any league matches or any player price adjustment in the first two weeks, the need for trading is minimal. Rather, wait for Round 2 to conclude before deciding whether any change is necessary.
Although two weeks is not enough to gauge how someone is going to perform over a year, attempting to read a player’s form line with only one match finished is madness.
By waiting until the end of Round Two, you not only get a better grasp on who is set for a big year but you can also deduce what sort of price changes will be occurring. This will allow you to choose the right player for the right situation, whether it be a premium you missed or a cash cow about to explode.
6. BE TIGHT WITH YOUR TRADES
If you’ve followed these steps then you should have the beginnings of a strong Supercoach squad. However, selecting the right squad is not the only step you need to take to have a successful season, nor is it the most important.
Above all else, you must use your trades sparingly. Although the new ‘undo’ function will make things easier, waiting until the teams are announced to make a decision is simply the best course of action.
Impulsively moving players on a Monday morning after a close defeat is a recipe for tragedy.
Don’t make the mistake of unwisely trading throughout the season as eliminating unnecessary trades will put your side in a powerful position once finals begin.
Making multiple mistakes whilst trading often cripples sides so it is imperative that a few trades are kept for emergency situations.
With a few trades kept up your sleeve, you have the luxury of being able to create a contingency plan should one of your players be unable to play.