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Warne Dawgs 2012 in Review

Phew! AFL Dream Team 2012 is over. It has been a massive year for us here at DT Talk with a huge increase in traffic and we continue to build a fantastic community with some of the best minds in the game giving their thoughts in their brilliant articles. Come on a journey of 2012 with me as I review the 2012 AFL Dream Team season.


Phew! AFL Dream Team 2012 is over. It has been a massive year for us here at DT Talk with a huge increase in traffic and we continue to build a fantastic community with some of the best minds in the game giving their thoughts in their brilliant articles. I’d like to personally thank Tbetta, Dunny, TeeTee, McRath, Adzman, Rainman, Aki, JimBob, Tom, Corey, Jakub and everyone else who produced quality blog posts (regular plus the one offs) and awesome talking points for the thousands of coaches who visit DT Talk every day. Thanks heaps to everyone who comments on articles in a positive way… answering questions, providing analysis, posting news, etc making us the first stop for many DT coaches.

We will have plenty of stuff happening here over the pre-season with articles looking towards 2013 including Trade Week analysis, the Drafts and of course the popular Deck of Dream Team. The Assistant Coach Team Picker will be released mid-December (the FanFooty Planner will be online very soon) so we’ll have plenty of ‘My Team‘ posts to discuss your team. All of this – along with other random strategy – will get us to the opening of DT on February 1 when it all ramps up another notch. Stay tuned for Spring Racing Carnival chatter as well as the Big Bash League Fantasy competition that was heaps of fun last year.

Anyway… thanks once again to everyone who made DT Talk an enjoyable experience this year. Now… here’s my review of 2012!

The Warne Dawgs in 2012

In what has felt like the longest season of my 10 year AFL Dream Team career, we have made it to the end and once again I have learnt a lot on my journey.

2012 was a unique year. After managing single byes last year with some multi-bye rounds, we thought that this would be easier… but with a 3 week stint of 6 teams having byes each round, a truckload of injuries/misinformation from clubs and a year full of late withdrawals, things were pretty tough for all DT coaches this season.

I play for ranking. Mainly due to the credibility we want to get out of running a website like this. As the season draws near the end, we do take our leagues seriously and some decisions are made based on the bragging rights associated with winning out main mates league.

Below is my starting squad for this year.

The Warne Dawgs as it stood for Round 1, 2012.

As the first week came and went, I had a full squad of players… all of my rookies played and I was ‘happy’. Well, not entirely… most of the rookies I played on my ground were outscored by dudes on the bench. Adam Kennedy‘s 116, James McDonald‘s 98 and Tomas Bugg‘s 97 all hurt a fair bit after the first partial lockout but I was happy in the fact that I had 30 players who were playing. I was ranked 41,481st after the first week and then went out to 49,038th after Round 2. This is the lowest I have ever been ranked in DT in my life… but I was thinking all will be good as I’ll trade smartly and will end up alright.

My scores for the season – with rankings – are below.

The Warne Dawgs scores across the 2012 season.


I usually go into the season wanting to use two trades after Round 2 to jump on the rookies I have missed or fix some glaring errors. This year, I didn’t think I missed anyone… except for Toby Greene, but I was happy to go with who I had selected.

My first trades was for the injured Shane Mumford to get in the bargain Hamish McIntosh and then what I made an art form of this year, Jack Grimes (1 week suspension) for Brendon Goddard. The Mumford trades was good, but the Grimes one should have been held. Goddard didn’t have a great season and Grimes was pretty good after I dumped him (and got him back in Round 13).

My other silly trades was getting rid of Gary Ablett (2 week injury) for Dane Swan. While it meant I got the DT Pig in Swanny, I could have easily used upgrades to get him rather than go through with this plan. Later, I dumped Swan for Ablett (go figure) a couple of weeks before the byes. This was done because if he had have been gone for 3 weeks, I would have ended up a bit of a winner. But as with most stuff this year, it didn’t fall my way. I did however have Swan and Ablett both in my line  up for Round 13.

My bye trading was pretty good. I was happy with how that went considering what a sh*t show it was for us. I was able to jump from 5,801st to 2,190th thanks to my trading (and a fair bit of luck, hey Calvin).

Mostly my trading was stock standard… apart from getting back in guys like Swan, Ablett and Grimes. It did get me to a ‘respectable’ final position of 1,245th. It could have been a whole lot better, but anyway I’ll stick with it. I did miss quite a few injuries, so I’ll take that.

