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Fairfax’s fantasy fail: Dream teams breathe new life into footy

Richard Hinds bashes DT

This Saturday’s Age newspaper includes a disingenuous and ignorant attack on Australian fantasy football.

The article, entitled Dream teams suck the life out of footy, is the first mainstream media attack on Dream Team, and by extension the rest of the Australian fantasy football industry, that I can remember. What makes it ridiculous in my eyes is that Hinds is not even railing against fantasy football itself, just that it is now focused mostly on the Internet and on what he calls “mass-entry” competitions. Hinds details his participation in offline private draft leagues dating back many years, so he is obviously a fan of fantasy footy in general. Where he shows his ignorance is in claiming that Dream Team and other salary cap competitions have no community. This very site is proof that he is wrong, as tens of thousands of people log on to FanFooty every week to read and post in the live chat during games, with healthy numbers of you also posting comments on this blog, and our new FanFooty forum growing like topsy. The BigFooty fantasy section gets better and bigger every year, while there are other fantasy-specific forums like Dream Team Forum and the DT Talk forum.

Richard Hinds FAILHinds’ main problem seems to be that he doesn’t like the Internet. Richard, that just makes you look old. Fantasy football is a young person’s game, and young people don’t have the same hangups you do. They know that the Internet is just one part of a person’s communication throughout a day, and whether you talk to people in person or online doesn’t matter. Further, young people have no problem mixing online and offline contact with the same groups of people. It’s not as if fantasy fans have one set of people they interact with in real life, and then another completely separate set of online acquaintances through fantasy football. I would venture to guess that the majority of Australian fantasy football leagues – whether they be part of “mass-entry” salary cap competitions or online private draft leagues such as FanFooty, Ultimate Footy or Premium Dream Team, or offline private draft leagues like the ones Richard himself still participates in – are extensions of real life social groupings. Workmates still gather around the Iced Vo-Vo tray at the office and talk Dream Team on Monday mornings. Families talk Dream Team in the lounge room. Schoolmates talk Dream Team in the schoolyard, playground, shelter shed, footy fields, classroom, school bus…

I have a question to ask Richard: why didn’t you include tipping competitions in your little rant? The same issues apply: an offline activity moving mostly online, lack of community feel to online tipping comps, fans rooting for teams they wouldn’t care about otherwise just because they tipped the team to win. What’s so different about that?

Another aspect of this is the fact that Hinds works for Fairfax, which has dropped the ball on fantasy football – a subject I am wary of bringing up, because I don’t want to suggest that he was put up to this article by an editor, or that he wrote it out of jealousy that his contemporaries over at the News Limited papers are having such success with the Super Coach competition. Fairfax was one of the pioneers of fantasy football in this country with a competition in the mid-1990s, as I detail in my short history of Australian fantasy football post. News Limited played catch up back then, but now they have the most popular fantasy football competition in the country, surpassing even AFL Dream Team itself in registrations last year. It is disingenuous for a Fairfax journalist to attack fantasy football when the organisation he works for has been so clueless in taking up the opportunity that its own paper established in the first place. I speak as someone who has tried in vain, as many others have in this industry, to get Fairfax management to embrace fantasy football once again – something they really do need to do to stop the News Limited domination of the space. I don’t know if Hinds is expressing the views of his superiors, but the public attitude by Fairfax has been cold towards fantasy footy in this decade, and this article doesn’t help.

The funny thing about this is that participation in fantasy football actually increases consumption of football media, including publications like The Age. Fantasy coaches have to know about not just the 40 players on their favourite club’s list, but the full 700+ lists of all 16 clubs, down to rookies and NSW scholarship players. Fantasy coaches watch more games, read more newspapers, load up more Web sites and amass more knowledge about the game than any of the nicotine-stained reprobates standing on the tops of beer cans in uncovered terraces of yore.

Another weak insinuation is the old chestnut of fantasy fans being a minority of cardigan-wearing geeks. However, Hinds also talks about “mass-entry” and the dehumanisation of crowds. You can’t have it both ways, Richard! Are you accusing 250,000 people of all being nerds? In which case, you’re the one looking like the nerd who doesn’t get it, Richard.

