The Countdown Begins

The 2023 Preseason is reaching its peak, and before we know it, the teams will be named, the ball will bounce, and with that, the season has begun! All your thoughts, research, conversations and team tampering have all been locked away, and the stage is now set.

The weight of the 30 locked-in decisions we make this week plays heavy on the coaches’ minds, so what should we be looking for? Am I jumping at shadows? Is this the correct structure for my unique side?  These questions arise, but I would like to flip the script on this. Instead of asking questions that raise doubt, let’s make decisions with confidence!

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What am I looking for?

A good place to start is to ask what you’re looking for, and the reasoning behind it. Sounds simple enough, and in principle, it is. Coaches over the years destroy their teams, all their research and planning gone because player “x” scored well in a practice game.

To avoid these mistakes, I make a watchlist of names, players I’m interested in, premiums, breakout contenders, rookies, and everyone I’m keen on. Then I write down why I’m interested and following that, I write what I need to see to lock him in.

For example:

Zac Butters,

Why select him: 2 scores over 120 with 52% cbas. 5 scores under 70 from 26% cbas. Avg 107 in last 5. The outcome for port didn’t seem to have relevance on him, he plays well regardless.

What I want to see: 50% cbas in a practice game.

I don’t care what butters scores in a practice game. The numbers speak for themselves if he has a spot in the midfield for port. This is a subjective list, unique to each individual. it’s what you need to see. You may just need to see someone start in the first Centre bounce, play the full game for fitness. Take kick outs.  What do you need to see, what do they need to show you for the to be selected in your side?


The term floating around atm is “Groupthink”. Everyone’s team is considered “Vanilla”. This is a small point but I believe it is important, watch the games yourself and have your own thoughts and ideas. When you watch the game look at the list you made and what you wanted to see, see which players were missing, who was injured. Ask yourself why did Sam Flanders score 130 in the practice game? Was Touk miller playing? Why did Flanders have so many Cbas?

To add to this point we have Facebook Groups, discord servers and all sorts of discussion platforms available to us. What I find amazing is there are so many people asking for advice on a full 30-man squad from people you don’t know. How do you know what they are talking about? Is it your team, or their team? Start discussions about 1-2 players sure, create the conversation about structures etc., but be careful who you take your advice from.

The inside Voice

Now more than ever, there is content everywhere, everyone has a voice, everyone has an opinion on a player, a team, a structure. We are all experts this year because no one is right or wrong. It’s a prediction and a discussion. The fantasy community is great, the content is elite and the information comes in quick.

What needs to be said about this is you need to have your own thoughts first and have someone confirm them, or bring awareness to something you haven’t considered. This Blends into the previous point, but you need to back in your thoughts, what you have seen with your eyes and the research you have done.

For example, you could be hot on Tom Green, obvious breakout candidate, but have you considered the possibility that he only gets to 100 avg? his marks don’t actually improve? The game style implemented by Kingsley has an adverse effect of his scoring? These may be things you haven’t considered. Take a step back and re-assess. If Tom Green averages 100, that could be all we need, anything more is a bonus. Make your own decisions first about what you believe can happen and reconsider when news becomes available.

Ultimately, it’s your team, back yourself in Coach!

The Leadup to the first Bounce

You have done all the hard work, all the information gathering, the hours and hours of podcasts you’ve listened to and now it’s time to choose. To help you do that, list each player individually. Look at their priced at figure. Can they improve on this? Or am I following the crowd? Is there a better value option? Do they have a good run to start the season? Conversely, do they have a tough run? Be honest, you should have a reason, if anyone was to ask you, why you selected a player. Don’t select them because they’re 40% owned and you’re afraid to go against it.

There’s a way to differentiate your team, and sometimes that is by fading the popular guys. Every player you select, should be because of a reason you have come up with. “Oh, he’s my breakout guy”. “Oh him, he’s my captain option”. “He’s my favorite player to watch”. What is the narrative and reasoning behind your selection?

Enjoy The Game

There’s a reason we love and hate this game at times, and we always come back for more each year. We love footy. It is a game at the end of the day, maybe you’re a bit more of a fanatic or maybe you’re just trying to win your leagues. We all have Goals in this game, I hope you’re able to achieve them! Ultimately this is a game, meant for fun and enjoyment around a game we all love. Back yourself in, select the players you want, for the reasons you have decided. Back yourself in and Enjoy the Ride.