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Mad Monday: When Good Teams Go Bad

The evolution of Griff’s OpenLetterTo series takes it’s first steps tonight in his new, more analytical series “Mad Monday”. Tonight, he looks at the chaos of this years selection table, and how hard it has been to avoid complete destruction.

Welcome to the launch of Mad Monday.

Every Monday, I’ll look at the issues and events of the AFL Dream Team universe that is affecting coaches from A(arons Abletts) to Z(eebles Zebras). Mad Monday supersedes the previous Open Letter To series, and will seek to both entertain, and educate; however if the need arises, and things get bad enough, an open letter will be written.

Today, I look at the landscape of AFL Dream Team this year to date, and point out that no matter how bad you think it has been for you, it could have been worse.


When Everything Goes Wrong!

It’s been one of those years. Injuries to key players, suspensions when they’re needed least, questionable sub decisions and being faced with the horrible Multi-Bye Rounds (MBRs). It’s enough to make an AFL Dream Team coach willing to ghost ship all the way into 2013. Not only have we seen (what feels like) an unprecedented number of late withdrawals, dodgy selection sheets, and poorly diagnosed injuries, but have had to do it with less trades and fewer bench reserves than in 2011.

As many coaches can now count the number of trades they have left on one hand, I thought I would do what Australian’s do best: feel better by knowing you’re not doing as badly as someone else. Like eating a massive bowl of ice cream whilst watching the biggest loser, or laughing at Lara Bingle after dealing with idiots all day at work, this is my chance to let you know, it’s not as bad as it could be.

The averages, games played, and dollar values are all calculated on data before round fourteen.
The # following players names is the number of team selections in round one.


The Team
The team is an example of just how bad it could have been for coaches this year. Of the thirty players listed, only four (uniques/smokies) were selected in less than 15,000 teams at the start of round one, and of those four, all would have been viable selections as a point of difference. It has a DPP link from the midfield to the forwards, and from the forwards to defence. Put simply, this is a realistic team with realistic selections.

The team is picked based on form coming into round one combined with 2011 form, and features thirteen players you could consider as premium keepers, four players you may have considered as possible mid-price breakout contenders, and the rest are rookies. Not only that, but the team squeezes under the initial salary cap by $5,300. Although the midfield seems to have a soft spot for Carlton, the team as a whole is fairly balanced, with only four teams not being represented in the line-up.

Unfortunately, the team is a perfect example of what coaches have had to put up with this year; it’s turned to crap. The team as a whole has dropped $260,770 since the start of the season, that’s more than Gina Rinehart drops on health food each year.


The Players
Only five players have played every game, two of whom are defenders Karmichael Hunt (#24,834) and Brendon Ellis (#87,791), both of whom average a touch under 55 & 51 each. If no trades have been done, on average 11 players would miss games per week, accounting for at least 27 donuts before the MBRs, and if the coach had wanted to trade out underperforming players, they could only trade sideways or downwards, due to no money left in the bank.

I won’t even speculate on how many trades this team would have made, as those who started with semi-decent teams are looking at less than seven trades remaining. But key injuries to Marc Murphy (8 games, #31,514), Nathan Fyfe (4 games, #92,999), Andrew Carrazzo (5 games, #28,996), Adam Goodes (6 games, #68,081), Shane Mumford (5 games, #27,181), Matthew Leuenberger (3 gmaes, #15,394), as well as putting up with the comings and goings of Ryan Hargrave (9 games, #47,875) and Heath Shaw (8 games, #48,296) would have this coach hovering the mouse consistently over the ‘delete team’ button.

Annoyingly, despite having had two of the three best possible ruck bench options leading into the season (overlooking Giles, who many naysayers claimed would crash and burn), Jarrad Redden (#81,184) and Orren Stephenson (#91,513) have managed just six games a piece, at an average of 53.8. It’s a nice symmetric stat, but not if it’s the one covering the likes of Mumford and Leuenberger’s no shows.

The teams best rookie would be James McDonald (#50,542) averaging 98 and gaining $201,100, however he has only played eight games (66%) this year, taking forever to earn his money, and there would be three rookies who have not even seen a price rise, including the infamous, Tom Couch (#17,000). Combined, your rookies would have made you a smidge over $1 million, with GWS key position forward Jeremy Cameron (#29,409) who can be more hold and cold than the opening tune of Masterchef, contributing almost one fifth of that amount.

From your thirteen possible premium players, you would have one player averaging over 100, that being Joel Selwood (#40,612), who has missed one game, and dropped $89,300. Of the remaining potential premiums, only five have played more than ten gamesCorey Enright (Avg 76.8, #22,267), Chris Judd (Avg 90.1, #26,094), Bryce Gibbs (Avg 82.4, #12,097), Travis Cloke (Avg 79.6, #34,113) and Dustin Martin (Avg 84.0, #92,893). In total, your premiums would have shed $1.32 million, the biggest sole contributor of which is Bryce Gibbs, plummeting $354,700 alone.

The team would be averaging a touch over 1,410 points per week (allowing for Selwood being captain every week bar his missing game) to the start of round fourteen. This would sit you approximately 217,000th in the competition. And the worst part is this is all for having a team that could have been easily expected to score 2,250 in the first week, with only three players resting on the pine (Koby Stevens (#11,020), Sam Kerridge (#15,295) and Tom Couch. Instead the team scored just under 1900 in the opening rouud, with Corey Enright (38), Heath Shaw (56, #48,296), unique Allen Christensen (33, #9,713) and Matthew Leuenberger (64, #15,394) all underperforming.

So take a look at the team below, and thank Gary Ablett Snr that this is not your starting team. Although that said, I did start eleven of them… sh*t!



Apart from Heppell, who could be a direct switch with Enright, is there anyone I missed or anyone who doesn’t deserve to be in this team, keeping in mind the salary cap? How many of these players did you start the year with? Or do you have a suggestion for next week’s article? Let me know! Tweet me @RLGriffin85 or post in the comments below!




  1. Jason

    September 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

    and oh yeah. Great article, Griff.

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