Category Archives: Featured

Customise your finals, Part 2

OK, so you have read up on our previous article about customising your finals here and have decided to give it a go.  Lets say you want to run your finals series one week earlier than the standard final 4 rounds, for clarity, lets call that ‘Round 19’.

But who can be shagged with manually calculating who plays who and manually keying in all those games…?  Well not us, and we assume not you either so we have built a tool to help called the “Game Builder Wizard”.

To setup your finals to run 1 week earlier than the final 4 rounds, you need to first setup the following:

  1.  On your League Edit page (advanced tab), set the “First Finals Round” setting to the round that you will run your first final, ie. round 19.  This setting controls which rounds are considered when updating your ladder. The ladder positions at the end of the standard home and away season is used to determine the games in the finals so you don’t want it to change while the finals are being played, otherwise your finals will get buggered up.
  2. On your Competition Edit page, you need to set the “Finals Model” setting to”None/Custom”.  This will tell the system to no create the normal finals games automatically and instead hand the keys over to you to control.
  3. On the Fixutre page, you will find and “Edit Games” link under the list of games for each round.  By default, the system has probably creates a set of games in round 19.  Click the “Edit Games” link and delete all of the games, leaving it blank.

Now you just need to play the season as normal until the last round of your home and away season, ie. round 18, is complete.

With round 18 complete, you can now go to the Fixture page  and click “Edit” again for Round 19, to setup your finals games.

If there are any games still in Round 19, delete them (but you should have done that already in step 3).  Deleting the first will enable the link to the  “Game Builder Wizard”.  Click on the link and the system will open up a page to help you automatically create the finals games.

game builder wizard link

The wizard will give you two criteria to pick from:

Game Style: this is the style or format of the games that are to be created.  eg. to setup the games for round 1 or a finals series, choose “Finals Round 1”.  Similarly, next week for a second round of finals, you would choose “Finals Round 2”.

game builder criteria 1

Participating Clubs: this option lets you choose the number of clubs you want to be involved.  If you are running a finals series with the top 5 clubs in your 12 club competition for example, choose 5.

game builder criteria 2

The system will show you a preview of the proposed games on the right.  If you are happy with the games, just hit Save and the games will be locked in.  You can even then go back in to the Fixture edit page and tweek the games further or even add some extra games for the bottom rankers.

The Game Builder Wizard will always try to merge any existing games but we aware that the Game Builder Wizard will delete any games featuring the Clubs that it cares about.  You will see the warning on the screen if this happens.

Another thing to remember is that you need to wait for a round to complete (ie. all the real games have been played) before setting up the next round.  This is because for finals games, the Wizard will use the results from the previous round to determine who plays who in the next.

Other than that, you should be good to go.

Good luck!




Nathan Buck-leave?

Is that Hi or Goodbye?
Is that Hi or Goodbye?


Should he stay or should he (Buck)leave?

The question on many Pies supporters minds along with many other fans, pundits and AFL enthusiasts.

So lets look at some stats…

Buckley took charge of the Pies in 2012 having spent two seasons under Malthouse. In the 2010 and 2011 season they finished top of the ladder and won a flag as well. A good grounding perhaps…

But since then, with Buckley in sole charge, they have fallen fallen fallen. League positions since have been 4th, 6th, 11th and 12th…. And the start of this year has been less than promising aside a very close victory against the Tigers…

That said, Buckley’s win ratio stands at 55.8%. That is 95 Games in charge with 53 Wins – 42 Loses – 0 Draws . How does that compare? Malthouse only had a 56.6% record over his entire career (which includes the time dismantling, I mean coaching, Carlton).

Of recent ‘greats’ Kevin Sheedy only had 57% and Leigh Matthews a little better at 57.9%. Stellar coaching careers but not stellar stats by any means… So does that help Buckley’s case to stay?

All these records are easily overshadowed by Chris Scott of the current crop of coaches who has a stunning 71.1% win ratio. Wowsers !

But what does this tell us? You can prove anything with stats. We can carve up the coaches various teams and how they performed with each club at different stages and before you know it we can prove a point.

The key to Buckley has to be that he took over a top performing team and has been going downhill since then.

Let AFL not get into the crazy ways of the Soccer and sack managers after half a season. The players must take responsibility too (imagine if Cloke could kick straight!). But Buckley has had a long time in an increasingly hot seat… Is it time for Nathan to (Buck)leave?