I’ll leave the final word to a couple of commenters called Superfist and Disco (UK) on the FanFooty blog – you know Richard, blog comments, which your site doesn’t allow – who sum up the feeling of fantasy fans.

Really a terrible article based upon a superficial understanding of what dream team is. I can’t believe it was even published – what low grade journalism to twice refer to competitions that he had some involvement in as if they were “more real” and more socially interactive while suggesting that ordinary dream team would dilute people’s interest in the game.

I saw that rubbish article. Its funny how the Age aren’t running a DT competition and their competitor (Herald Sun) is and the Age try to bag the shit out of DT. If the author did any research he’d find websites like FanFooty and DT Talk contradict his whole arguement about lack of meaningful interaction. People don’t like DT or don’t like cheering for a player in their DT playing against the team they barrack for simply won’t register a DT. Its a shame The Age website is in the dark ages and doesn’t provide a comments section for their articles, unlike the Herald Sun website. Let the smashing of said article begin!



  1. Phillip Molly Malone

    March 9, 2009 at 12:45 am

    “dream teams make you part of a massive crowd with which you have little meaningful interaction.”
    Maybe we should invite Mr Hinds to join in for a Live Recording of the Coaches Box Podcast of a Wednesday night? Then again, that might mean getting feedback.
    I wonder if the following is also true:
    “Reading the AGE makes you part of a massive crowd with which you have little meaningful interaction.”

  2. lenny&carl

    March 9, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Reading the AGE makes you part of a sanctimonious crowd with which you have little meaningful interaction, nor would you want such. Reading The Sun just makes you stupider.

  3. XztatiK

    March 9, 2009 at 1:36 am

    “Reading the AGE makes you part of a massive crowd with which you have little meaningful interaction.”

    Nope, more like:

    “Reading the AGE makes you part of a tiny crowd with which you have little meaningful interaction.”

  4. Disco (UK)

    March 9, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Cool, thanks for quoting me – our interaction must’ve been meaningful!

    Perhaps the agenda of the article is revealed in Hinds final sentence:
    “Not just more cross-promotional hits on the electric interweb.”

    Simply, he’s written a cross-promotional article about the highly popular Dream Team game presenting a view against the grain to provoke backlash gaining attention to generate extensive hits on The Age website.

  5. Kris

    March 9, 2009 at 11:10 am

    I actually emailed Hinds about this – which I’ve never done before, but was annoyed. First is my email, then his reply –

    On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 9:41 AM, Kris Stewart wrote:

    You REALLY sound like a tired old man with today’s article on Dream Team. I am a club member and a great supporter of my side, and no-one would ever accuse me of being a cardy wearing nerd (or however you characterized people that enjoy Dream Team). But I enjoy fantasy footy – we have a league at work, so I’ve met other folks here who’s paths I wouldn’t necessarily have crossed, and I’ve become much more interested in players from other sides. There is a net positive to the rise of fantasy football, and your article railing against this crazy new thing called the “internet” just made you sound like you were past it.

    best wishes,

    Hi Kris,
    Thanks for the email. I think you are in the majority opinion about me being a tired old man railing against modern communication – particularly in my own household.
    Again, thanks for the feedback.
    Cheers, Richard Hinds (SMH sport).

  6. Kennyrocks

    March 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm


    Firstly, the bloke is writing an article to make his living, primarily hes writing articles based on what his boss wants in the paper.

    Secondly, get a grip and learn to accept other people’s opinions and views.

    Thirdly, its just Dream Team get over it.

  7. Malteaser

    March 9, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Hasn’t got a clue this bloke.

    by the way anyone interested in joining my league in Draft style fantasty footy (Ultimate Footy) can do so. Code is 915422 and league name is Colleen Wood, live draft at 7pm tonight. It’s fun come along

  8. krabzy

    March 9, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Dream Team is fun, but it rots your brain. VirtualSports runs DT on a machine that feeds on the souls of newborn puppies. Every serial killer in history was a fantasy footballer. The world economic downturn was caused by DT. Kids that play DT fail science and maths, but pass drama. Iran’s nuclear weapons program is powered by Kane Cornes DT scores. If you play Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ backwards, it just says ‘Satan says to pick Joel Bowden’ over and over again. Brett Kirk’s kick to handball ratio is the main cause of global warming. Osama bin Laden has Gary Ablett as his captain.

