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From no AFL knowledge to 810 overall

Brian has an interesting story to tell you. As of early March 2011, he had absolutely no clue what AFL was. Sure, he had some idea merely due to the fact that you’re in Australia, but I did not give two hoots as to what it was. The extent of his knowledge was Tony Modra was an Crows legend.

I have an interesting story to tell you, my story. As of early March 2011, I had absolutely no clue what AFL was. Sure, I had some idea merely due to the fact that you’re in Australia, but I did not give two hoots as to what it was. The extent of my knowledge was Tony Modra was an Crows legend.

However, my circle of friends comprised of a few who are massive AFL fans. Who live by it and talk about it incessantly. Needless to say, they are also massive DTers. So late last year, I decided to join their DT league to see what it is all about. I wanted to test myself to see whether,  based purely on research skills, I could survive and finish respectably. Everyone warned me that you can’t just jump into DT without any AFL knowledge whatsoever. I was optimistic.

Come the last week of March 2011 before round 1, I started my research. I downloaded the Laws of Australian Football 2011 (92 page PDF).  Bare in mind, I had no idea about AFL. I did not know what the teams are except for the main ones, I did not know any of the players.

Based on my research, looking at stats, visiting great sites like these, looking at the 2010 AFL Draft, I selected my first 22. I can still remember it – it took me 3 hours on the Saturday and 2 hours on the Sunday to sort it out.

Fast forward 21 weeks, I am now ranked 810 overall and 3rd in my league (12 wins, 3 losses). For someone who only 6 months ago, had absolutely no clue what AFL was and who has never played DT before, to now be ranked 810 (my highest ranking was last week at 643) is in anyone’s opinion, quite impressive. My aim is to finish in the top 300, which is very doable in my opinion.

It hasn’t been smooth sailing, here are some memorable obstacles along the way:

  • In round 1, I lost because I did not quite understand the “emergency” system and did not realise there was a bye! I lost by about 250 points but would have won if I adjusted put the right players on the field.
  • I didn’t realise this season had byes until after round 1! – for weeks I did not understand what a “follower” really does (I still don’t really know!)
  • For weeks I did not understand the interchange – there were some weeks where I did not place a player on the field because they were listed as an interchange (e.g. Krakouer)
  • Brad Green and Cameron Bruce as part of my starting 22
  • For most of the season, when I watched AFL games, I did not recognise who the players are, I merely know their name and statistics! I had to use my Footy Live iphone/ipad app to find the player, find their number and their photo! It was frustrating!

So, what’s the moral of the story? DT glory can be done. It can be achieved by anyone, even without any background knowledge. I am a prime example of it. With research, dedication and a flexible strategy that is extremely forward looking, anyone can have DT success. Real success, not ranked 8,447 pathetic success, but meaningful top 500 success.

I wanted to share this with you because I think it gives hope to a lot of DTers out there who may be struggling or who think the top 1000 is so elusive that they’ll never reach it. Hopefully this story will show them to never give up.

Cheers, Brian.



  1. PieMan

    August 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Amazing story. I really enjoyed it. Good job mate :)

  2. JimmyBob

    August 9, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    moral of the story – dont overthink DT

  3. Mezzoculo

    August 9, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Ha ha. This reads like one of those Playboy Letters: “I’m just an average guy but one day this amazing thing happened to me involving my year twelve French teacher, the local lollypop lady and a tub full of raspberry jelly…”

    Well done, though. I roped in some mates this season who had never played DT before and, to a man, they are garbage.

    • The Unemployed

      August 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      You read the articles?


      The Unemployed

  4. Reprobates

    August 9, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Good topic to do this I reckon. Time to sign up as a user., so first time poster. Been watching, learning, reading, experimenting as the season has gone second year at having a go. Absolulely no clue last year,.. pick some players you know, a few big names.Franklin, .the Rhyce Shaws’, Maxwells’ of the get my drift. Intro. to Gun’s n Rookies other strategies…G & R’s way to go..learn to hold the trade finger…Wife, dog, cat and gold fish and been neglected.

    Made the finals in my leagues..2 trades left, like half of the posters…I have the get rid of Petrie and Z. Smith conundrum and buy McEvoy or Mumford…gotta be done..but which one? Regardless…I’ve had a ball. In the top 10,000 or so, pleased with that. Thanks guys…


    August 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Also a second year DTer, ranked 872 overall!
    It’s like it was only yesterday I had stiffy johncock starting in my backline with 5 donuts to devour, those were the stress free days! :D

  6. SgetOuttaHere

    August 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I’m trying to do this with Epl Fantasy. Until a month ago I didn’t know any teams except for Manchester United.
    But I’m pretty confident I’ve put together a good team :)

  7. Reprobates

    August 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    ahhh…memories Clutch..the ‘Broughton Dilemma’ springs to mind…of course I ditched him….for Hurn…nice trade that one!

    • Reprobates

      August 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm

      Nice Clutch…top 1 K. must have had a better beer than I.

      • CLUTCH

        August 9, 2011 at 11:19 pm

        thanks dude! :D did far too many sideways trades last year, I’ve learnt my lesson alright! Where are you ranked?

  8. jb

    August 9, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Moral of the story you don’t even need to know anything about dream team to be good at it.. It’s almost all luck ie. I have 2 teams one ranked 83rd one ranked 5k something..

    • Reprobates

      August 9, 2011 at 10:22 pm

      Not so true jb..put a bit of effort in…you will get a good result..if the cards fall your way..if the luck falls your a game of chance.

    • timb

      August 9, 2011 at 11:25 pm

      Completely incorrect. The moral of the story is that you don’t need to know anything about AFL to be good at DT. In fact, for 1st year DTers not knowing anything about AFL is a bit of an advantage. If you know that Simon Black or Maxwell are great AFL players you might select them. If you don’t know that you’ll see their DT stats and won’t.