Some of my last trades were annoying. I dumped Beau Waters when he was out for only one week (we were told 3-5) and Grant Birchall was a solid replacement, but I would have been better off playing a bench player instead. Same goes for Jonathan Giles. He was in shocking form, but at the end of the day, he scored more than the guy I got in for him, Sam Jacobs, thanks to a late withdrawal and a donut.

If I was to learn something (again) from this season… is that plans can go astray. For example my Kyal Horsley trade plan that turned sour during the bye rounds costing me zeroes and getting Alex Sexton wasn’t my finest moment. Also I wouldn’t get too excited about mid-priced players and trying to find value for ‘upgrade’ trades. Allen Christensen was a perfect example of this. He was coming off 110 and 101 and while injury took hold, he was a failure of a pick ending up a lot cheaper than what I got him at!

The Bye Rounds

As I mentioned earlier, I navigated the bye rounds quite well. My trading over them kept on improving my team.

My donuts:

  • ROUND 11 – 3 zeroes. 2 from byes, 1 from injury.
  • ROUND 12 – 2 zeroes. 1 from byes, 1 from suspension.
  • ROUND 13 – 1 zero from byes.

So all in all, this was pretty epic. The planets aligned for me – that’s why my ranking increased dramatically over these weeks. If I was even luckier, I could have actually got away with 4 donuts which would have gained me a lot more points on the thousands of coaches who ended up with double figures over these rounds.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the byes for next season. We know the fixture will look just like it does this year, so the playing field will stay the same (3 rounds where 6 teams have a bye). Stay tuned to DT TALK for your chance to have a say on how AFL Dream Team should be played over the bye rounds.

My Biggest Mistake

As you’re already thinking… I’ve made a few errors – even if at the time I justified it to myself as the right thing to do. But we always evolve and learn things every year as DT coaches… it was was easy, we’d be winning it every year… yes a sh*tload of luck comes into it but every year we are challenged and no matter how good we get, we still can spot some things we could improve.

Anyway, my biggest mistake came thanks to the invention of something that I have loved about AFL Dream Team this year – the Reverse Changes button.

It was the week that Greg Broughton was injured with his back and I wanted to trade him out (Round 17). I only had 3 trades left and a bit of cash in the bank. I was going to hold Broughton and get rid of Marty Clarke to cash him down to Mark Baguley as Clarke was out and my mail was that he was a minimal chance to play again this year. Silly me clicked Broughton to Baguley thanks to not checking my reverse changes and with the help of 10 beers. Long story short, I’ve got a sh*tload of cash, 2 trades left and I’m now playing a dud on my ground.

Luckily (yes, again Calvin), Broughton was announced the week later to be done for the season so my initial thoughts of holding him (before I stuffed up and traded him out) came out alright. Still not happy that I used 2 trades to get Heath Scotland in but it didn’t end up as bad as I first thought it would.

I did learn a good lesson to check and double check my team!

My Final Team

So after 24 trades… way too many of them being sideways ones and not the upgrade that I would have liked due to injury my team looked like this when AFL Dream Team closed this week.

The Warne Dawgs as it stands at the end of the 2012 season.

The players who spent the year with me were:

  • Brett Deledio
  • Jack Grimes*
  • Marty Clarke (finished on bench)
  • Gary Ablett*
  • Matthew Boyd
  • Joel Selwood
  • Bryce Gibbs
  • Jarrad Redden (bench)
  • Orren Stephenson (bench)
  • Buddy Franklin
  • Steele Sidebottom
  • Dustin Martin
  • Tory Dickson (bench)

* denotes traded out and traded back in… idiot!

Crazy that there are only 9 starters that are keepers there (7 of which spent the whole season – sorry Gary Ablett and Jack Grimes). And then out of these guys I started with… and stuck with for the whole season, Brett Deledio, Matthew Boyd and Steele Sidebottom are probably the only keepers I had from the list I was happy with. I penciled in 15 keepers at the start of the season and while Joel Selwood and Bryce Gibbs were part of that, they were let downs this year… especially Bryce. Dustin Martin wasn’t the biggest failure, but I – like many others – expected more. Buddy Franklin wasn’t really a failure, but Captain Hindsight says I should have traded him when he first injured his hamstring.

It’s interesting looking over your team like this. 24 trades should be heaps… and even now I agree with that. We had heaps of injuries, but through whatever reason (mostly mis-information from clubs and medical staff), we traded or held trades when we should have done the opposite, hence wasting trades. Next year will be a different playing field as we were blessed with rookies for cover, however we have learnt this year that these guys can hold their own in most cases.

