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Draft Central: Injuries and Suspensions Strategy

Injuries and Suspension are the natural enemies of the DT coach. There is no difference in the Draft game! However, in this game there are ways that you can use this to your advantage.


Something that not only plagues us in the regular style DT game will also plague us in the Draft game, but it can have more devastating consequences.  Injuries and Suspensions know how to ruin anyones season.  And in the draft game this is something that can comepletely destroy your season.  So you need to make sure that you have a strategy in place to make sure you can survive!

Just think, you have taken Big Cox in the first round as your key ruckman for the year.  R2 and he goes down for 4-6 weeks.  What do you do?  You don’t have any backup.  You are then stuffed for the 6 weeks.  If you have prepared well you can survive these 4-6 weeks and perhaps even prosper.

Draft Day Strategy

Clearly it’s not ideal to be selecting guys that you can’t play due to injury or suspension.  So you need to have your wits about you and not panic pick just because the timer is about to expire!  If you are presented with an option of two guys you think you want, clearly you should always go with the guy that you know is going to be more reliable and doesn’t have a short fuse! But where do you draw the line between taking a lesser player versus a player who will be injured/suspended for the start of the year?

This is where it gets tricky. We recommend scouting out where such players (Scotland, Welligham, Naitanui, Harvey, Sandilands, etc.) have been selected in drafts to date. These players usually slide cruelly, because despite the fact that most of these guys will be available from Round 6 onwards, no coach feels good about using an early pick on someone that will be stashed away on their bench for weeks. As a result, bargains can be found in the middle rounds if you’re the coach willing to pull the trigger – research is the key here to weeding out the value picks from the wasted picks.

So consider players that is injured and not due back for a couple of weeks (i.e. Nic Nat) or guns who are suspended for the first round or two (i.e. Stevie J).  Clearly these two guys will be elite scorers, so you may want to pounce on their value with a relatively decent pick.  However, these selections should be made with caution.  You need to make sure that you have adequate cover to keep you afloat until they return, as well as not snapping up too many of these sliders, as you’ll have no one on the park for the first month.  This is particularly relevant in a position where talent is scarce, such as the Rucks.  You don’t want to be caught out having to rely on a guy like Vardy or Currie to be your main scorer in ruck until Nic Nat returns.

Using Injuries and Suspension timetables to your advantage

Having said the above in regard to injured and suspended players, don’t let this be a deciding factor to not selecting someone like the two guys I mentioned above.  Something else to be aware of is when people are due back.  So keep an eye out on the injury lists to see when a player is going to return and if it is someone that will score well, perhaps pick them up the week before and stash them on your bench.  Similarly for those guys who are suspended.  You may want to look at picking up Kurt Tippett after week 10 to make sure you get the jump on him before any of your competitors can grab him when his suspension finishes.


This shouldn’t be a new concept to you now.  We have mentioned it a couple of times now.  Just to refresh you, it involves selecting a player’s backup late in the draft as an insurance policy.  E.G. picking up Sandilands in an early round and then in one of the later rounds you pick Griffin.  This strategy also works with a guy that is suspension prone.  Think Heath Shaw!

However, it is also something you can use to your strategic advantage.  If you see an injury prone guy get selected early in the draft, keep note and then look to see who his backup would be and potentially then pick up that player later in the draft.  This way you can really cut the legs out from under another coach.

Be Alert!  Follow Social Media

But it doesn’t all have to happen on draft day.  Astute coaches who are all over things can get a real advantage by hearing about an injury or a training incident early can jump on and try and pick up the player’s backup first before anyone else in the league knows what is going on.  Once again this also applies to club imposed suspensions etc where a player will be missing and you hear about it through social media.  Anything that can get you an advantage is key.  With only one of every player available to be selected, the timing of when to jump on a player is critical.

Waiver Wire

So you know that there are two ways you can pick up a player, that is through the Free Agents pool where a player is yours immediately and the other option is for the Waiver Wire.  This is where a player has been dropped by another coach and they can go on “waivers” for a period of time.  I believe that there are some leagues that can put all free agent players on waivers for a period of time after the round completes.  That time is determined by the league commissioner and is in your league rules.  When a player is in this situation they are subject to the Waiver Order in terms of being able to be selected.  Once again refer to your league rules to see your method for determining the Waiver Order.

If you want a player that is on Waivers, then you put in a request and then after the determined period of time the person with the higher waiver order number that has requested the player gets them.  So if you do want one of these guys, it is critical that you jump on them early because if you wait for them to become free agents you may miss out.


I think that the main thing that I want to get through in regards to the article above is that you need to be much more aware of what is going on in the Draft game and you can’t leave it until a Friday afternoon to start thinking about what you need to do with your team and who you should be considering.  Whilst Injuries and Suspensions are going to happen and are going to disrupt your team, it is all about how you manage them that will determine if you hold the trophy aloft or are sulking in the corner when the awards are handed out telling everyone it would have been you if that player had been there all year!
Tell us below what strategies you are going to have in place to deal with these events.

Give me a follow on Twitter if you haven’t already @pkd73



  1. adam88

    March 12, 2013 at 9:39 am

    had our draft last night. I haved DPP links EVERYWHERE!!! mid fwd, fwd mid, Hep D in defence B.Goodes on mid bench, plus Cox in ruck and S.Martin in FWD.
    I also stayed Bye concsious (thanks footynerd!)

  2. FC Hammer

    March 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Excellent article.

    But in a perfect world, everyone would ignore this quality advice and join the Centrebet draft league that I’ve set for 7pm wednesday the 13th.

    If you’re keen, feel free to join. League code: 244219.

    Large squads, no captains, 10 teams, 60sec turns…

    By the way, I’ve got dibs on Carey and Hird with my first two picks.

  3. Mark Mellow

    March 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Hi all,

    I also have a DT Elite league started with committed coaches involved, however, we only have 5 at the moment, hoping for 10.

    If you are interested in playing DT Elite email me on and I can let you know the code.

    Details of the league set up are below:

    League Size: Ideally 10
    Head to Head: Yes
    Finals: Yes (will be aligned with DT Finals)
    Fixture Repeat: 2 (depends on league size)
    Fixture Start Round: (depends on league size)
    Draft Type: Live
    Draft Order: Banzai
    Draft Turn Time: 1-2 mins
    Squad Size & Field Layout: 2-3-1-2/4 (thought as we are new to this, 12 players is a good start)
    Captains: No (with only 12 players, and 3 mids, and Swan/Ablett so dominate we decided that the captain would decide too many matches)
    Auto Emergency: Yes
    Rolling Lockout: No
    Waivers: Yes
    Waiver Time Period: 2 days
    Waiver Order Policy: Last Pick To Bottom
    Trade Option: Free For All (with a gentlemen’s agreement to not take the piss and trade your players to others for nothing or dumping your entire squad)

  4. Pavlova

    March 12, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Hey Guys,

    I have a DT elite league and one of the teams has dropped out. Does anyone know what that means or where I can find that info out? His team has Ablett in it so could make a big difference to the league…

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