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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. west

    March 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    monty has to lead the charge to have hinds fired!!!

  2. Chad

    March 7, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    what else do you expect from the age?

  3. Butane

    March 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I don’t think Hinds needs to be fired butit is a very strange article.

  4. MiGZ

    March 7, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    I hate you Richard Hinds.

  5. fryzie

    March 7, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    Revenge of the Nerds:

    Things turned nasty after a local fantasy football pragmatist known as m0nty has led an online rally against Richard Hinds for his uneducated viewpoints on the world of fantasy football and its current effects on the social aspect of the game among the average Aussie Rules supporters.

  6. Vinesboy76

    March 7, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    just his opinion, which nobody respects….

  7. rooke33

    March 7, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I fail to see how his competitions were more ‘real’, if you were to play premium dream team in a league with your mates the only difference i see is that the site would do the scoring for you. I see lack of research from a man who obviously hasn’t played in a dream team league before.

  8. Athomas

    March 7, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    lol what a sadcase 😀

  9. NT.Thunder

    March 7, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    His DT last year must have included. Chornes, Lucas, McVeigh, Jones, Chappy, HMac, Kerr, Kennelly and the likes.

    So you had a bad year Hine, SUCK S##T! Maybe have alook through the FF $ BF Forums, you never know you might actually enjoy it.

  10. coasters

    March 7, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I just emailed Mr Hinds, the alleged AFL expert, and let him know my thoughts on his article!!! I urge you to do the same.

  11. coasters

    March 7, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I have decided Mr Hinds has just been 0% effective, given a 50m penalty away and committed a the biggest clanger of all… Shame on you Mr Hinds!

  12. TRS

    March 8, 2009 at 12:09 am

    In Hinds We Distrust.

  13. Max

    March 8, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Haha i agree with N.T Thunder

  14. Lakey91

    March 8, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Monty, whyd the site go down? Did you get a wrap on the knuckles for this or anything?

  15. abs of steele

    March 8, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Can’t believe the site was taken away just for this.

  16. the_insid3r

    March 8, 2009 at 12:42 am

    who would have thought? a journalist who failed to research the subject he was writing about……. bagging the evolution of DT on the internet and making it sound like it’s something the “nerds” do, yet his own employer has taken to the internet like ducks to water.

  17. happy eagle

    March 8, 2009 at 12:42 am

    He makes good points about the increasing usage of stats in the game, but dosnt elaborate.

    As for DT being bad for the game
    – It gives the AFL a tremendous Profit
    – Some people get more out of the game, because of DT

    He also said that DT is turning football into a “virtual community” . Clearly this guy dosnt get out enough, and has very little grip on society. DT is not completley virtual, and as m0nty said, DT is an example of water cooler talk. There is large ammounts of DT talk around the schools, workplaces (which Hinds should know, if he wasnt isolated at his desk all day)

  18. m0nty

    March 8, 2009 at 12:47 am

    No, Mr Hinds wasn’t to blame for FanFooty’s downtime this evening. Unfortunately my Web host had its first major outage for two years, timed extremely poorly. 🙁

  19. Lakey91

    March 8, 2009 at 12:53 am

    Is that what they told you to say? Jokes!

    Im sure you got to watch the game anyway and will have all the relevent info.

    Cheers mate.

  20. Max Power

    March 8, 2009 at 1:23 am

    Give Hinds the spud!

  21. Cicjose

    March 8, 2009 at 1:24 am

    OMFG this guy is an idiot. if he bothered to have actually got a few friends and set up a league he could find himself with a talking point in AFL and prove his statement a load of bs

    “dream teams make you part of a massive crowd with which you have little meaningful interaction.”

  22. ben

    March 8, 2009 at 1:35 am

    yes it’s all a bit sad isn’t it? poor richard, things were more real in my day. i agree with him when he says these days we are saying so many more things to each other about not much, meaningless talk blah blah, but fantasy footy is great fun! and if you have the ear of thousands, like a well-paid fairfax journo, surely you could come up with something more interesting to say. the only people who would agree wouldn’t read it, because they don’t know what fantasy footy is.

  23. ben

    March 8, 2009 at 1:37 am

    me again. the real issues in fantasy talk are whether DT is better than SC, whether they will be able to handle the server load on the day before round 1, and how fantasy league involvement is changing the way we appreciate footy. let’s talk about that.

  24. mattyb

    March 8, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Seriously what an absolute cockhead… I would have a tattoo placed on my ass “hinds is a cockhead” just to have him sacked… Seriously get a clue!