Pre-Season 2013

So now the Warne Dawgs are in pre-season mode for next year. There are a few players added to the never again list and I will try to follow the rules I make for myself next year. We always go in thinking we can win the thing and we have the best team in the competition… and next year won’t be any different. There are a few blokes who are shortlisted from my squad this year to go around again and we’re seeing a new breed of DT premiums come through. 2013 will be a very interesting year.

Stay tuned to DT TALK over the pre-season as there will be heaps happening… but in the short term, we’ll have a post going up looking at how the game should be played in 2013 – that is, possible rule changes to make the game better and more enjoyable. If you would like to have your say, then watch this space. We will make sure the big dogs are listening!

Thanks for reading! Follow Warnie on Twitter: @WarnieDT



  1. jimbarts

    September 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    In my opinion, I think a mistake alot of people made, was not having Sam Gibson as a starting player and as bench cover. He out performed the likes of Priddis, Gibbs and Selwood for the majorirty back half of the year, and having $400k sitting on your pine could have been used elsewhere if you had him on field and just a Baugley or Treloar as cover.

    He won me a couple of GF’s and was a huge P.O.D. Alot of the team I came up against had him as cover. H Shaw must be put in the bin for next year Warnie!

    • Austin Pwrz

      September 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Agreed, I played him over Rocky & Treloar in the GF and his 130 helped me win by 24 points over my opponent (who had him on the bench for Treloar). It was a bit of a gamble playing the rook over the premium but due to form I went for it and it paid off.

  2. Pettiger

    September 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Good summary Warnie. I had a stinker this year, mainly due to a string of LTIs and very poor bye rounds. Happily though, I averaged 2200 per round after the byes. My biggest failure was not getting Swan in.

  3. SirJames

    September 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I put a lot of effort into picking the initial line up this year, and with some luck, as it always is with rooks, i got off to a great start. I rocketed up the rankings in the first 5 rounds with some massive scores and found myself top 50.
    I too fell for the dodgy medico reports but more annoying was i didn’t improve much for the rest of the year score-wise. On paper my team improved with every trade (baring the sideways injury related), but although my scoring was consistent, i just couldn’t keep up with the top teams. A final position around 2200 was definitely a personal best, and not a bad effort, but i still can’t help but be disappointed given the starting position.

    Some bigger mistakes:
    * Worried too much about the byes. Over traded, structured upgrades around who was available in a given bye round.
    * Poor captain choices- always an element of luck involved there, but i did tend to gamble(stanton, chapman)
    * Cashed in rooks after one or two bad games just to get in some other rook (rookie mistake)

    Lessons learnt:
    * Don’t be so keen to upgrade.
    * Don’t pick f**king Broughton!!!!
    * Don’t stress over the bye rounds- take the donut like a man.
    * Save trades, save trades, save trades!!!!!!!!!
    * If a medical report comes out that one of your premiums has died in a fiery plane crash, HOLD! those c**ts lie!!!!

    Big thanks to you Warnie, and to the rest of the team. We appreciate the work you put in, cause it means lazy bastards like me don’t have to do it.


    • We Got Big Cox

      September 7, 2012 at 8:52 am

      I lol’d at the medical report, I’m not a docter or anything, but why couldnt death only be a 1 week injury.

  4. Brak


    September 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I too made similar mistakes, didn’t start with Dangerfield, traded out Ablett, jumped on Sexton (after his first prise rise) I made some wasteful trades to gain some quick cash which leaped me up too 117 by Rd 7 but soon fell away and struggled to stay in top 1000 after that.

  5. Pittbull

    September 7, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Good recovery Warnie, finished off strongly. I especially wanted to see how you handled the MBRs, my downfall this year. The secret is out on how to handle them next year. Shh! Back line looked solid starting with, based on preseason form, Heater and Broughton were justified. Looking forward to “Stay tuned to DT TALK for your chance to have a say on how AFL Dream Team should be played over the bye rounds.” Any hints?

  6. Big Feller

    September 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Great work Warnie – would really love to see this done by any of the teams that finished in the top 5 as it would give a great insight to how they performed so well.
    Looking forward to what DT Talk has in store already!

    • Warnie


      September 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      We will hear from the winner of the comp coming up soon… as well as the winner of our DT Talk/First10 Group and Schools comp. Stay tuned!

  7. Sville

    September 7, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Great work Warnie, pretty strong final ranking too. I finished up at 7,789 and was very disappointed with that. I simply made too few trades early due to my strong ranking early on.

    Then come mid-season I rode through the multi-bye rounds with few trades used up and slipped down the rankings.

