Category Archives: Guide to TheBench

How to play BBLCEO 2018/19 on TheBench

We are coming in to our third season of Big Bash on TheBench.

Last year was the first year we ran public competitions and we had 20 competitions running and got great feedback.

So if you love your Big Bash, round your mates up and get ready to draft!


What is the scoring format?

We have intentionally kept the scoring very basic so that you can keep track of your match-ups easily. Those super cricket nerds like myself will see some similarities in the scoring format to the way Man of the Match is decided on the long running Cricket Captain game.

As with all our games on TheBench, you can customise the scoring for paid leagues ($10 per club) but we also offer a free version which is the easiest to setup if you just want to get it up and going.

Here is our basic FREE scoring:

  • Select THREE x Batsman (1 point per run, 5 points per catch and 5 points per run out)
  • Select ONE x Wicket Keeper (1 point per run, 10 points per catch, 10 points per stumping and 10 points per run out)
  • Select ONE x All Rounder (1 point per run, 5 points per catch, 5 points per run out and 20 points per wicket)
  • Select TWO x Bowlers (1 point per run, 5 points per catch, 5 points per run out and 20 points per wicket)
  • Select ONE x Bench (this player will automatically substitute into a playing position if your starter does not play and they are the same position).


Who should I look for?

It was a bit of an unknown as to which positions would score the best, but in the end there was a mixture of all positions up the top of the leaderboard.

To give you a bit of an idea on who scored the best in this format, here is last year’s top 10:

  1. D’Arcy Short (All Rounder) – 584
  2. Alex Carey (Keeper) – 555
  3. Dwayne Bravo (All Rounder) – 444
  4. Shane Watson (All Rounder) – 401
  5. Rashid Khan (Bowler) – 386
  6. Jofra Archer (All Rounder) – 375
  7. Andrew Tye (Bowler) – 337
  8. Ashton Agar (All Rounder) – 324
  9. Ben Laughlin (Bowler) – 321
  10. James Faulkner (All Rounder) – 318

Over the next few weeks we will be posting articles about the best squads and the availability of each of the International players. So keep an eye on the Facebook page.


You in?

If you like the sound of this, then let’s get started. Head to TheBench and login or sign-up today!

* Paid leagues allow you to customise the draft order, scoring, number of players in each position, use a waiver wire, customise captains and utilise the rolling lockout. The cost for this is just $10 per club.

Mid-season Drafts

BucketOfPlayersWell here we are again, very near half way through the season and time to start thinking about your mid-season draft.

The mid-season draft is an optional feature of TheBench that many of our competitions choose to run. It adds a great extra dimension to your competition and gives those who find themselves somewhat more challenged in the winners circle department, something to look forward to rather than resigning themselves to a season of bottom dwelling misery.

How it works

How does it work? Well I’m glad you asked.  It is all very simple and works very much the same as your pre-season draft.  All the coaches in your competition simply drop their duds, the competition manager starts the mid-season draft, each coach takes it in turn to draft new players and before you know it your squads are full again, the mid-season draft ends and you are ready for the next round.

Getting set-up

As the Competition Manager, you need to decide how you want to govern the mid-season draft.  Some competitions make it optional to drop players while others enforce a rule for all coaches to de-list a fixed number of players before the mid-season draft is started. It is up to you and you will need to co-ordinate with your coaches to make sure they comply.

If you have set up zero squad changes during the season, you will need to temporarily increase the “Max Squad Changes” parameter on the League Edit page.  This will effect all Competitions in your League so you will want to co-ordinate if you are running a multiple Competition League.

Just remember that the more players you drop, the better the quality of pool will be to draft from.  If your coaches are only delisting a couple of players, you will find that the mid-season draft doesn’t make much difference as you are just moving around the duds.

The draft order is controlled the same as the pre-season draft, that is, as the Competition Manager you can edit the draft order on the Competition Manager page.  Some competitions leave the original order the same while others choose to make the order is reverse ladder order so give the bottom dwellers the first a chance to even things up.

