Early birds get the smokie: Super Coach 2009 opens

The News Limited competitions have opened, giving us our first official glimpse at the fantasy year.

At about three o’clock this morning, VirtualSports turned on the servers for the Super Coach competition for 2009. As the most popular competition in the country last year, after the problems that the AFL Dream Team comp had with its late start and inferior prize pool, the headline news is good: prizemoney is up this year. With the TAC as new sponsor, the winner takes away $55,000 cash – no doubt as a tie-in to a driving campaign to get people slowing down to 55kmh on the roads! The interface is much improved, with some AJAX functionality for team functions like trading, setting captains and choosing emergencies that should come in handy during the 160 minutes of maelstrom by cutting down on server stress.

Never mind the bells and whistles though, what fantasy coaches are really focused on now is what has changed in the game, what the prices are, and what the player positions are. The answer to the first is pretty simple: nothing has changed. Same scoring system, same positions, same rules.

On the prices, the magic number is about the same, which makes sense seeing as the salary cap is constant at $10 million. Here is the list of player discounts I have been able to discern at first glance:

Tim Schmidt: $395,500, 30%
Nathan Krakouer: $217,800, 20%
Josh P. Kennedy: $217,800, 20%
Daniel Connors: $254,000, 20%
Andrew Raines: $279,900, 20%
Shannon Cox: $372,500, 20%
Kane Tenace: $198,100, 20%
Adam Campbell: $269,600, 20%
Patrick Veszpremi: $286,400, 20%
David Johnson: $189,500, 20%
Jesse W. Smith: $314,400, 20%
Marlon Motlop: $236,900, 20%
Alwyn Davey: $344,600, 20%
Ben McGlynn: $228,300, 20%
Josh Head: $261,300, 20%
Ryan Houlihan: $298,900, 20%
Pearce Hanley: $196,000, 20%
Ryan Brabazon: $175,000, 15%
Andy Otten: $134,600, 10%

Of the players who missed a year for whatever reason, Paul Hasleby, Ben Cousins and Hayden Skipworth are the only ones not to be basement draftee or rookie price. Hasleby got about a 25% discount on his 2007 numbers, Cousins got 10% off and Skipworth got zero discount. That means that the following players are at minimum price despite playing in 2007:

Draftees at $94,200: Matthew Egan, Matthew Laidlaw, Brad Dick, Mitchell Brown, Mitch Thorp, Leigh Adams, Scott Gumbleton, John Meesen, Beau Dowler, Malcolm Lynch, Angus Graham
Rookies at $83,400: Chris Schmidt, Daniel Dzufer, Danny Meyer, Brad Howard

On the player positions, here are the highlights that we didn’t already know about, or had guessed wrong on the Fanplanner:

Jason Davenport is NOT a back, despite being listed as such in the Prospectus (as I was told). The same goes for Jack Ziebell, who is a FWD/CTR.
Adam Goodes is not a forward.
Amon Buchanan, Brent Staker and Shannon Byrnes have forward eligibility.
Xavier Clarke, Ryan Cook, Clint Bartram, Ed Barlow and Paul Stewart all have back eligibility.
Shannon Cox and Ben Ross are FWD/BACs.

Now, there is no guarantee that all of these changes will also hold for AFL Dream Team. Nevertheless, the vast majority of Super Coach discounts carry over to DT, and all of the positions do.

Overall, VirtualSports have been much stingier with the discounts, but have been kind to us with some relaxation on positional requirements for key players. The starkest difference in my opinion is those players who missed a year, like Gumbleton, Dick, Thorp, Brown and Dowler, all being draftee price. If you don’t get some of that action I think you’re missing out, because it’s the best discounting on offer in 2009.

What’s your reaction? Nice interface, does that matter to you? Are you annoyed that your pet player didn’t get a random discount according to VirtualSports’ mystical black-box approach? Would you like to send them a strongly-worded letter arguing the toss over a positional change or two? Are you going to spend as much time on SC as you do on DT this year, given that SC got more registrations last year? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. Pingback: Everything must go: 2010 DT/SC discounts

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