    Richard Hinds is trying to save you all. Leave him alone. All of you. ALL OF YOU!

  9. Mick

    March 9, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    I read hinds story with a bit of a laugh. I wasnt sure if he was bagging the net and dream team footy, or if he was bragging about the fact he was doing it before it was trendy! I would say to Hinds, that me and fifteen other mates have had our own league going for 4 years now, we put in a $100 each and the winner $1400 and $200 goes to the end of year BBQ where a trophy engraved with the winners name gets presented to the winner by last years premier. We also have a mid year AGM -Piss up and have year long banter in the coaches box. It also enables us all to stay in touch with a mate who lives in London and is part of the team. All this makes dream team a hugely social tool for us all. Every time we all catch up talk quickly turns to DT and how our respective sides are doing, which leads to much good humored needling..

  10. XztatiK

    March 9, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Lol krabzy I laughed like shit at that.

    “Iran’s nuclear weapons program is powered by Kane Cornes DT scores.”


  11. Fatty

    March 10, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Well, I’m nine hundred years old and I love SC and DT.


  12. Tom

    March 10, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Good example of a nobody trying to say something controversial for a response. Here’s you response…

    Go and get fcuked!

  13. Dicko

    March 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Get over it guys. We all think its nonsense. Let’s get back to talking football.

  14. Muppet Executioner

    March 10, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Well Hinds will crash and burn with his editorship of that trendy mag in the Sunday age – I read it – what a load crap! Though the Age is a great read – Greg Baum covers cricket better than anyone and their world new coverage and opinion page are first class. And Peter Roebuck, whilst coming across as a bit of a punce, has a wonderful insight to cricket and is a superb writer.

  15. Nick

    March 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I believe most of his dislike of the game stems from his self esteem being rooted on his self created intelectual high horse and fantasy sports makes journalist level footy experts out of regular people, so his quest to be relevent is all the more hard work.

  16. Cam

    March 12, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Is it just me, or has there been a significant lack of Fanfooty blogs seeing as we are so close to season proper.

  17. Nick

    March 12, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    To be fair, looking at the dream team stats from the NAB cup and challenge games from last week, most of the players I’m looking at had the week off!

  18. Thorgils

    March 12, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Richard who???

    Never heard of him

    Sounds like a puller

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  21. SpaceGoats

    March 17, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    This guys a absolute idiot, must of been a slow news day or year for him. Im in a league here in W.A where we all get together a week after the DT season ends and get prizes for the winners etc, we catch up for drinks and talk about the DT year, so i know me and my fellow DT’ers in my have meaningful interaction…Get with the times Hinds…haha hey that Rhymes…..and so does that 😀

  22. SpeakNoEvil

    March 19, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I totally agree. However, some places, such as Bigfooty also seem to have an attitude issue regarding fantasy football. Posts on the fantasy section of the site don’t even count as ‘real’ posts.

    When I raised this with them, an admin told me to go post in the ‘proper’ areas of the site, which I found strange…

    This is not to mention the hate which many on the regular boards (bigfooty) seem to have for fantasy competitions.

  23. Les Dobson

    March 19, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Dobbo says:
    What a very strange philosophy. Fantasy football comp’s have been known to actually convert NRL fans to AFL, due to the fact that they have to get involved in the game to play the fantasy aspect.
    I have been a fan since, forever.

  24. diddley

    March 20, 2009 at 1:02 am

    i for one have actually got into the game because of SC. my mates started a couple of years ago, so i joined in their private league. i knew nothing when it came to players, next thing i know i am researching who is going to be the next big thing, and get a round 1 start from the rookie list. now i can watch every game of footy, and have a keen interest, because i have players playing, or forever scouting for new players to trade, whatever side is playing.
    as for the social aspect, i sell to a lot of tradies, and that is a keen topic of conversation every monday morning and friday afternoon. as well, as it seems, every footy game you watch at the pub, countless people will be cheering for both teams, because they are playing against their mate in their league, who standing next to them. friendly rivalry. what the game is all about.
    spot on monty. you didnt put a word wrong. and you backed every point up. top work.

  25. SpaceGoats

    March 20, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Thats it diddley, im the same, i watch all the games and scout new players and check stats etc, it makes the game more enjoyable even with teams you hate…haha

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