As with the pre-season draft, you have the option to turn on the draft pick timer and for coaches to setup their preferences in advance to keep the draft moving along.  When you Competition Manager starts the mid-season draft, all previous draft preferences will be blown away so you don’t end up with drafting players with preferences from your pre-season draft.

To start the mid-season draft, the Competition Manager simply needs to click the “Start Mid-season Draft” link on the Competition Edit page.

Once enabled, coaches will be able to access the Draft Manager page from the top menu and will be able to enter their preferences and picks on the Home page.

The draft will continue until all Squads are full.  If a particular Club fills their squad before the others (eg. if the didn’t drop as many players), their turn in the draft will be simply skipped.

You can follow the progress of the draft on the draft log tab on the Draft Manager page.

That is about it, nothing to it right!




The Rolling Lockout

The Rolling Lockout is typically available for all rounds that span more than 3 days.  Looks for the star icon on the Fixture page.

If you are not sure what the Rolling Lockout means, the rules are pretty simple at a high level.

1. A player can be changed at any time throughout the round up until their respective games start.
2. By default, only the starting line-up of players will be eligible for rotation off the bench.

More specific detail can be found here.

Your Competition Manager can choose to disable the enforcing of rule 2.

Rule 2 is intended to stop Coaches deliberately selecting an injured player to force another player to come off the bench. eg. Say you picked Jack Redden on the bench and Tom Liberatore as a Tackler. Jack plays first and he has a blinder, scoring 11 tackles. There is a good chance Tom will not beat 11 tackles so you change Tom to Kieren Jack who you know is injured meaning, without rule 2, Kieren will get swapped with Jack giving you the 11 tackles.

New Head to Head Features



You may have noticed we have recently updated the Head to Head page on the iOS app.  You can see the Head-to-head page on from the Home page by clicking on any of the games.

The main difference is the page now shows you forecasts.  The forecasts are based on historical averages.

Up the top, under to total score and the count of players who have played is the total forecast score, labelled “Forecast”.  This is a sum of the averages for all the players that are picked in the team.  The best thing is as the round progresses, this forecast is updated with the actual scores as each player plays.  This means you can keep track of the likelihood of you pulling off a win or a loss as the round ticks through.

For each player, their forecasted score is shown in light blue.  As they play, their actual score is updated in a dark colour.


The rolling lockout and the loophole

lockoutOne of the best features on The Bench is the rolling lockout, and since AFL round 1 runs over 5 days, it’s probably going to be in use in your league at least for this weekend.  It’s also a great chance to have a free hit using the emergency loophole.

Ben has done a great job of restricting the use of the emergency loophole and the rules are pretty strict (link here) but with some careful planning you can still take advantage of it.  Here are the rules as they are written:

Positions changed after the initial round closure in anyway (ie. changes via the rolling lockout) will not be eligible for bench rotation. Even if a position is changed and then returned to the original starting line-up, the system will still record it as a change. This rule prevents a coach placing an injured player on the field to force a player off the bench (eg. the bench player had 11 tackles so I change my tackler to an injured player, forcing the bench player with 11 tackles to come into play).

The basic idea is that you have a player on the bench that plays early in the round.  If he gets a good score, then leave a player that isn’t playing in the lineup.  If he doesn’t, then use the rolling lockout to replace the non-player with your next best player.  The rules are pretty tight so it’s not as simple as it sounds.  The trick is that you must have an injured player (or two) in your starting lineup BEFORE THE START OF THE ROUND.

If that sounds overly complicated here’s a real example of what I plan on doing.  I like to use tacklers for the loophole but any position will do. We had our draft on Friday night, and my two best tacklers are McGlynn and Ward.  I’ve also got Aaron Black, who I suspect won’t get a game in round 1.  The Swans play on Saturday and the Giants and Kangaroos both play on Sunday. So the plan is to have McGlynn on the bench and Black named as tackler.  If McGlynn has a good game then I leave it all as it is and McGlynn will automatically replace Black as tacker at the end of the round. If McGlynn has a poor game then I’ll just use the rolling lockout to replace Black with Ward.

