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Welcome to the first in our weekly series of retro, old-school flashbacks where we look at the history of Fantasy Footy AFL and revisit some of those golden Dreamteam moments that’ll have you saying “I remember that”, or “I was there”, or “shit, I wasn’t even born”…

Welcome to the first in our weekly series of retro, old-school flashbacks where we look at the history of Fantasy Footy AFL and revisit some of those golden Dreamteam moments that’ll have you saying “I remember that”, or “I was there”, or “sh*t, I wasn’t even born”…

Firstly let’s go back to where this circus began here in Oz in the early to mid ’90s. Back when Keating was Prime Minister, a new novelty called ‘the internet’ was barely a chat room for geeks and a band called Nirvana and ‘grunge’ were the new releases at Brash’s.

With none of our modern current-day cushy technology to update our dodgy scores for instantly gratifying disappointment, the original Fantasy coach dinosaurs had to pretty much work it out themselves. As if maintaining a mullet wasn’t enough. With a strict early-season deadline for the one and only competition that was available, the entry method was via a newspaper clipping you cut out, mailed in and then hoped for the best. Later there was a tragically undermanned phone line for making player selections (plus resolving any inevitable stuff-ups or sheer confusion) and instead of today’s pedantic salary cap dollar values, the players were simply rated between 1 and 10.

Player lists, scores and rankings were first published in The Age and (when the silliness really gained momentum) this changed over to The Australian newspaper, whose sales went from ‘peanuts’ to ‘bananas’ once a week. With results only published in the 60-cent Wednesday rag this meant a minimum three day wait after each weekend, only to find all issues usually sold out before breakfast, with the only remaining copies sitting idle in offices or libraries. So, if by then we hadn’t already given up completely it was off to the nearest photocopier to attempt a takeaway copy of the bedsheet-sized pages in hopefully three scans or less. Feverous panic occurred if someone was already (very slowly) reading the last remaining newspaper, which was ridiculous – what kind of person actually reads The Australian?

Unless you were printed in the top 100 coaches list, the only way for the remaining 20,000 or more coaches to check their actual weekly standings was to call the aforementioned phone number, which not only cost time/money but invariably disconnected just as you reached the good bit where you’d find out how bad you scored.

So, my fellow Supercoaches, take nothing for granted in today’s modern Fantasy world. Even if your captain tweaks his hammie or your rookies are all subs, just be grateful we don’t have to use a pencil. Unless of course we’re poking our own eyes out in disgust, but that – like everything in Fantasy – is completely optional.

This week is the glorious Anzac Round, so here’s a quick look back at the original Anzac Day match between Essendon and Collingwood. Twenty years ago and I was that one person who was not part of the ten million or so at the game, instead begrudgingly working in an old CD warehouse while listening to a Walkman. The match ended in a draw between Sheedy’s Bombers and Lethal’s Magpies while the star of the show and Collingwood’s eventual saviour was Saverio Rocca. In an era where power forwards were called ‘spearheads’ and often legends of Fantasy Footy and nightclubs alike, big Sav tallied 9 goals and 2 behinds from his 12 kicks to score 125 DT points. It was the first of four tonnes for Rocca in 1995, including a career-high 158 from 10 goals vs Adelaide. By that stage, back in the old DT salary cap system, he would’ve almost been a ‘9’!

In next week’s Throwback: a rundown on the Showdown.

by Matt James



  1. Chezza

    April 23, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Well at least there weren’t constant references to Moneyball…

    • wheelsy

      April 23, 2015 at 4:30 pm

      LOL at Moneyball… thought I was the only one who noticed that.

  2. Oz

    April 23, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Thanks Matt, this was a good read. Sadly I’m old enough to remember the days of the 1-10 ratings and the Australian newspaper clippings and I’m pretty sure I generally gave up after a round or two.

  3. OXnFOX

    April 23, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I remember when Adam Goodes was a ‘2’ and named as a fullback.
    He played in the ruck that year and scored more than most 9’s
    He was the most popular player in the comp that year!

    • Dulcify

      April 23, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      Yes, I remember these days well. Believe it or not, I recorded the scores of all the players in my teams into Spirax exercise books, and I still have all of them now. Even managed to snag a weekly $1000 prize in round 16 1999. Still record all my scores now, and still in the Spirax books.

      Inside Football and Optus also had great competitions. Ron Barassi used to run Supercoach in the footy magazine, Inside Football. They were fun and great days.

  4. Shakin' Stevens

    April 23, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    All I recall from that day is the nuffy Buckley charging out of the centre square with 30 seconds to go, scores level, goals unguarded… and he tries to pass it to Rocca the twit.

    • Seano

      April 23, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      that is exactly the same thing I recall from that day as well. Everytime I catch up with mates I was with that day the talk eventually turns to “Why on earth did he pass, when he had a cannon?”. Bit unfair on Buckley of course, but just another reminder to AFL players of the ageless adeage, If you are going to make a mistake in a close game, ensure sure you make it in the first half. I’m looking at you (everyones favourite Irishman) Jimmy Stynes.

  5. Albert Lloyd

    April 23, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Wow, low tech doesn’t begin to describe this experience!

  6. johnny fontane

    April 23, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    lol surely this is just taking the piss!

  7. Seano

    April 23, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    If you guys are getting sick of the moneyball mentions, maybe start looking at switching to the government funded, free, fantasy research website.
    You commies.

  8. Suspekt

    April 24, 2015 at 5:26 am

    That all sounds like some sort of nightmare. The earliest season of fantasy footy I played was around the time Chad Cornes was the go to captain. I barely studied weekly inclusions and would always look at my team and think “why in the f**k did [enter random exclusion] score zero? surely he touched the ball”. No reverse trades or rolling back of the team. Absolutely zero strategy (grooming rookies, etc). Picked players like key position defenders.. Yeah, didn’t go too well. How times have changed.

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