  25. G-bang

    March 8, 2009 at 2:00 am

    Nice work monty, this guy is a knob head. seriously, i’d say 70% of the conversations I have in the lunch room at work or with my mates on the weekends revolves around DT.

    What a load of rubbish. Hinds is a dog.

  26. Oliver

    March 8, 2009 at 4:58 am

    God if it wasnt for dreamteam then all of us here in London playing would struggle to find any interest in the AFL. At least DT keeps us up to date with the goings on and makes it interesting for us when we cant watch every game!

  27. theuncle

    March 8, 2009 at 6:51 am

    Hinds’s arrogance is eclipsed only by his ignorance.

  28. Other Dan

    March 8, 2009 at 7:33 am

    What a joke, and all because Fairfax dropped the ball (pun intended) on the fantasy games. In the UK the papers have huge fantasy competitions and unlike here they have a small entry fee, it’s big money.

    Keep up the excellent work Monty.

  29. Other Dan

    March 8, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Oh yes and for the record, the fantasy competitions is what has brought me into the AFL game. My first sport is soccer and I love the fantasy games linked to that sport. IMO, though the AFL game has the best fantasy competitions going in SC and DT, the scoring mechanisms are fantastic.

  30. Macca

    March 8, 2009 at 8:55 am

    With due respects m0nty. Your write up and the air time you are giving him is exactly what he wants. The very fact that there are thousands of DT followers is the reason why he’s criticising DT. By criticising something he loves works in his favour because his name reaches these thousands of readers instantaneously. DT people, mosquitoes like this guy have limited shelf life.

  31. Anthony

    March 8, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Isn’t the well thought out response from Monty and others exactly what the article is trying to achieve? Why react to something so mediocre?

  32. WOOFTA

    March 8, 2009 at 9:08 am

    If I mistake not,a strong sense of community is no small part of a DTer’s portion.

  33. stevo

    March 8, 2009 at 9:13 am

    What a fuckbag

  34. Fooj

    March 8, 2009 at 10:29 am

    This guy is a self indulgent w*nker who considers himself to be “one-up” on mainstream society. He actually states that he and his Toorak friends are very personal, very real, and very human because they participate in their own elitist league of w*nking each other off.

    He clearly lives in a fantasy world and has deliberately elected to stereotype all mainstream fantasy coaches as uncoordinated geeks with no sporting ability and limited social skills.

    If he had any contact with the real humans he would recognise that many mainstream fantasy coaches:
    * have played sport at a high level;
    * still utlise the standing areas at the G;
    * drink piss;
    * gamble within fantasy leagues;
    * have end of season gatherings; and
    * increased social interaction.

    Once again, The Age has demonstrated that is nothing but oversized tripe that cannot be digested by real humans.

  35. Spector

    March 8, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    What an utterly rubbish article. I can speak from 2 years experience at my work place that the online Dream Team is a great idea. It easily accessible sure… but that’s what makes it great. We can come in Monday morning shit talking back and forth about our team, players in our team, how all the games went. Likewise on a Thursday before lockout and also on the Friday – trying to get any inside information on what rival teams are doing with their trades, frantically trying to get the latest news on injuries, ins and outs and how well we think players will go.

    The best part of it all is the mix of people you get involved. Myself and a few others have memberships and are heavily into football while others have actually got into football through these competitions. Not purely from a stats perspective either, they actually get into watching the games on the weekend.

    For me and my work mates this game promotes REAL LIFE social interaction and I’m sure that this happens in many other places around Australia. One of the biggest things I’ve seen this year is the endorsement of Super Coach by the great man Sheeds… he has put blood, sweat and tears not just into his team over the years but also into our game. I am pretty sure that if SC/DT was bad as this journalist suggest Kev wouldn’t be behind it.

    Long live DT/SC!

  36. TwoBeaus

    March 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    what else would you expect from a commie rag?

    could just imagine hinds, wilson and walls playing a pathetic private game in the age basement where all players cost the same price

  37. Peanut

    March 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I AM a journalist by trade, and I use DT and SC as a research tool to stay on top of my game. This clown is living in the dark ages and needs to realise the benefits of using online fantasy leagues- time saving, easy access and plus you get to hear from a usually well informed group of fantasy freaks!

  38. Jimmy

    March 8, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    but its good….

