Mad Monday: Lessons Learnt
For some, today really is Mad Monday. You’ve been bundled out of the Dream Team Leagues with your tail between your legs and a vengeance for blood against late withdrawals. For others you go on; striving towards victory. But no matter where you finish, there’s always next year. Just don’t make the same mistakes twice! Welcome to Mad Monday!
As we make our way to the completion of the AFL Dream Team season, it’s important to take time to reflect on the season that has just been. A closing chapter if you will. For some, it was a year of highs, for others, it’s been a year to forget. Dream Team preliminary finals are just around the corner, and the final show down is here. Where ever you stand, it’s never too early to reflect on where you are, how you got here, and what you will never ever do again.
Today, I look at the top ten lessons learnt from 2012. Welcome to MadMonday.
I will not draft Ross Lyon defenders
It’s a big call, but I think I will live out a happy Dream Team existence if I never again draft, or trade in, a defender who plays under Ross Lyon. Remember when Sam Gilbert had a breakout season rebounding off half back for the Saints? That was sweet! Remember the following year how Ross decided that Mr Happy Snap would be better off as a forward? Yeah…
This year the Lyon Effect hit Paul ‘The Late Withdrawal’ Duffield and Greg ‘they hate him so much they named a diagonal after him’ Broughton. Not only did these two defenders have their worst seasons for a long time, somehow Ross Lyon managed to shift their scoring prowess to Michael Johnson. Oh yeah, and he gave Zac ‘Lurch’ Dawson another home!
I will not trust club doctors
From Scotland to Franklin, Pendlebury and Fyfe, no one had any idea how long players were injured for this year. Or if they did, they sure as hell didn’t give it to us straight.
Next year, when I hear that one of my players get an injury, I’m going to book myself a doctor, walk in with a limp, tell them the injury and that I couldn’t see my regular doctor, and ask how long I’ll be out for. Thanks to a Medicare rebate, it’ll be the best $37.50 I’ll spend all year.
I will not have a bye-round strategy
Byes suck, okay? They just do! Unless there are some dramatic changes to the amount of trades and depth of benches next year, I will take every donut I have coming my way, if it means I don’t have to carry Brendan ‘is he even out there’ Whitecross or ‘Soft as a’ Daisy Thomas just because they suit my bye structure.
Nobody likes a donut! Actually, lots of people like donuts, they’re delicious; and just look at the average BMI of this country… Hold up, let’s try this again.
Nobody likes not scoring, or worse, getting a dud score, especially when it is from someone you don’t even find yourself attracted to. If you have to face byes, face them with those players you like. When riding those torrent seas, set yourself up with a dreamboat like Matthew Pavlich instead of driftwood like Travis Cloke.
Though shall not make a DPP player captain
Everyone remember that funny occasion back in round ten; Ablett was a tad out of form, Swan was missing and Boyd was coming up against Sydney? It was as though as a collective we thought: this is it! This is our chance to roll the dice. Pick Beams, Sidebottom, Deledio or Goddard as our captain and reap the rewards! Well… We were idiots.
Goddard (111) and Deledio (102) made respectable scores, beating out Boyd’s (106) score; just. Beams (98) struggled to make an impact but still (figuratively) limped home. Sidebottom (68) on the other hand, well, we just ruined everybody’s weekend didn’t he? Granted Pendlebury (literally) limped off and into the red vest after half time, as a precaution on 59, but Ablett managed to make everyone cry (either sad or happy tears) as he racked up 53 possessions, and 186 points.
From now on, if Swan is not playing I go Ablett. If Ablett is not playing, I go Swan. If neither are playing I go Boyd, and if none of them are playing; it’s probably a bye week, so who gives a stuff anyway?
I will only draft rookies named to play rnd1
Walk the walk before I believe the talk
How about that Bryce Gibbs! Best preseason ever. Hot form! Going to have a bigger year than Marc Murphy! And what about that Jason Porplyzia feller? More midfield time, likely key play maker in the Crows, he’ll have a ripper start to the year. What’s that you say? Dayne Beams is likely to play forward pocket most of the year and Steele Sidebottom is going to be miles ahead of him? Put it this way; if you picked your team based on preseason roles and coaches talk, you’d have started the year with Chris Masten and Tyrone Vickery.
I will learn to commentate my own games
Not exactly a lesson directly related to AFL Dream Team, but more the state of AFL television broadcasting as a whole. As we enter the second year of Channel Seven’s five year deal, I shall spend my preseason in counselling, forgetting meaningless phrases and instead I will learn to correctly pronounce players names, look up their actual nicknames and refer to the game at hand, and not what I think I am watching.
For instance, if the Swans are playing the Giants, I will talk about Dylan Shiel, not Dylan Shiels. I will not explain that Devon ‘Fritz’ Smith is from the Geelong Falcons Footy Factory whilst rhetorically asking viewers ‘did they see that’ whilst directing them to Fango. I will not explain that the Swans love playing shut down, low scoring footy, as they haven’t done that for about three years. Instead I will entertain my friends on my knowledge of the game at hand.
If I fail to achieve this commentary skill, I will just mute the TV and we can all watch the football to the soundtrack of the Benny Hill Show. At least that way some of the umpiring and Match Review Panel decisions will seem at home.
Team Selection lodgements mean nothing
As if Thursday nights weren’t bad enough with having to sit through twenty-two minutes of tabloid news to find out teams wasn’t bad enough, it’s becoming more and more evident that the thirty seconds of team news produced by channel seven, and supplied by the clubs are about as inaccurate as Tony Shaw’s commentary.
Clubs are now openly listing players they don’t think will play or are heavily under an injury cloud. Instead of listing them as emergencies or just omitting them when the travel department hasn’t even purchased a plane ticket for them, the clubs name these players on the ball, or at full forward. Not only is this useless and opposition always prepare to take on the best opposition likely, but it essentially spits in the face of the members and fans who go to games to see these players in action.
In the world of Dream Team, it destroys scoring and trust within an official AFL sanctioned game, and although within the rules, I would not be surprised to see the AFL look into some form of review of the current system in the off-season. Oh, and just because they are named on the ball, doesn’t mean they’ll avoid the green vest.
Key forwards are a thing of the past
Much like dropping the ball or rewarding the player who goes in hard after the ball, key position forwards will be a distant memory in Dream Team in years going forward. Cloke, Franklin, Walker, Riewoldt (x2) and Petrie may reach some massive highs, but nobody will want to select Dream Team players who have to rely on midfielders getting them the ball.
Reminiscent in the evolution to the Brownlow Medal, Dream Team is fast becoming a Midfielders paradise, where unless a player has midfield time or DPP status, like the umpires, coaches will not be giving them three votes. They just rank too high on the Greg Broughton Diagonal.
You play the cards you’ve been dealt
It’s a game of luck. We all know it, but sometimes we need to be reminded of it. Griffin as a late out hurt, and helped many. Some got Giles emergency 115, other faced a donut. Franklin’s late out gave some people Adam Goodes emergency score, others got Mitch Robinson’s. We play this game due to the combination of skill, and luck. It’s all about finding the right balance. The day this game becomes more about luck than skill, is the day coaches can truly say: FMDT.
What lessons have you learnt this year? What do you hope to change next year in your own approach to the game? Let me know via twitter or in the comments below. And as always…