There are two really important points here. Firstly, I have a non-player (Black) and the potential replacement (Ward) playing after the man on the bench (McGlynn). And secondly, Black will be named as the tackler before the start of the round and won’t be touched unless McGlynn has a poor game.

Now this is all dependent on Black not actually getting a game which is far from certain. If Black plays then I won’t be using the loophole this week at all.  By the time the next extended round comes up I’ll probably have a couple of injured players on the list to use.

In our league we’ve had issues in the past where coaches have tried to use this but added an injured player to the lineup during the round and then according to Rules the player does not get replaced by the bench and they’ve finished the round a man down.  So if you’re going to try this make sure you start the round with a non-player in there from the beginning. Good luck!

One more thing to be aware of.  The loop-hole rule is on by default but it can be disabled by your Competition Manager so make sure you check that start of this rule in your competition.



Getting the most from the Coaches Box

If you are anything like me on a Friday night, you have arrived home with a few beers under your belt, your kids are screaming in your ears, TheBench iPhone App has told you 50 minutes ago that the round is closing soon and so you have 10 minutes to get your team in before the round closes.

What you need is to know how to get the most out of the Coaches Box page on TheBench so your slight inebriation, concentration zapping noise and ticking clock doesn’t make you accidentally play Sandy-pants as a tackler or Stephen Tip-Rat Milne as a Ruckman.  Here are a few quick tips to get you in and out quickly and effectively.

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Sort by Position:

Sort by position is my first point of call when picking a team.  On the coaches box, use the drop-down menu to choose a position to sort your squad.  The squad will be sorted based on previous week averages (or last year if before round 1).

If you are playing in a League with position restrictions, the sorted list will also be filtered to only contain the players eligible for the selected position.

The player averages and total games played are shown for each player so you can get a quick feel for how they are performing.

I normally just go through each position and make sure my top performing players are named on the field.


Player Health:

One thing to keep an eye on is player injuries.  TheBench tries to help you by showing an “heart” icon next to each player who is understood to be either injured or suspended.  Keep in mind though that the health icon is only a guide and will not be 100%, 100% of the time given how often injury and suspension status change.   You will also need to check the team line-ups on the AFL website as described below.


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Quick Stats:

If you want to get some quick stats on a particular player without going to the player profile pages, you can click on the down arrow icon to expand the player tile to show more stats and info.

This is great to do a quick check that their average isn’t boosted by a freak one off performance while their regular performance is actually much, much less.  I have been caught out in the past with a player having a single one off blinder which bolstered their average while never achieving any where near that average again!



It is a good idea to also check the match-ups so you can see who your competitor is playing and to get some projections on what your named team may score (based on previous averages).  It is a really good way to get a quick feel for your teams strengths and weaknesses and make any minor adjustments.


Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 2.58.55 pmSquad Performance:

If you want to get a more detailed view of your squads performance, there is a set of handy icons at the top of the player list.  The first icon links your through to the Squad Performance page (which is also available on the Squad page).

The Squad Performance Page lists a full set of scores and stats for each player for a given round.  You can quickly check how a player is preferring, flicking between different rounds as needed to see how they played.  This page also gives you information about bench rotations and the positions to selected each player in your weekly teams.


Squad Compare:

Another handy link from in the set of icons above the player list on the Coaches Box is to the Squad Compare page.  The Squad Compare page gives you a round by round view of all your squads performance by score.  If you don’t have position restrictions enabled, this page also lets you select different positions to compare.

The players are sorted automatically by their overall average performance so you can quickly see who is hot and who is not.


Check the Names Teams on the AFL site:

The final thing I do is do a quick check of who is names in the team on the AFL site.   The teams are normally posted around 6pm on a Friday for a Friday night game round kick-off.   The teams can normally be found here:

Leagues and Competitions – What’s the difference

So what is the difference between a League and a Competition on TheBench™.

A League defines the core rules for your game.  The League defines the positions on the field, the scoring rules, the field position layout, squad size and rule for drafting and delisting and the code (eg. AFL or NRL).