    Frantic trading after that stopped the rot but it was too late, made a late charge to move from about 14,000 up to final position but learnt my lesson to upgrade earlier.

    Won my GF narrowly but I like getting in the top 5k at a minimum. Next year will be more of a challenge without the freebies in GWS.

  8. bradsdick

    September 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Geez you made some absolute horror trades i only made prob one bad trade for the year and only finished a few hundred places higher overall, although i held a heap of injured premiums all year as i was going for a league win.

  9. Justin

    September 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Did very well to get as high as you did with GIbbs and Priddis, yuck.

  10. What the bejeebers

    September 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Quite an expensive bench cover there warnie.
    Over 2.5m altogether in the bench cover, but we need it.

  11. Big Feller

    September 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Is it too early?

    TEAM NAME: Pole Smokers
    DEF: B. Goddard, J. Grimes, B. Gibbs, G. Birchall, D. Heppell, B. Houli, N. Bock (S. Docherty, J. Pittard)
    MID: D. Swan, G. Ablett jnr, M. Boyd, T. Cotchin, A. Gaff, B. Crouch (T. Mitchell, J. O’Meara)
    RUC: N. Naitanui, N. Vardy (M. Leuenberger, L. McBean)
    FWD: L. Franklin, S. Johnson, D. Martin, J. Kennedy, M. LeCras, T. Varcoe, J. Daniher (B. Dick, B. Staker)
    CASH LEFT: $18,400

    • Waffles

      September 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      Looks pretty good.

      • What the bejeebers

        September 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm

        Is the budget gonna be the sane as this season??

        • Aidan

          September 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm

          Nah, ill go up slightly like it does most years

          • Waffles

            September 8, 2012 at 10:49 am

            If D.stanley is not def/fwd next year :/

          • Waffles

            September 8, 2012 at 10:49 am

            Or just def.

    • What the bejeebers

      September 8, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      Lecras is a bit risky, as he is coming off an injury and wouldnt have played league footy for two years (by the time next season starts).
      I would probably having docherty and t.mitchell in my starting 22 next season.

    • deez go

      September 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Looks good on paper, I bet by when the season starts there’ll be some other dilemma, looks to good to me!

    • Jason

      September 22, 2012 at 9:41 am

      Well is this too early
      TEAM NAME: dobbydobby
      DEF: B. Goddard, H. Scotland, B. Gibbs, G. Birchall, N. Bock, S. Docherty, S. Colquhoun (T. Temay, J. Thurlow)
      MID: D. Swan, G. Ablett jnr, D. Beams, T. Cotchin, P. Dangerfield, B. Kennedy (B. Crouch, J. O’Meara)
      RUC: M. Leuenberger, B. Grundy (J. Daniher, J. Witts)
      FWD: L. Franklin, S. Johnson, M. Robinson, D. Stanley, M. LeCras, J. Stringer, B. Macaffer (B. Colledge, M. McDonough)
      CASH LEFT: $18,000
      What do you think of this team. Feedback appreciated, rate it out of ten and rate it nicely.
      Note: I don’t why I named my team this.
      One lesson I learnt this year: For all positions but the rucks, I’m going to have 2 players having byes each week in the bye rounds so that there is less byes in other rounds.
      And according to the ‘2013 mbr study’ my team seems to have close to no one having byes in r12.

    • Jason

      September 22, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Get rid of Vardy and go for Daniher/Grundy.
      And downgarde one of you backs so you can get a premium fwd

  12. Nooie

    September 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Hey Warnie, can you do a “My Team 2013” as soon as possible?????
    Alot of people want to post their teams I think. (including me) lol


    • Warnie


      September 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      I will get one up at some stage over the next couple of weeks.

  13. Just Go Bang!

    September 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Great write up, Warnie. Thanks heaps to you and the boys for helping me through the season.

    Personally, my best result ever with a final ranking of 1,471… thanks mainly to lucking in with the right rookie selections at the start of the season (Toby Greene, I’m looking at you), as well as fluking some “do I or don’t I?” trade calls later in the season. For instance, I traded both Pendles (for Swan) and Buddy (for Beams) the moment they were injured.

    My biggest regrets, like many others, was having those clowns Broughton and Hargrave in my team. I had them both for the entire year, just couldn’t find the right time to trade either of them out, and that drove me nuts. I also struggled with my R2 position, basically keeping Giles there all year… just could not work The Mullet into my team due to injuries in other parts of the ground. Thankfully Giles did pretty well at the end of the season, so could have been worse!

    Can’t wait for 2013… bring it on!

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