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The all premium back structure

All premium back structure

Here’s a little proposal. Instead of assuming that you have to have a combination of premiums, mid-prices and maybe a rookie or two in each of the three non-ruck positions for your AFL Dream Team and Super Coach plan team, how about trying a structure where you buy wall to wall starting premiums in your backs, with a few guaranteed rookies on your bench?

I toyed a little with this concept prior to the 2008 season but got scared off with the rise of certain mirage-like rookie backs who then proceeded to let us all down. Yes, I’m looking at you Scott D. Thompson, Albert Proud and Lachie Hansen. This year I may go all the way and take the sorry excuse for a set of rookie defenders out of the equation.

7 premiums from: Joel Bowden, Chad Cornes, Brendon Goddard, Andrew Mackie, Sam Fisher, Grant Birchall, Jason Gram, Corey Enright, Nathan Bock, Jarrad Waite, Heath Shaw, Andrew Welsh, Adam McPhee, Chris A. Johnson
2 rookies from: Jay Neagle, Tom Collier, Ricky Petterd, Matt Maguire, Nick Salter, Jack Grimes, Jack Strauss, Nick Suban, Mitchell Brown, Tom Lynch, Alex Rance, Aaron Kite, Greg Gallman

2 premiums from: Daniel Kerr, Brent Stanton, Shane Tuck, Jared Brennan, Nathan Van Berlo, Matt Priddis, Rhyce Shaw, Joel Selwood, Bryce Gibbs, Travis Boak
1 mid-price from: Paul Hasleby, Ben Cousins, Trent Cotchin, David Myers, David Wocjinski, Ben McGlynn, Albert Proud, Ben Ross
5 rookies from: Daniel Rich, Mark Coughlan, Patrick Dangerfield, Steele Sidebottom, Jason Davenport, Andrew Foster, Sam Blease, Brendan Whitecross, David Zaharakis, Hayden Skipworth

2 premiums from: Dean Cox, Troy Simmonds, David Hille, Hamish McIntosh, Drew Petrie, Brad Ottens, Aaron Sandilands
2 rookies from: Tyrone Vickery, Daniel Currie, Nick Naitanui, Ayce Cordy, Ben McEvoy, Shaun McKernan

2 premiums from: Steve Johnson, Quinten Lynch, Ryan O’Keefe, Robert Murphy, Alan Didak, Adam Goodes, Jason Porplyzia
2 mid-prices from: Scott Lucas, Des Headland, Shaun Higgins, Alwyn Davey, Tom Hawkins, Rhan Hooper, Anthony Corrie, Ed Barlow, Patrick Veszpremi,
5 rookies from: Chris Yarran, Jack Ziebell, Hayden Ballantyne, Sean Rusling, Scott Gumbleton, Ben Reid, Beau Dowler, Jay Neagle, Nick Salter, Mitch Thorp, Nick Heyne, Matthew Lobbe, Tom Lynch, Rohan Bail, Michael Walters, Neville Jetta, Tom Rockliff, Taylor Walker, Aaron Kite

Five forward rookies is the thing that will probably turn a lot of fantasy coaches off this structure. It was possible to select five forward rookies in 2008 that would have got your team a long way towards a top 100 finish – Cyril Rioli, Josh Hill, Kurt Tippett, Ryan Gamble and either Chris Mayne or Austin Wonaeamirri – though admittedly those last two took a while to get senior games, so a quick cash cow upgrade from Cameron Stokes would have been optimal.

By concentrating all your money in the back and rucks, you would have to take a lot of risks in the centres and forwards with this structure, there’s no getting away from it. As can be seen from the debut averages post, where debutante defenders are almost all terrible to start with, who is to say that this isn’t a valid long-term strategy? This structure doesn’t allow for a whole lot of mid-prices, and the premiums in the centres and forwards have had the top 10 just about lopped off for reasons of salary cap pressure, meaning that captain choices are limited early.

In summary, the pros are:
Hopefully never have to worry about trades in backs or rucks, long-term injuries notwithstanding
Back emergencies don’t have to earn money, just be warm bodies to fill temporarily open slots
Concentrate the cash cows in positions that are historically much more lucrative
Can wait for exorbitantly priced centre and forward premiums to dip on the rollercoaster

And the cons are:
Miss out on the one or two solid mid-price backs that bob up every year
Also miss out on several mid-price centres and forwards
Captain options limited in early rounds
Placing a lot of faith in your rookies to perform early

Of course, you don’t have to start and finish with those same seven premium backs. If one of them gets injured early, that would be the perfect opportunity to downgrade to that mid-price back who everyone is getting on as the smokie who came good, a la Garrick Ibbotson in 2008.

Have you been considering something similar? How far are you prepared to go to avoid the mayhem that injuries, tagging, lack of selection and the odd VFL banishment did to the most popular fantasy backs last year? Am I on completely the wrong track here? Tell me in the comments.



  1. dylan

    January 5, 2009 at 4:15 am

    mmm i like the idea with the 5 forward and centre rookies because there r a lot of rookies/ low price players i can see picking up a lot in those 2 positions.

    i think its always easy to trade in a good midfielder though the season that has had a few bad weeks for a cheap price that will rise again. so if the rookies there dont work out its not so bad.

    but a bit of a risk on the forwards i think but i think i might take it this year.

    also what do u think of andrew mcleod? since i go for the crows its hard to judge him as a dt player. he had a great 07 season followed by a bad 08 season. his at a cheap price and has had his knee cleaned out. do u think its worth the risk or go for a premium player?