A Competition on the other hand belongs to a League.  You can create as many Competitions in a League as you like.  All Competitions will inherit the rules of your League.  You will be able to tweek some minor rules in your Competition but for the most part the League defines the rules.

An analogy would be a regional League in the real world, the Eastern Football League for example.  And similarly within the Eastern Football League there exists a set of separate Competitions (or Divisions) in which a set of Clubs fight it out for the premiership of their respective Competition within the Eastern Football League.

Some of our users have clubs relegated and promoted between Competitions within their overall League.

The Waiver Wire

contract_thebenchWaiver Wire

One of the most voted for feature on our suggestion page this year was the Waiver Wire.  The Waiver Wire is a feature imported from the American NFL Fantasy Games and is a play on how the real world NFL Player contracts are managed and traded throughout the season.  Checkout more about Waivers here.

In our game, Waivers are a better and more fair way to manage the drafting and delisting of players during the season and is really made up of three main parts:

  • Waivers: Players dropped from any Squad are temporarily flagged as being under Waiver, preventing them from being drafted to another Club without a Waiver Claim Request.
  • Free Agent Window: This is the period where any player, unless under Waiver, can be drafted.  Outside the Free Agent Window, no player can be drafted but a Claim Request can be submitted for processing upon the start of the Free Agent Window.  The Free Agent Window opens a few days before the start of the next Round and closes once the Round starts.  You can see when the Free Agent Window opens on the Fixture page.
  • Claim Requests: A request for drafting a Player under Waiver or outside the Free Agent Window.  The system will process requests nightly during the Free Trade Window and in the order of the lowest ranking coach first.

The following guide provides some information on how to use the Waiver Wire and what to expect.


Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 12.56.12 pmDelisted Players

With the Waiver Wire enabled (which your Competition Manager can do for custom Leagues), all players that are delisted and under Waiver will be shown on the Home page in the Waiver Wire panel (see screenshot).

The Waiver Wire panel will show the time when the Player will return to the free market and will also give all coaches a chance to request a Claim Request to draft the Players.

Coaches can also access the “My Waiver Requests” page to view and manage all of their submitted Claim Requests.  See below for more about managing your Claim Requests.

A player must remain in the Waiver Wire for at least 24 hours.  Realistically it is 24 hours plus the time until the Waiver Request processing job runs.


Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 1.05.30 pmSubmitting a Claim Request

To submit a Claim Request, a Coach need only click the plus sign next to the Player on the Waiver Wire panel to open the “Create Waiver Claim Request” page. A Coach can do the same from the Players profile page.

When submitting a Claim Request, a coach can also, optionally, nominate a Player from their Squad to drop in the process.  This saves a coach having to drop a Player in advance to make room on what might be a speculative request.  Clicking Submit saves the request and adds it to the queue for processing.


Managing your Claim Requests

You can manage your active Waiver Claim Requests from the “My Waiver Requests” page.  You can delete them or change the priority order.  The up arrow will push a Claim Request up the priority order which means it will be processed first.  A Coach can also delete their Claim Requests at any time by hitting the bin icon.

The information on the page also shows you when a request is due for processing and when the Claim Request job is next due to run.

Coaches cannot see other Coaches Claim Requests, and for a good reason, Coaches would want to keep this sort of stuff private.  The Competition Manager however, as per everything else on TheBench, can see other Coaches requests so they can manage the Competition.  You just need to trust your Competition Manager, easier for some than others!

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 1.09.16 pm



Processing Claim Requests

Claim Requests are processed every night at around 8pm during the Free Agent Window.  It will also run just before the Free Agent Window opens to process the Claim Requests before all Players are released to the open market.

Claim Requests are processed in reverse order of the Ladder.  That is, the Club at the bottom gets their highest priority Claim Request processed first, then the second bottom etc up to the top.  The system then returns to the bottom and processes the second priority Claim Requests and continues until all Claim Requests that can be processed are processed.

If a Coaches highest priority Claim Request is rejected for any reason, the Player is already taken for example, the system will try to process the next priority Claim Request.  It will continue to try to process at least one request for the given Coach before moving to the next Coach.

