Traders Anonymous – 2016 Season in Review
Wow, what a year 2016 was. I think I speak for all of us when I say 2016 has been of the most unpredictable NRL seasons on record, which in turn has delivered what I consider to be the toughest year of SC I have taken part in. I think we saw an unprecedented amount of controversy (and suspensions for bringing the game into disrepute), numerous SC-relevant players leaving the NRL throughout the year and/or suffering season-ending injuries, an unexpected late-season cameo from one of the most SC-relevant players ever, and the constant and recurring threat of high ankle sprains (a.k.a. syndesmosis a.k.a. inevitable final team list shenanigans being more guaranteed than a 78th minute Kenny Edwards cramp when the Eels are up by less than 4 #munstergate #tturbogate).
Nevertheless, we all survived to fight another day. Bring on 2017 I say! Before that though, I now present part 1 of my 2016 Season in Review. I promised a few of you guys that I would look back at my season, and typically (for me) this season review has just grown and grown as I looked back on my year. Hopefully it is an interesting read to keep you all entertained over the offseason, as well as containing some insights on how I approached the season at the beginning, during and towards the end as well.
Just as an aside, this is a lengthy read and it is definitely geared towards overall players in terms of strategy. H2H players may find some things interesting but perhaps less useful.
This is where I set my team up for the year. Research and planning goes a long way in SuperCoach, and most likely it can keep you in a position to be competitive even if you’re making some incorrect calls along the way.
The purpose of my research was threefold:
- To identify any underpriced/overpriced guns – pretty self-explanatory;
- To get a realistic idea of how many good quality cheapies were likely to be available; and
- To work out the best guns to start the season off with in order to give myself the best chance of being up the top end and within striking distance of the leader at the start of the byes.
First port of call was to ensure I was on top of the NRL rule changes and also any SC-specific scoring changes (none this year). The major NRL rule change was obviously the drop in interchanges from 10 to 8 which I thought would have some impact on forward rotations but possibly of more relevance, have an impact on the make-up of most teams’ benches. The other rule change I thought would be relevant was the supposed tighter policing of the play-the-ball (i.e. blowing penalties unless there’s a “genuine attempt” to get the foot to the ball and not just playing ‘tunnel ball’ – I’m looking at you Andrew Fifita). I expected an average deduction of 2-4 points per game from him and some other serial offenders… but that rule change fell by the wayside pretty quickly.
From that initial review of rules, I decided there would be minimal SC impact from the 2016 rule changes. So I moved on to identifying potential keepers/mid-rangers who were underpriced/discounted for various reasons. This included:
- guys that hadn’t played much or any of the 2015 season (7 games and under) which would see them get a discount on their previous average (e.g. Surgess, Slater, Rochow, etc.);
- guys who would be likely to increase minutes due to a change of club (e.g. Merrin being under-utilised by Mary at the Dragons, and the likelihood that he would get bigger minutes at the Panthers, and conversely JDB with Merrin leaving);
- players whose role at the club had changed (e.g. Carty moved from a bench impact player to starter playing big minutes);
- players who I expected to kick on based on their development and positive signs shown in the back half of 2015 (e.g. JTurbo, TTurbo).
It was at this stage where I had written down Surgess, Slater, Woods, Rochow, Merrin, Carty, JTurbo, TTurbo and put DCE and Mbye on a shortlist (finally getting a fixed position, goalkicking, etc.).
This is where the site was gold. The offseason ‘Players of Interest’ articles are always a great read, as well as the offseason crew just spitballing and offering insight and observations and all types of players. Hopefully we’ll see more activity in the offseason this year as it really was an invaluable time and players who wouldn’t have been on the radar were raised and considered.
Second priority was to start getting an idea of who the likely ‘must-have’ cheapies would be, and who else was on the radar for potential debuts down the track. Do your own research, reading, etc. the occasional pre-season team training articles were often boring and repetitive but it helped to get names on the radar. Finalising the list of cheapies however, was easy. Simply put, Mega Guide. Just get it, read it, analyse it and you’re set for the start of season in terms of cheapies, as well as giving a lot of quality chat about other players too. JFH only got on my radar after Wacko Jacko put him there via the Mega Guide. Also I’m pretty sure I was scared off Vincent Leuluai after it was pointed out in the Mega Guide that Robinson usually gives his rookie bench props minimal minutes, so he would always take too long to make (limited) money for my liking.
As a general rule, I don’t like bench prop rookies. They’re usually slow burners, and it’s always risky because we’re buying them sight unseen from round 1 (trial matches can only tell you so much for bench props as we don’t know how the minutes will be shared in a full-strength squad). I can be a bit more convinced when it comes to a rookie that you may have seen 2 games of to at least get a sense of their PPM, how many minutes they’ll get, and if they have a solid SC-friendly playstyle (i.e. they run hard and bust tackles, enjoy a cheeky offload and can crash over for a bit of meat). Anyway, moral of the story is “go with rookie backs where possible”, as they will usually explode in value much easier.
