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AFL Dream Team 2013 – A new challenge

It was an interesting experience being in Ireland and hearing the news of the big changes for AFL Dream Team in 2013. What was great is that I was able to talk to Calvin while driving from town to town all about it. It’s a quiet night tonight so I thought I’d get my blog on and dribble some rubbish.

Good morning fellow DTers. I’m currently having a quiet night in Dublin, Ireland (early flight in the morning)… and Calvin has his head in his laptop watching some Breaking Bad… so I thought I’d get my blogging on and talk about the big changes for DT in 2013! It’s going to be a big year!

Big thanks to Tbetta and Griff for the sensational updates regarding the new rules and the dual position changes. You MUST read these if you haven’t already!

Anyway… here we go!

First things first, we needed to see some changes for DT in the new year. There were a lot of coaches who weren’t enjoying the game as much as they had in the past for a few factors. Firstly, the introduction of the substitute rule has been giving us heaps of headaches for the last couple of seasons and the great idea of a set of multi-bye rounds did our heads in terribly in 2012 (2011 had them too, but with other weekly byes it was different). Also the late withdrawals and the lack of information from clubs regarding injury has taken it’s toll on coaches. There was a huge drop off in numbers visiting our website after the MBRs this year – while I don’t have the numbers from the actual game, I’m tipping there was a correlation with the official site.

Something had to be done.

User engagement would have been the driving force behind implementing changes. Before you read on, remember this is a business… the AFL and Herald Sun want to cater for the majority, not just us nerds who live for the game and want the game to be as challenging as possible. With that in mind, most of the changes make sense and I am massively embracing them! Mostly. If you read a blog I did a couple of months ago, you’ll see where I’m coming from.

The new structure of 6-8-2-6 has been spoken about for a few years. I have chatted to many people who have loved this change and it makes a lot of sense. If you simply look at the numbers of where players are positioned according to Champion Data (and then into DT/SC), then this spread/ratio is how it should be. Some might argue DPP counters this, but I think having more mids will help us put good DPP players into our 8 mids to start with.

Trading is the most enjoyable part of the game. 30 trades is a big increase for the upcoming year. Some people commenting around the place (here, twitter, facebook) aren’t fans of having so many trades. There are some logical reasons for this – it means our teams will end up being more similar, which is probably true as we can all aim to get towards better final teams. But with more players being rested and increased injuries, we can use these trades. There is still heaps of strategy here. Better DT coaches will still do better than our less skilled colleagues. I do think that the magic number will have to thought about carefully to get this right! I’m sure Virtual Sports are tweaking that as we speak before the release of the Team Picker. Again though, we have to remember that a lot of the casuals aren’t going to play if they can’t get enough players into their team that they know.

The 4 emergencies is a pretty simple and obvious one and will be good for the game. I was caught out in the rucks this year, so this will limit some stress levels.

What I don’t like about the changes is the rolling lockout. Now, I am a nerd… and I would be available for most ‘lockouts’ over a weekend. I am always checking final teams, subs, etc and tweeting them out there (follow me on Twitter, hey!). So personally, it won’t be too bad for me. It is the younger version of me that I am worried about… the one who would be playing footy on Saturday arvo and missing at least 3 lockouts as my phone is in the property bag… or the today me that might be on the piss on a Saturday arvo/evening and mightn’t be switched on enough to make changes/trades. Or those who work weekend without access to their phones or the internet.

My problem is that while we mightn’t have to use it every game or every round, it’ll be the one we miss that will put people off side. If you lose a game against a mate because he was able to shift a starting substitute off the ground onto the bench and you couldn’t, I’d be pissed off and if it happens a couple of times, I’d probably lose interest in the game. I liked the Friday night lockout and then it’s in the hands of the DT gods.

A lot of people who I follow on Twitter and other forums are big fans of it. I can understand it. I live and breathe DT and I like that I can make these changes, but like I said, I worry about those who might drop off because of it. Time will tell though! It’ll make our website MUCH more important over the weekends as we will be working hard to update people with all of the big changes and subs.

It looks as though it’s here to stay, so I guess we have to deal with it.

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The other potential change that I do like is the 18 scoring players during MBRs. As I previously stated, there was a huge drop off of user engagement after the MBRs because people were screwed over. No one likes a donut. Even though “we’re all in the same boat”, it was pretty hard to take copping scores like that. Luck played a huge part too. Other injuries around this time killed some coaches and there was a huge difference between some teams with the number of players being fielded. While this rule hasn’t been confirmed (we will know soon hopefully), I think it is the way to go. I did suggest it to go 5-7-1-5 to keep some positional strategy, but the best 18 will keep teams more unique and the nuffies won’t have to think too much about who they’re picking (yes, as a good coach I don’t like this… but it’s a business remember!).

Hmm… I have dribbled some sh*t here! I wish 1000 words came that easy when I was at uni doing essays.

Fell free to pick apart what I’ve said… agree, disagree or whatever! It will be a very challenging year in 2013. I can’t wait. The Assistant Coach Team Picker is set for a December 17 launch. I haven’t even thought about a team yet… I don’t like doing anything until the official prices and positions are out there. It’s not far away though!

I better get some sleep! Flying from Dublin to Cancun, Mexico tomorrow… still in off-season mode! If you’re interested in what Calvin and I are doing overseas, check out our blog.

Cheers, Warnie.

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER: @WarnieDT

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