Coaches will be able to view the outcome of their Claim Request from the “My Waiver Requests” page.



So that is the Waiver Wire in a nutshell.  We hope you like it.  The Waiver Wire is new for us too so if you have any feedback on how to improve it, we are all ears.

In summary:

  • Delisted players need a Claim Request to be drafted for at least the first 24 hours after being dropped
  • All players can only be drafted during the Free Agent Window without a Claim Request
  • Claim requests are processed each night during the Free Agent Window, in reverse ladder order


New Features – Part 2

afl-new-features-2This is a follow up on Part 1 of the new features for 2015.  You can read part 1 here:

In Part 1 we covered off the following.  All of which were requested on our suggestions page which you can find here:

  • The Waiver Wire
  • Changing the way the Ladder is sorted
  • Drafting models
  • Timezones

Now we need to talk about a bunch of other great new stuff.

Captains, Vice Captains, Kickers, Best Dressed

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.25.43 pmIn custom Leagues, we have supported the notion of a bonus for a few years now.  In the AFL games, the bonus position is typically used as a Captain where a Coach can nominate any position to be the Captain and get extra points.

In NRL games, the bonus position is typically used as the Kicker where a Coach can nominate a position to be the Kicker and so get extra points for goals.

New in 2015 is the ability to now add a second bonus position which can be used as a Vice Captain in AFL for example or a Captain in NRL in addition to the Kicker.

To set up the bonus position you can do the following:

  1. Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.39.20 pmGo to the League Edit page, you can find it on your Profile pages if you are a League Manager
  2. On the advanced tab of the League Edit page, you will find two check boxes to enable each of the two bonus positions.
  3. You will also find two text fields to give your Bonus positions a name, hit save.
  4. Next you need to tell the system how to calculate the scores for the bonus positions, on the left side menu, click “Positions and Scoring”
  5. Now for each Position, click edit, go to the Advanced tab and add your scoring rules for each of the Bonus positions.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.46.33 pmScreen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.52.50 pm


Now on the “Coaches Box” page, your Coaches will be able to choose either of the two bonus positions.  Coaches just need to click the initial of the bonus position to enable it for a given position.





Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.30.49 pmiOS App

The iOS app has had a complete refresh.  You can read more about it here:


Creating Users with Clubs

This is a small thing but saves a lot of time when trying to get your Competition setup for the first time.  In the past, a Competition Manager had to send an invite out to coaches to get them to sign themselves up – sounds easy enough but we all know organising a group of blokes is like herding cats.  Now a Competition Manager can register a new User when then add a Club.  The system will send the new User an email with their new password and info on how to log in.


Customising Individual Draft Picks

We wrote about the various Draft Models that are available on TheBench in Part 1 but we didn’t go through customising the individual positions.

As the Competition Manager, and when in the Pre-season, ie. before you have started your draft, if you go to the Competition Edit page you will find a “Manage Draft Order” link.  This will take you to a page where you can customise every and any position in the Draft. If you have coaches who have traded draft picks or have run an auction for the first round picks, for example, you can now quickly update the system to suit.

Be aware though that if you add or remove a club or move around the draft priorities, the system will reset to draft to your preferred draft model and blat your customisations.  Just make sure you have everything settled before you make any changes to the picks.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 11.06.43 pm


Drafting Preferences and Disabling Auto-picks

You have been able to setup draft preferences on TheBench for a long time.  Draft preferences is where you nominate your list of players in advance and when your turn in the draft comes around, the system auto-magically picks your next highest ranking available pick.

For some time, we have also supported advanced draft preferences where you can create separate lists of draft preferences and tell the system to pick from a particular list for a particular draft round.  For example, you can have a Midfielder list to be used for draft picks 3, 5, 7 and 9 and then a Back Row list for picks 1, 2, 4 and 6 (mixing up codes there for a moment).

This is great if you wanted to get things setup in advance and didn’t want to hold up the draft when it got to your pick.

What it didn’t do however was let you take control and do a manual pick without having to blow away all your preferences.