  39. Jazzman

    March 8, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Richard, there’s this thing called evolution. Everything is evolving whether we like it or not. There is no point wishing for the “good old days.” I dare say your next article will be about how Hot Spot technology is detsroying the gentleman’s game of cricket. Or maybe how VCRs will kill cinema business. Or how electricity comes to us from the Devil’s workshop. Either grow up and catch up with this everchanging world or shut up and retreat to your cave, eating raw meat and fantasising about a mate you could club over the head. The rest of us will continue evolving and having fun socialising in both modern and traditional ways, rather than pissing and moaning about how things are changing (although we may find room to complain about how the rolling zone is effecting our DT/SC scores).

  40. benny

    March 8, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I’d love to see Kevin Sheedy use his next SC column in the Hun to bag this muppet.

  41. Ian

    March 8, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    What a bloody idiot! DT Leagues are talked about frequently among friends and family. How is there no interaction? Maybe that muppet just doesn’t have any friends so he’s in a public league.

  42. Ian

    March 8, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    The Age is shit.

  43. 54Dogs

    March 8, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Interesting debate but I think it’s being driven more by the Fairfax powers that be rather than the Journo who is purely the puppet. Always an agenda behind articles such as this and given SCs popularity from a rival this would be part of the focus.

    In reality communication and social interaction are changing dramatically and online is a big part of this. Richard conveniently failed to mention that online communication such as Facebook is also a big part of peoples lives.

    As far as whether DT is reality, I have 3 leagues this year which are all with people I feel I know well, 1 with family and 2 with people I talk to every day but have never met. We all have common interests and like to discuss footy and DT and internet forums give me the chance to do that. I also talk to my brother twice a week about DT and given he lives 800km away would not normally so DT is strengthening our relationship. That is also reality.

    Also arranging to meet up with guys I know through BF at a footy game, one of which arranged a fantastic weekend job for me working at AFL games yet I have never met him. Yet both the person and the job are real.

    I just think Richard and the powers that be need to understand that the world is evolving, fantasy competitions across the board are exploding and internet communication is now an intergral part of social interaction.

  44. The Cunning Punt

    March 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Whats this “young persons” game, you muppet?? I’m past 50 and more than comfortable with the whole thing! It might shock some, put not owning a face full of puss doesn’t exclude you from the bloody net!

  45. Brendan

    March 8, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Fuck you Richard Hinds you fucker.

  46. Budgie63

    March 8, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    So the Fairfax journo whose employer chooses not to run a DT comp is criticising DT comps run by their opposition! What next, Nikon saying Canon is sucking the life out of photography? A pathetic and pointless article.

  47. lenny&carl

    March 8, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Worldwide, media journalists are encouaged to dis online phenomena, because it’s sending their industry broke! (praise the lord.) Plus The Hun have a big hit with Supercoach, so that doubles the imperative here.

  48. benson

    March 8, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    yes it was different in his day a player used to be able to play a game of footy then be left along while he enjoyed a beer with team mate at the local and maybe let his hair down a bit with out being front page news the next day for being a bloke playing a blokes game

  49. Damo

    March 8, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Come on lads there’s no point getting all fired up and saying things like he’s a f#$kwit (which he probably isn’t) and that you hate him (childish I’m afraid) and that he should be sacked (which he won’t be). He just doesn’t get it and that’s his problem. As monty has observed Hind’s main issue appears to be that he just doesn’t like the “interwebs” and is pining for a bygone era of standing on terraces and 6 games of VFL every saturday arvo. This “it was better in the past” attitide makes people blind to the good things that exist in today’s world and I’m not just talking about fantasy footy. Looking at his photo he’s probably about the same age as me but I just shake my head at sad old farts like him – old on the inside is what I mean there. I’m in two leagues this year and for the past few weeks have been enjoying daily banter (yes face to face real people real contact banter) with workmates and real-life mates. Some of those workmates I really don’t have much in common with so without fantasy footy our tea-room conversations would probably consist of “how’s it going?”, “busy, and you”, “yeah a bit going on”, “alright well see ya”, or something equally banal. At least with our mutual enjoyment of the game of fantasy footy we are able to have actual conversations and share our football knowledge, football knowledge which is undoubtedly increased by the wide ranging analysis that we are all doing and the viewing of games that we would otherwise have no interest in. And no Richard I’m not a nerd, and being about your age I too have stood on the terraces at moorabbin, princess park, kardinia park, windy hill etc and drank cans and felt the warm glow of footy brotherhood. But unlike you I’m not stuck in the past and neither are my mates and my work-mates with whom I chat often – real conversations between real people about a fantasy game. Grow down Richard, you’re old before your time.

  50. m0nty

    March 8, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Well said Damo.

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