The (Potential) Game of the Week – Round 2

The POMs
Round One done and we dance along to Round Two
There were some crackers in that opening round including the demolition of the Pies, the smashing of Freo, the squeaky bum win by the D’s and the wonderful win by the Cats with one Mr Patrick Dangerfield performing rather well (imagine when he kicks straight as well!)
All sets us up for an intriguing Round Two…. Now, we all know that the reigning Premiers (whoever they are) tend to start a little slower the next season. Maybe due to one long and well deserved party, a lethargy over being champs, a downright lack of motivation… Whatever it may be it results in a sluggish start. But I for one didn’t expect the 30 point smashing by the Cats. That should kick start the Hawks into a sense of commitment !
On the other hand the losing finalists tend to be a little more motivated, assuming they didn’t get lucky in getting to the final in the first place of course. And whilst West Coast didn’t have the hardest Round One opponents against the Lions they still handed them a very good flogging!

With Round Two throwing up (not literally) the 2015 Grand Final replay at the MCG, the Hawks v Eagles is my “Game of the Week”. A must watch to see if the Eagles can take their good form into a game against the wounded Hawks.


Beware the Bombers

As has been well documented, more than once, the once glorious bombers, previously known for flying up, up have hit a wee snag this year.  Thirty-four players of their 2012 team have had to take their metaphorical medicine (bad pun I know!) and sit on the side-lines for the 2016 season.  Some of the players no-longer play or now play for other AFL teams.  The key point being… DON’T PICK THEM!

Of those still playing, here is a list of the banned players to avoid for 2016:

  • Angus Monfries
  • Brent Stanton
  • Heath Hocking
  • Jobe Watson
  • Patrick Ryder
  • Cale Hooker
  • David Myers
  • Tayte Pears
  • Tom Bellchambers
  • Michael Hurley
  • Jake Carlisle
  • Travis Colyer
  • Jake Melksham
  • Stewart Crameri
  • Ben Howlett
  • Dyson Heppell
  • Michael Hibberd


The (Potential) Game of the Week : Round One….

The POMs

With the new season kicking off shortly there are a number of fans who have heightened anticipation around their teams chances. Expectation, hope and plain delusion lead to thoughts of:

– Can we make top 8?
– Can we make Top 4?
– Can we be minor premier champions?
– And can we go all the way?

For one clubs set of fans, theirs is a more pressing question. Can we avoid the wooden spoon and can we even win a game?!?!

Usually reserved for the like of Melbourne or Brisbane of late this is the question being asked by the Bombers (very loyal) fan base. Right or wrong, whether known by the players or not the punishment has been handed down. A saga lasting for years will certainly continue until the players have served their bans.

But what this does make for is a MUST watch game in Round One. A depleted side in the Bombers but one where youth will be given a chance to stake a claim.

History for these clubs is obviously short but the stats show:

Played: 5
Essendon: 4
Gold Coast: 1
Draws: 0

The only win for Gold Coast came last year with a margin of just two points… and 2015 had them close in the table, though at the wrong end of the ladder:

15th – Essendon – W 6, L 16
16th – Gold Coast – W 4, L 17, D 1

So with a new makeshift team for the Bombers and little separating them last year Gary Abletts Gold Coast go in as clear favourites.

It may not be the prettiest of games, but Essendon v Gold Coast is a must watch and my (Potential) Game of the Week.

This will show what 2016 holds for Essendon. Anything but a clear loss will be seen as a victory in most parts.


Top 5 Forwards for Round One


top 5Top 5 Forwards for Round One only.

But who makes the list?

Most banter over a beer would reel off a couple of names straight away… Kennedy, Franklin, Gunston….

But lets look at the stats… And importantly, which stats to look at?

2015 – Top Goal Kickers

Obviously a quick glance at the last years top goal kickers gives an indication:

1 Joshua Kennedy (West Coast)            80
2 Eddie Betts (Adelaide)                         63
2 Jeremy Cameron (GWS)                     63
4 Taylor Walker (Adelaide)                    59
5 Jack Gunston (Hawthorn)                  57

No Franklin for well known reasons but still I would have in my Top 5 Forwards for Round One… Wouldn’t you????

2015 – Top Averages

Maybe a better indication would be to look at an average, as the top goal kickers includes players who went further into the competition… Kennedy played in the Grand Final, but Cameron only played up until Round 23…

Lets have a look at that….

1 Joshua Kennedy West Coast     3.20
2 Jeremy Cameron GWS              2.86
3 Lance Franklin Sydney             2.76
4 Eddie Betts Adelaide                 2.74
5 Taylor Walker Adelaide            2.57

Kennedy still there ! As you’d expect a few similar names but a couple of new entrants to our Top 5 all of a sudden….

However, this still only gives you an average…. It doesn’t account for the other possible factors that really cam influence a score, such as:

1 – Opposition in Round One… A major factor of course ! For example consider these….

Geelong play Hawthorn so Gunston from our initial list may be scratched???

Adelaide are away to North… Betts and Taylor scratched??? Or keep one…

GWS play Melbourne and West Coast host Brisbane… Cameron and Kennedy are definite starters for sure. So we have two of five….

