Why Peckin Away won $50,000 last year

Those of you who bought the NAB Cup ’08 AFL Record would have been interested to see an article about Steve Morfesse, winner of the 2007 AFL Dream Team with his Peckin Away squad. Amongst tales of his derring-do were snippets about how he only made one trade before round 8 due to his travelling in Europe, how much he valued his bench and how much research he did before the season. This year, Steve’s Peckin Away team starts as follows:

Backs: Chad Cornes, Joel Bowden, Heath Shaw, Brett Jones, Martin Mattner, Adam Hartlett, Jake Edwards, Scott D. Thompson, Albert Proud.
Centres: Jimmy Bartel, Kane Cornes, Daniel Cross, Nick Stevens, Ricky Dyson, Kieran Jack, Craig Bird, Cale Morton.
Rucks: Dean Cox, Troy Simmonds, Cameron Wood, Matthew Kreuzer.
Forwards: Matthew Pavlich, Nick Riewoldt, Jonathan Brown, Brett Deledio, Jason Porplyzia, Cyril Rioli, Kurt Tippett, Ryan Gamble, Jarryd Morton.

I like this team a lot, especially from a structural point of view. He’s starting five rookies, which is consistent with the high-risk strategy that wins championships. You could point at Dyson, Deledio and Hartlett as poor picks given their round 1 performances, but that’s not the point – the structure is the thing that gets you there. I particularly like how he has spent big on Kornes and Jimmy, in line with his comments in the AFL Record article about how he likes to buy “the absolute best players in the game”. This is where I differ in thinking from those who are on the bandwagons of both Lenny Hayes and Cross due to their prices being slightly deflated compared to their best previous form, as opposed to spending top dollar to get Kane or Jimmy. I have tried to follow Steve’s lead and not pinched pennies with my premiums.

The one big flaw in Steve’s team based on round 1 scores is that too much faith is being placed in mid-priced younger players and not enough in mid-priced older players whose prices are discounted due to recent long-term injuries. Stuart Dew, Brett Burton, Nathan Thompson, Daniel Bradshaw, Tadhg Kennelly, Mark Nicoski… these names are under-represented in elite teams but they all delivered on the Easter weekend. Then again, it’s a long season and those old bones may start creaking again while the young pups are still jumping around. We shall see!

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