      Also, luck is an element, but is by no means the main one. If you do no research and just pick a team you think might be good, you won’t finish in the top 10k. You need to research your players; check the form in preseason, know who’s got niggling injuries, who’s likely to get a role change etc, etc.

      • crick

        August 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

        Agreed. I think you’ll find the overall winner 3 or 4 years ago was a guy who was living overseas, didn’t watch a single game and did it all purely by stat trawling.

  9. swanlow36

    August 9, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Amazing story buddy and I had an up and down year this year due to the sub rule and picked the wrong players in round 1.

  10. james_10

    August 9, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Is anyone playing EPL Fantasy this year. I am happy with my team now after weeks of tinkering with it.

    Team is:
    Vidic, Hangeland, Clichy, Huth
    Nani, Malouda, N’Zogbia, Barton
    Drogba, Pavlyuchenko

    • 44chappo

      August 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      whats epl?

    • dyer1313

      August 10, 2011 at 1:00 am

      Don’t select Clichy. He is not a guaranteed starter as City have too many players in each position.

    • 7ator

      August 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      Drogba and Pavlyuchenko are not guaranteed to start, same with Clichy. Barton is out of favour at Newcatle, but they might bring him back in before the start of the season. Might want to make a few changes….

    • Pentyum

      August 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Vidic, Hangeland, Clichy, Huth
      Nani, Malouda, N’Zogbia, Barton
      Drogba, Pavlyuchenko

      Clichy, Barton, Drog and Pav are no good.

      Should look at the likes of Jagielka, Cahill and Hughes in your back line

      Barton is a no go zone. May not play for Newcastle, and no guarantee to get traded to another Prem league team. Look at Taarabt, Henderson, Arteta, Wilshire, Adam

      Forwards you should look at are, Gervinho, Suarez, Rodallega, Bent, Aguerro.

  11. PRo_MoE1144

    August 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    knowledge helps a lot, but DT does take a lot of luck. I knew a lady this year who barely follows football and she made a team with her husbands advice. It ended up getting to no 1 in the world at one point, i think its about 200 now tho. Her team is called “shouldbemydayjob”

    • 44chappo

      August 9, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      was that catherines team or was that another persons team. I remember catherine had 2 teams in the top 10 at one stage.

      • PRo_MoE1144

        August 10, 2011 at 11:44 am

        nah her name was sarah and she reached #1

  12. 44chappo

    August 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    hope to TKOL or the colonel. Doubt it.

  13. Gardiners Compost

    August 9, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    I joined an A-League dreamteam 2 years ago and had similar success without knowing anything about the players. I spent an hour looking from some names and managed to pick the right ones. I was inside the top 50 for the first 80% of the season including a season high of the top 5 about 5 weeks in.

    But sadly my lack of knowledge caught up with me and plummeted down the rankings with a few weeks to go.

    Was good fun and taught me a few things which I have clearly been unable to adapt to AFL DT because my team currently stinks…


    August 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    Good Story. DT has taken on different levels over the last few years. A top 1000 player is no better at DT than somebody ranked 25000. I say this based on the fact that I have finished 69th 2 years ago. And this year ranking 20000 you can still have an average of 2020. LUCK plays a big part. The game has also become less scientific since the modern game has changed scoring capabilities. Numbers of players scoring over 100 has changed dramatically.

  15. Eagleing

    August 10, 2011 at 3:21 am

    Just the finals left so I thought, as I have too much time on my hands, I’d make a ‘hindsight squad’, the squad I wish I had known to start with. Within the original budget. Interestingly had more mid-pricers than I thought. But then my mid-priced gamble to start was Andrejs Everitt. So I think the moral of that story is that hindsight is a wonderful thing, my foresight is not, and Andrejs Everitt can not play footy. Had $1,900 left over by the way.

    DEF: Goddard (471,000) Scotland (386,400) Deledio (371,300) Adcock (262,500) Suckling (212,600) S Martin (145,300) Heppell (132,500) Stanley (106,400) Lower (92,500) Duigan (92,500)

    MID: Swan (511,200) Boyd (478,200) Pendlebury (442,300) Watson (394,100) Shiels (221,500) D Swallow (160,500) Savage (97,600) Christensen (97,600) Curnow (96,400)

    RUC: Cox (351,800) McEvoy (243,700) Tippett (114,400) Z Smith (106,400)

    FWD: Franklin (412,800) Goodes (393,200) S Johnson (393,000) Cloke (354,000) Fyfe (282,900) Nahas (264,300) Petrie (209,700) Krakouer (139,500) Darling (92,500) A Johnson (92,500)

  16. communitarianscb

    August 10, 2011 at 7:07 am

    I am glad I am not the only one who picked Brad Green and Cameron Bruce in their 1st 22! Sad bit is I can’t blame it on not knowing who they are…

  17. Albert Lloyd

    August 10, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I’m like the reverse you

  18. shea87

    August 10, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    It’s sad that all it takes to make a good dreamteam now is some extensive research (not watching all the games, following a team etc), any muppet can come in and place in the top 1000 now.. and not because they love the sport, but because they rely on other people’s knowledge.. thats just the way it is now..

    • Kuruki

      August 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

      Im one of those muppets muahahahaha

      But i will say after joining the DT world i have actually watched footy every week and i know 1,000000000 times more about the game and the players then i did 6 months ago.

  19. BYeates13

    August 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    jobe watson or ROK for Hartlett?

  20. crazymofo

    August 18, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Hey mate it is a bit late but followers play in 3 different positions, the ruck, rover and ruck-rover.

    They are called followers because they follow the ball all around the ground, as opposed to playing in a set position.

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