Third thing to look at was the early season draw. As we’re all aware, the dreaded salary cap means that no one can field a gun 17 from day dot. So I wanted to make sure that the guns I was going to start with would hopefully get me off to the best possible start. Plenty of good offseason chat about this once the draw came out, so make sure you get involved in the 2017 offseason this year! This is where I locked in Milford, Teddy, Smith, Chambers and Croker purely based on their opposition and where they were playing through the first 8-10 rounds. It also lead me to picking Parker over Gal as my premium forward option (expecting lots of goalkicks due to the easy early season draw for the Broncs).
Again, offseason crew were invaluable here. As an example, I specifically remember Spitty (thanks mate) being a big advocate of the Tigers’ early season draw including pointing out where several of the home games would be played (where Teddy had scored extremely well last year), and that was one reason Teddy ended up locked in as one of my first three picked along with Milford and Smith. Before this, I had considered making Slater my no.1 fullback and then spending the extra coin in other areas.
Finally, bye planning. Yes, it is necessary to have looked at the big byes, which teams had the better coverage, etc. as I’m a firm believer that when you’re struggling with a 50/50 option, you go with the option with the better bye coverage when you’re an overall player. It just makes sense and it was ultimately a rule that served me well in the pre-season as well as over the course of the year.
It’s important to note that having analysed the draw and bye schedule closely, I had already pencilled in round 15 as the round which would make or break my season. Looking at the teams that would be playing that round, I saw that it was highly likely that I would be bringing in guys with SC pedigree like SJ, Manners, JBrom, Tohu, etc. as bye coverage but also keepers for the year. I felt that if I traded smartly in the first 12 rounds, I would have built up sufficient team value and trades in hand to be able to bring in almost all the keepers I wanted and have a strong team by mid-season.
Round 1 Team Selection
So, prior to Round 1 TLT, I made sure to have a list of “must-have” and “ideally-have” options already worked out so that once the first teams list come out on that final Tuesday 5pm, I wouldn’t be sitting there like a deer in headlights trying to process 16 team lists without any direction.
First thing I did once the game opened was to find my “must-have” cheapies and start locking them in. I thought that this year, there was a dearth of quality CTW and FRF/2RF rookies. A few, but definitely not as many as some prior years. But the halves, man, there were some good’uns in there! Hastings, ATay, JNiko, Feeney (well, no one knew any better at that point!), Rankin, Barba at a slightly higher price… there were options. Let me point out at this stage that any one who started with CWalker were bloody lucky. He looked for all money to be a one game wonder with Keary only missing round 1 due to suspension. Then of course ARey gets injured and Cody got an extended run…
Anyway, I digress. Knowing how many quality cheapies you could confidently include in your team meant you’d then be able to work out how many guns and mid-rangers you could afford.
I had locked in Smith, Chambers, Croker, Parker, Milford and Teddy for their draws. I had Carty, Merrin, Woods, Surgess in as my underpriced guns (and therefore, good value) and then I had Evans, Rochow and TTurbo as my speculative mid-rangers. I really wanted to start with JTurbo as well, but Barrett as a new coach and uncertainty over the Manly bench’s minutes meant that I felt that having more than three speculators was a bit risky… hence why I went with Woods as a more proven option. How that turned out to be so wrong…
Here’s how Traders Anonymous finally lined up at the commencement of Round 1.
Merrin Woods Evans Aloiai
Surgess Parker Carty Rochow Carter JSaif
Croker Chambers TTurbo Copley NGreen Benry Mitchell
Emphasis on “commencement of round 1” because that wasn’t the end of round 1’s team selection for me! JFH hadn’t been named, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Aloiai as I had zero trust in Taylor as a coach, I had my reservations with Copley in a new team and new city, and my gut was telling me JTurbo was going to kill it (and not just because I did the Player of Interest article on him during the pre-season haha).
So, mid-round 1, as final team lists were named, JFH popped up and he came in for Aloiai #winning, I saw Manly’s bench with Parcell being carried as a bench hooker and JTurbo came in for Woods, then Copley became Lafai (yes, you may laugh now – one of the few selections all year that looked better on paper than it did in the actual games haha). Hindsight would have told you that Hymel Hunt was a great option but Madge naming Auva’a on the extended bench was not confidence-inspiring.
Please keep in mind that all trades made mid-round 1 are still considered “pre-season” trades so they weren’t deducted from your season’s allocation of 40. Definitely worked out well for me this year. Anyway, this is how my squad of 25 lined up at the end of round 1:
Merrin JTurbo Evans JFH
Surgess Parker Carty Rochow Carter JSaif
Croker Chambers TTurbo Lafai NGreen Benry Mitchell
I only had just over $6k left over in the kitty with that team, but I was happy as I already had 7-8 players (subject to Origin availability for Teddy) who covered the first big bye round, 9 genuine guns, 2 potential guns (JTurbo and TTurbo) and solid back-ups for my reserves like Rochow, Carter, Evans and potentially Green or Benry. Or so I thought… it didn’t take long for some of those thoughts to be quickly changed!
In the next part I’ll be working through a breakdown of my trades and scores throughout the year and provide a bit of insight as to what I was thinking at each point and where I was heading with my trades.
Ее мысли прервал шипящий звук открываемой пневматической двери. В Третий узел заглянул Стратмор. - Какие-нибудь новости, Сьюзан? - спросил Стратмор и тут же замолчал, увидав Грега Хейла.