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TheBench Lockdown

Draft based fantasy sport…
in a lockdown!

We think we have cracked it! A way to continue to play fantasy footy while our beloved footy players are off flattening the curve. We are calling it TheBench Lockdown and we have just launched for NRL and AFL!

We are the only Australian Fantasy Sports platform running during the COVID-19 crisis (at least that we know about!)

To play, you can just set-up your private competition as you normally would do with your now “socially distanced” mates, choosing either AFL Lockdown or NRL Lockdown as the sports code.

Check out this video for info on how to convert your competition over to Lockdown.

If you had already set you a 2020 season competition, we have built a handy tool to convert your competition over to LockDown. Your 2020 season competition will remain untouched so we get (hopefully) get that running again soon.

Check out our video for info on how to convert your competition over to Lockdown.

New to TheBench?

If you are new to TheBench, simply sign-up here, and follow the wizard to setup a new competition in either AFL or NRL. Invite your mates, run a quick online draft and you are ready to go. For new users, there is plenty of info here.

If you have already signed up to TheBench and want to create a brand new Lockdown competition, just go to your profile page (access from the dropdown menu at the top right) and choose “Create Competition” from the Games menu, scroll down to pick a Lockdown Game and follow the screens to get setup.

Summary of how it works

Once you have set up your competition, the rest works like this:

1. Draft a squad of players like normal but not just from this year, pick any player, past and present. Yep, all-stars, all your heroes can play!
2. Each round we nominate an era from the last decade. As a coach, you need to field your best team from your squad who can compete in that era.
3. The player’s performance and score will be recorded based on a specific round during that era. We will progressively feed stats in during the round.

Running a Draft

You can run your draft online as you would normally with TheBench. For a online draft there are a few different models for who picks when. For example, the Snake mode is the most popular where coaches pick in turn from first to last, then last to first and then repeating the pattern until all squads are full.

All the legends return!

Another popular model that we love is the Quick draft. You will be able to smash through your draft in around an hour with this mode. The Quick draft is super fun, it basically lets everyone draft simultaneously. Even 2 minutes (or so, you can set), the system opens up for everyone in your competition to draft one player. If you are not quick enough, you need to find another player who is available.

The only other difference you will notice in your draft will be that you can pick any player from the last decade.

AFL and NRL Variations

We are going to play two slight variations across NRL and AFL to test which works best, (and just in case we need to go again)!

For AFL we have 13 years worth of stats so can go back that far. You will need to pick a team to cover that whole range of years. Pick a team with legends from the past and legends from the present.

For NRL, we are going to pick a single year in the past to the ultimate in nostalgia. We will be following exclusively the year 2004, and oh what a year! Each week we will randomly load a round from 2004;

Season length

We are looking to run a 9 round competition, plus finals. That should let you play everyone in your competition once (assuming a 10 coach comp).

If everyone still has the wog a bit longer than that we will likely run another LockDown season. Fingers crossed we can get on with the real thing by then!

The rounds and scoring

All the legends return!

For AFL we will nominate an era for each round and post it on our Facebook page. An era may be from one, two years or maybe more concurrent years, eg. 2011, or 2010 to 2012. We will be using all years for which we have historic statistics on TheBench. For AFL we go back to 2007.

As mentioned above, for NRL we will locking it down to the legendary year of 2004.

As a coach, you will need to do your research to see which of your players performed well during that era and field them in your team. As the round closes, we will identify the year/season and a particular round and will progressively load the stats from that round, over the weekend. When the round closes, we will communicate the round on our Facebook page so you and your geographically challenged mates can find a copy of your favourite game and watch it together with an open HouseParty session running.

What this all means is you need to think hard during your draft, you will need to pick a squad that gives you good coverage across all years. If you field a player who didn’t play in that era or who had a week off, the system will treat it the same as a player who doesn’t play, that is they will score zero and they will rotate with your bench positions if available.

Every other aspect of the scoring will be the same as your normal experience on TheBench. You can continue to use your own custom scoring rules and the players will score based on the stats we load (from the year/round we pick).

We plan to make it easy for you with a simple button for your competition manager to click to create a LockDown competition from your existing setup.


We plan to charge a small fee of $5 per coach to play. This will help us keep the lights on while the real season is at a standstill. We figure it is not much more than a posh cup of coffee and we think everyone will get stacks more value from it.

Your input

We are still putting the final touches on things and would love your feedback and ideas. Jump on to our Facebook page here and let us know what you think.

On Monday we will launch and you will be able to start to set up your competitions. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for details.

We will keep this page up to date with details.

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Ben is founder of TheBench. Famous for being relegated two years in a row in his League on TheBench so perhaps more capable in running the site than running his team.

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