2 – Slow starter… Players can be really slow to start the season but give them a few games to warm up and watch their numbers fly. A Round 5 Top Forward may never make your Round One Top 5!

3 – One off performance (or inconsistent performance…. such as one Travis Cloke

4 – Pre-season form and any injuries. The latter is a major blight of any Fantasy Coach and a worry for this question…

5 – A newbie or rank outsider… Who knows who will come good this year!! And will they perform on Game Day One !!

So how easy is it after all…. we have left many out in our discussions above  who could be included and the question remains … who’s your Top 5 Forwards for Round One?




The Premiership Wager

We have just launched a brand new feature on the bench called the Premiership Wager.



The Premiership Wager lets you put a bet on the outcome of your season long fantasy Competition.  All of the coaches submit their wager through the site which forms your competitions prize pool.  At the end of the season, the winner of the Competition will get their prize paid straight into their betting account.

As a Competition Manager, you have probably been doing this yourself and so would know of the hassle of having to collect the entry fee from your coaches, chasing up the late payers, sticking the cash somewhere (so you don’t spend it) and then paying it out at the end of the year.

As a Coach, you might know the joy of winning the season, only to have to wait for the last of the late payers to pay their way or for your competition manager to put his hand in his pocket, before you get your cash.

Well now, the Premiership Wager can take all of that hassle away for you and manage your competitions prizes.

Check out the video above for a sneak peak into the Premiership Wager.

As the Competition Manager, all you need to do to setup the Premiership Wager is pick the entry fee amount and the split of the prize pool between the winner and runner-up – that’s it.

The Coaches will receive an email with all of the details can can simply click the link and pay through the site.

The cash gets stored in a trust account for the year and upon your Premier being decided, will be automatically transferred to the winner and runner-ups account.

To try to keep on top of late payers (all Competitions have them, and you know who you are!), when you have the Premiership Wager running, all Coaches must have joined the Premiership Wager before they can submit their team. Coaches will continue to be locked out from submitting their team until they have either paid or we hit round 3 after which time the betting pool is closed.  After round 3, all Coaches will be able to enter a team however only those who joined the Premiership Wager will be eligible for the prize pool.

If you want to learn more, you can have a look at the rule of the site here.



A Crafty Draft (by the POM)

20140819hokissmagAn obvious question is what makes a great team. An obvious question that is difficult to answer…

To make it even more complicated take a game that is not played on the world stage, that you didn’t grow up watching or playing and that you have only really seen live at the ground about five times… Though one of those was a Grand Final… and it makes even damn harder to put out a Bench team.

(BTW I am still not sure why it has to be a called GRAND Final… surely The Final is enough…)

Anyhow, all that tells you is that as a Brit (or POM) picking a team of eight players for a game that contains 18 a side and with scoring that makes little to no sense (i.e. why do you reward people with a point for missing?) means I have had to ensure I have used as many backhanded ways to get a team together than most people. But it seems those backhanded methods have allowed me to rise the heady heights of my own draft league (which has 5 teams) to get into Division 1 from an initial Division 3 spot in about four years…

So, if a POM with no knowledge of the game can get up, how have I done it and what wisdom can I impart…


Find a good player who is not in your Division and who is willing to sell  you his stats. No, not the stats you can download from the net on players scores last year, but the stats that talk to the last six games of last season. The stats that highlight the rising stars coming through, the stats of outsiders who you should choose if you are in the number 6 seat of the draft.

Basically, buy knowledge if you don’t have it… and buy it well!

Lesson 2 … RUCK & TACKLE

Now this will be obvious to those that play in my leagues. You WILL win with good Ruckman and Tacklers. You may win with good forwards but they are hit and miss and midfielders are a dime a dozen…(unless it’s our little G. Abblet). But get a solid Ruck & Tackle combination (like Kirk and Jolly from a few years back God Bless ’em) and you are set for a long season with a finals appearance pretty much guaranteed.

Lesson 3 … TRADE

One of the hardest things to do in our league… but if you aint doing well, do something different… And that means time and effort to trade your players with other teams. Otherwise, put simply,  you will continue to do badly !

Just a few tips from a POM with an ability to work his way up the rankings and leave a path of Aussie destruction in his wake… A bit like the Ashes (though that is another story).


The POM !

(So what has this got to do with KISS on the feature image… about the same as I know about AFL… nothing)…

Preparing your Competition for a new Season

The following video tutorial will take you through the process of preparing your Competition for the new season.


The video starts by showing you how to download the results from last year that you can save away in your historical archives for future generations.

