The BIG Issues are back for 2016! For the uninitiated the Coaches Panel bring you dream team information from every angle. From statistical breakdowns, to player and team trends, to strategy to critical moments that will affect you, we’ve got it all covered. Pre Week 1 BIG Issues is all about our starting squads.
Issue 1: Do we start players under an injury cloud, or who have not played NAB at all?
I am very nervous to start players that have not yet played a single NAB game or limited games; looking at you GAJ and Rocky! I am also very nervous to start the players under an injury cloud as well, that includes you Jordan Lewis and Jesse Lonergan! The reason is you just don’t know what you are going to be faced with and AFL Coaches flatly lie to us. The first crack in the dam was Dayne Beams being outed as not being ready for Round 1. Remember back to 2015, you do not want to get on the Daniel Wells circa 2015 version of 2016. Wells scored 46 and 31 in first two rounds of 2015 and then was not cited again, despite many reassurances to the contrary.
When weighing up the decision you’ve got to be comfortable concerning whether the risk is acceptable. Are they premium, mid priced or rookie? What injury they are suffering from plays a role too. Despite my nervousness, I am starting two premiums under injury clouds. I wouldn’t touch a rookie under an injury cloud. Do you really want to start a Darcy Parish over Callum Mills and/or Clayton Oliver?
I find mid pricers a tricky proposition if under an injury cloud. They are mid priced often due to injury, predominantly a long term one. If they are still under an injury cloud from their long term injury it is disconcerting. Some mid pricers we are tipping to break out that are not returning from a long term injury but have picked up a niggle in the intra club or NAB Challenge. If you plan on starting one of these type players make sure you are reading every piece of club released information, news articles and any other reputable source you can get your hands on before they line up in your team. Have a similar type player who won’t affect your structure on standby if the player is not named for round 1.
Issue 2: Rolling lockout for Dream Team
Be very careful not to get too cute with the rolling lockout in Virtual Sports Dream Team. It is the more conservative of the formats, overt aggression and on the fly decision making can hurt you long term. Last year we scrambled during rolling lockouts over whether or not to have Kamdyn McIntosh’s emergency score count for us on field by bringing in a non-playing rookie onto the field for him. I do not recommend undertaking this practice. You have spent all off season finalising your team, the last thing you want to do is make a late change of mind mid round, changing your structure just to fit a new player in.
Do all your playing around on Wednesday, have a few ideas and scenario teams for Thursday that you can swing into action if team lists surprise with premiums, mid pricers and rookies not named that you hoped we would see. Do not make it up on the run, have your preferred structure ready to roll for Thursday evening. For most players in my team I have an acceptable substitute that does not alter my structure too wildy. Maintain your structure you are most comfortable with.
Issue 3: Who are playing Essendon this week?
I anticipate this question will be asked a lot by us this year? Round 1 is Gold Coast… yes I’ll bank 200 points from GAJ, no that is not including the Captain points, yes that means I’m banking 400 points! Consider the run into the bye rounds and post bye rounds this year with your trades. Ideally we’re looking for rookies of the round 14 and round 15 nature that have a soft pre bye run. As the year progresses we’ll be able to get a little fancier when factoring in roles and injuries for example, but for now back in your research. Don’t get too emotionally attached to your rookies and look towards the returning players like Petrecca, Matheison, Freeman types for your rooks to bring in mid-year. You will be seeing these types of players around the bye rounds of 13, 14 and 15.
I’m signing off for the first issue of the BIG Issues. My advice is start a team you think has the potential to score 2100 points in week 1 if the planets align. There are plenty of teams around that are eyeing this number off. Not to say they will, but certainly they’ve got a shot at it. If your team is only eyeing off 1900 on a good day, get a second opinion from an experienced coach as you are potentially in for a world of hurt.
Here’s to a great year!