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.

High-Flying Swans Zero in on Grand Final Redemption

High-Flying Swans Zero in on Grand Final Redemption

Source: Sydney Swans via Facebook

Ask any fan of the red and white half of Sydney about the 2016 AFL Final and watch the smile slip away from their face. Last year’s minor premiers had one hand on the trophy after a stellar season that saw them dominate the league from start to finish. However, what would have been their third AFL flag in the club’s history was snatched from under their feet by a gallant Western Bulldogs outfit who managed to claim their first premiership in over fifty years.

In 2017, things went from bad to worse for Sydney and the side endured the club’s worst start in 24 years. The Swans lost their first six games of the season and headed into round seven with a percentage of 76.6 and found themselves 24 points behind league leaders the Adelaide Crows. In comparison, the South Australian team had a percentage of 160.9 and had scored 806 points to Adelaide’s 454.

This came as quite a shock to their loyal supporters who assumed that their club would start the new campaign in the same fashion as they played last season. Most pundits wrote the team off and claimed that they would not have any influence in this year’s competition. How wrong they were.

The Swans decided to take fate into their own hands and completely turned their season around. They went on to win the next 14 out of a possible 16 games and secured themselves a place in this year’s finals. That same team that had a percentage difference of 84.3 compared to top-of-the-table Adelaide finished off the normal season with an outstanding 126; only ten behind the Crows.

Source: Sydney Swans via Facebook

It’s no secret that Don Pyke’s men from South Australia have been the dominant side all year and have constantly set the bench mark for how teams need to perform if they wish to challenge for the flag. However, due to the lack of consistency from other top-eight clubs, footy fans have struggled to find a genuine contender to challenge Adelaide for the title.


Sydney seems to be the team that has answered the call and are now looking like genuine title contenders. Bookmakers still think that the Crows will lift the trophy though, and have them as favourites at $3.40 with the Swans steadily creeping up behind them at $5.00.

There’s no doubt it will be a gruelling final series and injuries will surely play a large part in the outcome of both side’s Grand Final hopes. Some punters may want to grab some free advice from one of the online tipping sites such as to ensure they are up to date with all available players and squad selection.

The Swans defeated the Crows in round 22 at the Adelaide Oval, and that will have given them a huge psychological advantage if the two teams happen to meet on their path to the Grand Final. Sydney better be careful, though, because this is an Adelaide side that absolutely has nothing but revenge on the agenda for a team that has scorned them on the last two occasions.

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!




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 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.



AFL Injuries Round 15

Quick update on AFL injuries and suspensions after Round 15.