After posting some banter to your Coaches about the draft, that video takes you through resetting the competition to the “Pre-season” mode.  In resetting, you have two options:

  • Reset and Keep the Squads: this is ideal for Keeper style Competitions where the Coaches my keep part of their squad and carry them into the new season
  • Reset Everything: this option will reset the Competition and will also blow away all of the squads from last year so you can start fresh.

In “Pre-season” mode, you are free to delete and add Clubs and change the draft order.  The video shows you how to change from a Snake style draft (ie. top to bottom, bottom to top etc) to a linear style draft (ie. top to bottom, top to bottom etc) and then even override particular specific draft picks.  Overriding specific draft picks is ideal for Competitions that trade draft picks.

With your draft order setup you can now start your draft.  The tutorial will show you the Draft Management Console which the Competition Manager can use in a Live Draft to enter the players as the draft progresses.  The Draft Management console can also be used for online drafts to track, monitor and enter draft picks.

With the draft complete, the Competition will return to “Home and Away” mode, ready for the season to start.



Nailing your draft


So you want to win The Bench? It all comes down to one thing: Nailing the draft.  Get that right and you’ll sail through the season, stuff it up and you’re headed for the wooden spoon.  This guide will run through a solid preparation strategy.  We play the standard rules with 3 mids, 3 forwards, 1 ruck & 1 tackler on the field plus an emergency.  Our squad size is 20, so I’ll base the article on that, if your rules are different you’ll need to adjust for that.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Show up
  2. Come prepared
  3. Pick the best players

And that’s it.  Easy right?

Seriously though, whether you have a live draft (ours is held at a pub, there will be 50 of us this year…) or it’s done online you’re at a massive disadvantage if you’re not there.  The autopick features for an online draft are pretty cool but nothing makes up for actually being there and being able to react as things change through the daft.

Preparation is everything.  Some coaches like to bring a laptop, I just use a printout.  Either way the lists of players you bring on the night are going to make or break your whole season.  Most of the work actually gets done before the draft starts.  Your basic requirements are 4 lists of players (one for each position).

Know your plan and stick to it

You should start with a clear idea of how your squad is going to look at the end of the draft.  My basic target squad is to end up with 7 mids, 7 forwards, 3 tacklers & 3 rucks.  You can vary that a bit, but you need to have a decent spread to cover injuries and byes.  As the draft progresses keep track of how many players you’ve got in each category separately so you end up with the right numbers at the end.

First few rounds – Pick the best player available regardless of position

While some coaches start with a plan to pick a particular player type in particular rounds, I find the best approach is to just pick the best available regardless of position, in the early rounds anyway.  In general that means picking player types that other coaches don’t.  If you have a late draft pick and there are a lot of rucks taken in round 1, you are probably better off picking a forward, mid or tackler.  That approach can and should be followed in the next few rounds as well.

Fill your round 1 line up

By round 8 (or 9) you should pretty much have filled out your round 1 team.  We see the odd exception, spare rucks are often popular.  Coaches that picked injured players (Tex Walker was a good example last year) early often grabbed a spare forward before filling the squad.

Plan for the byes

This is actually pretty easy, and there is no point in setting yourself up for a loss by having all of your best players out in the same week.  As a bare minimum start doing this after you’ve filled the starting line up, but I actually start doing this from round 2.  Keep track of which weeks your players have their byes.  Ideally you want a spread of players with byes in different weeks, especially across the mid & fwd categories.  In order to field a full team through the bye weeks you will need a minimum of 14 players (two rucks, two tacklers, 5 mids & 5 forwards) and that’s assuming you’ve spread them properly so no more than 2 mids/fwds with a bye in any week and the rucks & tacklers on different weeks.  If you’ve got players that can play multiple roles (someone like Rocky or Priddis can play mid & tackler) you could get away with one less.  After that you’re just filling out the rest of the squad to meet your original squad structure.

When to pick the roughies

Jarryd in round 1 or 2.  Jordan probably never.  OK seriously, views on when to pick speculative players vary a lot and it’s pretty common to see that secret late draft superstar you wanted get taken a few picks before you could get him. Some coaches start taking speculative players as early as round 9 once the starting line up is filled.  I don’t really think about it that way and prefer to just include the speccy players in my regular lists and just keep picking the best available.  What that means is if I really want a particular player, I just move them higher in my list.  Sometimes a lot higher.

Don’t pick Libba

I’ve had him the past two seasons and he’s been awesome, but not this year.  Make sure you cross off any major injures from your player lists.  There is nothing worse than realising that first round draft pick has done an ACL and that you’ve got a massive hole to fill.  And yes, Libba probably would have gone round 1 if he was fit.  There are sure to be a few coaches that pick him still.

Get your player lists right

If you’ve followed everything above, all you need to do is pick the best player off your lists each time.  The real secret is getting the players in the right order on those lists.  That is worth its own article or probably four articles.  Good luck.  See you at the draft. AC