  2. TwoBeaus

    January 5, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Overall I’m going with a similiar stratagy although not with the same numbers as you.

    I think 4 or 5 premiums up back would be the most. I think there are a couple of players that are half way between mid and premium that could be picked at 6 and 7.

    This will free up cash to improve your forwards. Although rookie forwards do score well they can also be in and out of the team a fair bit (eg Gamble)

    Depending on what changes occur with salary cap / player pricing, perhaps we will all be forced down a similiar risky path.

  3. Chad

    January 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Great post monty. My structure is VERY similar to this. Instead of 7 Def and 2 Fwd i have 6 Def and 3 Fwd. Not liking the look of the rookie backs though.

    A question i do have in the forwards is you never seem to list Gia as a premium, yet he scores better than some others like ROK (and durable the past few years)?

    An interesting post i read on BF was noting last year that the premium that struggled early were downgraded to the rookie that looked the best (either bax or convicts went Embly to Palmer). Embly came good, but Palmer 300k was still not a bad outcome.

  4. Chad

    January 5, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Oh the other question, what chance is McPhee to retain his Back positioning? Think we are all resigned to the loss of Chad Cornes as a Back.

  5. dylan

    January 5, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    hey monty just noticed that u have Chris Schmidt still as a brisbane player instead of a crows player.

  6. m0nty

    January 5, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks dylan, fixed.

    On McLeod, with all the other injury risks I don’t need another one.

    On Gia, I think he’s fully priced and has an injury history so I’m not convinced.

    I have given up guessing what Champion will do with positions. It’s all based on exotic stats that we don’t have access to.

  7. Simon

    January 6, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    I tried a structure with what I considered the best premium players of the comp. That is, Cox, Ablett, Deledio, Goddard, Riewoldt, Pavlich, Bowden, Fisher, Mackie (and to the lesser extent Buckley and McPhee). I ended up with 6 premium backs and Mitchell Brown. Left my team with a lot of injury prone players on the field and unproven rookies. High risk for high reward though, I would suggest as mu guru total was 1754 – the highest I’ve managed yet.

  8. Didak

    January 7, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I tried a similar setup last year along the same kind of theories, however all my premium backs were slaughtered by injuries, poor form and other horrid things. This meant my supposed strength was a weakness. Having said this last year (I hope) was a one off in terms of the back players being so cut down by injuries. I still believe the theory but am still licking my wounds.

  9. dylan

    January 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    hey guys im not sure u would call aaron davey a mid range forward but i was thinking of putting him in my team as a mid range. what do u guys think about that?

  10. Other Dan

    January 7, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    I think you could be on the right track here Monty. I’ve been finding the back selection a difficult choice to make, with seemingly little value available.

    It’s not without risks though, in the event that a couple of forward rookies fail to perform you could be forced to a trade a premium back in order to free up the budget and get in a couple of mid-price forwards.

  11. coach

    January 7, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Obviously by picking 2 premium ruckmen and 2 rookies, you dont want to waste any trades on them (assuming 1 doesnt get a long-term injury) This is what im doing too, but im thinking about picking them all from the same side, West Coast. Given that the big Q can be picked as a ruckman, him and Cox are my premiums, with Naitanui and cheap Rookie Sullivan my reserves. This way at least 2 of them would be guaranteed in playing each week as Seaby is the only other one on their list. What your thoughts on this Monty??

  12. m0nty

    January 7, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    coach, the only problem with that is that I don’t think Quinten Lynch will be available as a ruck.

  13. dylan

    January 7, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    i agree with other dan, i think its a good way to pick a strong team

  14. kouta

    January 13, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    could be a spot on strategy monty for sure. key is going to be NAB cup form of both back and forward rookies to get the starting mix right. Round 1 teams will determine it – lets hope the afl site doesnt crash like last year!

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  16. steve

    February 15, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Hey there Is/Will anyone be opting on Monty’s all premium back strategy ? and how about you monty will you have the nerve to do it this season ??

  17. m0nty

    February 15, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I am using it at the moment, steve.

  18. christoff

    February 25, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    what r ur thoughts on 1 rookie in the defence 3 in the midfeild and 2 in the forward line… and then the remaining spots gun players?

  19. steve

    February 28, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    What do you think MONTY ? my premium back strategy suggestions ?

    1.Bowden,j 2. Goddard, 3. Enright, 4. Gilbee, 5. Bock,6. Cornes,7. Adcock, 8. Raines,9. Hill,s
    1. Ablett,G 2. Pendlebury,3. Hasleby,
    4. Polkinghorne,5. Rich,6.Ziebell,J
    7. Beams, D 8. Robinson M
    1. Cox, D 2. Hille, D 3. White, J 4. Pyke, M
    1.Deledio 2. Didak, A 3. Houlihan,
    4. Higgins, S 5. Skipworth, H 6.Sidebottom
    7. Macaffer, B 8. Hogan, S 9. Grant, J

  20. m0nty

    February 28, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Looks fine, steve.

  21. steve

    February 28, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Is that all you have ? thanks for your enthusiasm Monty !!!!

  22. m0nty

    February 28, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    I think I might do a Rate My Team blog post soon and I’ll be sure to include yours, steve.

  23. steve

    March 1, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Thanks Monty that would be great cheers

  24. steve

    March 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Hey Monty what do you think, should i take skipworth as a forward or a middle man. i currently have him as my 5th forward ?? due to lack of forward rookies thanks

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