Now, on the Club Edit page (available from your Profile page), you can choose to enable or disable Auto Picks from your Draft Preferences.  When enabled, things work the same as last year.  When disabled, your Draft Manager page will show you your draft preferences as a prompt on who is available in your lists but still lets you hit the button to draft – just in case you needed to think on the run and make a few tweaks.

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 11.30.43 pm


What else?

What else is up to you as users of TheBench.  If you have an idea, no matter how small or big, post it on our suggestions page and we will see what we can do to get it baked into the System.  You can find there suggestions page here:


iOS App Update

I have been hard at work over the off season giving the iOS App a bit of a face-lift (actually it is more than a facelift, it has been a complete re-write of every single line of the code, but lets not let details get in the way of a good story).  You will be familiar with how the app works but it all looks a bit different so I thought I would take you through tit and introduce you to some of the new features.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 9.52.59 pmLook and Feel

The first thing you will notice is the look and feel.

The whole thing has been updated to be more iOS 8’ish (if that is a word), ie. updated to align closer with the new look-and-feel introduced by Apple in recent releases.  Clean lines, nice fonts and automatically resizing of the user interface so the app will look good on any size iPhone from the original screen size of iPhone 3 and 4, the longer form of the iPhone 5 and the new bigger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.



One of my favourite features of the recent Apple IOS updates is Widgets.  A Widget is one of the handy little panels that you can access from anywhere by just pulling your finger down from the top of the screen to reviews the “Today” page.  It means you don’t need to open the whole App (and close what you are doing) to access some quick info.

Well the good news is now TheBench has a widget! Yeee harr!

When you first load the App, open the “Today” page on your phone by dragging it down from the top.  At the bottom of the page, you will see an edit link when you can customise which widgets you see.  Click edit and you should find some options to add the TheBench widget to the “Today” page so you can get super quick updates to the scores as things progress through the weekend.



Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.30.49 pmThe Draft

We have previously never supported any draft functionality on the iOS app so I thought it was time we did something about it… so I did.

The app now not only lets you add and remove players from your squad during the season (see the Squad section below), but also lets you do it during the draft.

The bad news is that you now no-longer have any excuse for holding up your draft.

The biggest change you will see is the new Draft Tracker page which will load in place of the Home page when the draft is running.  The Draft Tracker page lets you see who has the next pick and also gives you a running account of who has recently been picked.

Front and centre on the screen is a timer which will either count up, if you have no time limit, or down if you do have a time limit set on draft picks.  This tab is a great little heads up display to sit on the table during a live draft.


Picking a Team

Picking a team is not all that different to previous versions of the app other than a lick of paint.  If you support a bonus position like Captain or Kicker, you will see the option at the top of the list.  You can also Sort the list by the players average score for a positions.  As on the Website, your Competition Manager can edit which Positions are used for the sorting.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 9.28.13 pmScreen Shot 2015-01-27 at 9.28.18 pm



The Squad page has been rebuilt to add a couple of features that have been asked for on our Feature Request page (which is here by the way:, specifically the ability to add you your squad and the ability to drop players.

Firstly, dropping players is now as easy as, well, a swipe of your finger.  As is common on iOS Apps, simply swipe your finger from right to left across the player you want to drop and the “Delete” option will be reviled.  Simply touch the Delete button to drop the Player from your Squad.

With a Player deleted, you can now also add players to your Squad by touching on the + at the top right of the screen.  This will take you to the Add Player page from where you can search for and add players to your squad.

The best news is, as mentioned above, this functionality also works during draft so you can now make your draft picks on the run.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.52.26 pmScreen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.52.34 pmScreen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.52.42 pm



Home Page & Ladder

I have given the home page a touch-up or two as well.  Functionally is largely the same as you have seen in previous years but it is now better.

You can click on any of the games to view the head-to-head page to see exactly who your opponent has picked in their team and who is scoring all the points.

An then there is the ladder… not much to say about the ladder… still there…

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So that’s about it as a very quick walk through.  A few new key features, a lick of paint and you should find better performance and stability all around.

As always, if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them so post them up on our suggestions page here: