Mad Monday: Ye Old Switcheroo

Greetings all! Today, I look at one of the great innovations of AFL Dream Team, the Dual Position Player. Often an issue that causes more discussion than any other when AFL Dream Team opens at the start of each season, this article looks at: What are DPPs? How are they chosen? And speculates on: Who may gain or lose the status in 2013? Welcome to Mad Monday!


The History of the DPP



Dual Position Players (DPPs) are relatively new on the AFL Dream Team circuit. First introduced in 2008, players were eligible to be selected in multiple positions in ones team. Players like Bryce Gibbs, Luke Hodge, Colin Sylvia and Shaun Higgins were a feature in many teams for their ability to be picked in both a Midfield position, and a Defender or Forward position. Coaches however took a while to embrace DPPs, as once selected, they could not be shifted from their position. If you selected Shaun Higgins or Colin Sylvia as a midfielder, they could not be shifted to the forward line unless they were first traded out and then back through a double trade. Luckily for many coaches Shaun and Colin had a history of getting blown over by a feather, and coaches could rectify their mistakes by trading them out.

In 2010 we saw the true power of those eligible for DPP status. Innovation by Virtual Sports allowed the use of substitutions between positions for matching DPP pairings. A player with a Mid/Fwd status could be swapped to another line for DPPs of the same status. This meant that you could have both Colin Sylvia and Shaun Higgins on different lines, so when one broke down, they could be benched and the other one could come in and take their spot. Unfortunately for many coaches both of these players would often break down at the same time and coaches could rectify their mistakes trading by them out.

But the true power of DPPs comes from rookies who hold the status. Drafting pairs of rookies with a DPP status and splitting them across two lines essentially adds an extra player to both benches, strengthening your teams cover and dynamics. Heppell, Hibberd & Buckley (DEF/MID), Mzungu, Prestia & Krakouer (MID/FWD), it was these players in 2011 who helped us through the Rolling Bye Rounds with bench cover.



Time Shall Weary Them



So that brings us to now. In recent years we have seen players like Luke Hodge, Bryce Gibbs, Drew Petrie & Kurt Tippet lose their DPP status, and players like Steele Sidebottom, Mitch Robinson, Dustin Martin & Dayne Beams gain it. Why? Great rhetorical question! To find out, one must go to the source. The ones who make the decision on DPP status is Champion Data, not Virtual Sports, the creator of AFL Dream Team, like some (including myself) would initially think. I contacted Champion Data to find out what gives a player Dual Position status.



Gaining & Losing DPP Status



Champion Data, despite the seemingly odd missed tackle, are the best at what they do in the country. They record, compile, and analyse the nine AFL matches each week, looking at every stat – from number of marks dropped by Tom Derickx, to time spent in the pack pocket watching grass grow for Greg Broughton and Bryce Gibbs. All of this data is then collaborated for publication at the start of each year for the release the AFL Prospectus. Here’s the important bit…

According to Champion Data; during the writing of the AFL Prospectus all the [Champion Data] writers meet to discuss position changes for the upcoming season. The use of statistics, heat maps, playing history and vision helps us in our decision on the positions. Roughly translated, Dual Position Players are chosen at the discretion of Champion Data, based on available data (both statistical and visual), looking at where a player plays on the field and where they have played previously.

So what does that mean for players who have been flagged as having new role during the pre-season, such as when Brenton Sanderson publically suggested Jason Porplyzia would gain more midfield time in the 2012 season, or Alastair Clarkson’s comments around Cyril Rioli every year?

As explained by Champion Data: We avoid anticipating possible role changes as they don’t always eventuate despite what a coach may say during a pre-season. In other words, decisions around DPP status are only made on history, not speculation. So with that known, we can start to speculate on what that means for the 2013 season?



2013 Dual Position Speculation



Possible 2013 Status:
(D) = Defence only, (M) = Midfield Only, (F) = Forward Only. (DF) = Def/Fwd, (DM) = Def/Mid, (MF) = Mid/Fwd, (RF) = Ruc/Fwd. (DMF) = Def/Mid/Fwd.

Players who may lose the DPP status

Despite having an interrupted season due to an over-zealous tackle; Andrew Carrazzo (M) has seemingly spent a large proportion of this season in a pure midfielder role. A similar case could be made for Patrick Dangerfield (M), who has finally been released through the middle since Neil Craig’s departure from West Lakes. Adam Goodes (F) is ‘no longer needed’ in the Swans midfield, and is deep forward, as has Matthew Pavlich (F) under Ross Lyon. Brett Deledio (M) and Jordan Lewis (M) appear to be at running through the centre square far more than they used to, and the Dynamic Duo (Dayne Beams (M) & Steele Sidebottom (M)) may not be so dynamic next season as they continue to fish the ball out around clearances.

Players who may gain DPP status

If the introduction of the substitution rule has done anything, it has forced coaches to be more versatile with the positioning of which they field their troops. Pearce Hanley (DM) is streaming out of the backline, ball in hand, spending plenty of time in the middle. Fellow Lion Daniel Merrett (DF) has been a solid target up forward, as well as the lock-down man in defence, as was Nathan Bock (DF), for as much as it lasted. Cyril Rioli (MF) and Stevie J (MF) are sneaking forward to snag goals more so than sneaking up the ground to spend time in the guts, and Patrick Ryder (RF) would be rewarding punters who back him kicking the first goal of the game, as he lines up in the forward fifty most weeks.

Daisy Thomas (MF) has been pushed forward as the Dynamic Duo take control, Jack Steven (MF) is named in the forward pocket every week, and Greg Broughton (DF) spends more time in pockets than my car keys do. Of more interest is Bryce Gibbs (DF) spending 80% of his time in defence as a current listed midfielder (cheers Ratten), and Jack Grimes (DF) is pushing up the ground on a regular basis as the Demons play their twelfth year of their five-year rebuilding plan. Brendon Ellis (DM), well to be honest he is all over the shop, and Shaun Hampson (RF) somehow finds the motivation to get out of bed (I wouldn’t!), and play both as a forward target and in the ruck.

Dom Cassisi (DM) may become Dream Team relevant as he has spent a large chunk of the year playing in the backline, as could his teammate Hamish Hartlett (DF). Another Hamish, the big one, Hamish McIntosh (RF) is spending as much time forward as in the ruck as he fits in around Goldstein, and Shaun Grigg (DM) would be one of the most selected players next year as he slowly takes over from Deledio, rebounding of the back flank. In fact, many rucks have spent nearly 50% of their time Forward, so joining Ryder, Hmac & Hampson could be Ayce Cordy, Matthew Kreuzer, Zac Clarke & Jon Giles (all RF).

But this brings us to the dream list, or as I like to call it:



The ‘it’s never going to happen’ DPP list

Yes, Gary Ablett (MF)is the leading Gold Coast Suns goal scorer in 2012. But based on the criteria from Champion Data, specifically relating to heat maps and playing vision, there is no way I see this happening. He is at every centre bounce, around every clearance, and gets his goals coming out of the midfield. He is a midfielder.

Yes, Dean Cox (RF) has spent a significant amount of time in the goal square this season due to NicNat’s rise. But he is selected to play ruck, and still goes to every contest he is nearby as the ruckman. I’d imagine the statistics would show he is still winning a majority of possessions due to his ruck time, and not his forward time. Ditto for Aaron Sandilands (RF).

Yes, Brendan Goddard (DMF) is all over the shop at the moment. He also plays everywhere. But not only would a TPP, Triple Position Player be messy, it would essentially force every coach to pick him for team dynamics. On his current form, he’ll be lucky is GWS pick him.

Yes, Tom Rockliff (MF) is probably the most likely of this list to get the nod, but even then I doubt it. Despite significant time deep in the forward line, most of his possessions still seem to come from midfield time, and unless he plays Full Forward for the rest of the year to tilt the status in his favour, I just can’t see it happening.


Public Forum



Who do you see swinging both ways next season? Have I got it wrong? And what changes to the DPP system would you like to see?

For instance, @AuzzBazz suggested on twitter that DPP status should not exist for premium players, and instead should only be reserved for mid-priced and rookie players. This would encourage selecting more unique teams, and players who would otherwise not get the nod due to their mid-priced, midfielder status. Would it be too difficult to distinguish where to draw the line? What do you think?

Share your comments below or send me your thoughts via twitter. And until next Monday,


Keep Dreaming,


  • Great article Griff

  • Thanks griff fantastic article. :D

  • Great article griff
    Wouldn’t be surprised to see Kade Simpson (MF) play forward a lot
    Bryce Gibbs wont. E dpp… He’ll just be (D)

  • Interesting read…
    But I disagree about Cox.
    With Josh Kennedy, Lecras and Nicoski out all year, Cox has been named at full forward almost every game this year. He does not start in the ruck, with nic nat taking all 1st ruck contests, has kicked 20goals and from watching the Eagles live, I would suggest he spends half a hame in the forward 50 and the other half on the ball and taking centre bounces. In fact stats show nic nat averages more hitouts per game (26) than Cox (24). If cox doesnt get dpp I would be super surprised!!!

  • Interesting article Griff.

    This is the third year I’ve played so I haven’t had to cope with only moving DPPs up and down the field using double trades. That must’ve been so frustrating.

    Each year I’ve sought out DPPs to avoid donuts as they represent likely better job security. This year I’ve eaten just 1 donut outside the MBRs. I’ve found you need more than the odd matching pair for it to work, though, and that I couldn’t make it really work for MF and MD at the same time, let alone RF. I’ve chosen to manage mids and forwards as 1 unit and defence and rucks by themselves. I find myself  with likely 4 trades and $400K ready for dreamteam finals – and it’s been lots of fun doing it. As to whether I’ve been successful, I’m at about position 10,000 as opposed to 35,000 last year and in finals in 3 leagues out of 5 – not a DT star but learning.

    I like lots how the new trading system works with DPPs; this week Mark Baguley goes from mid to def, Greg Broughton goes altogether (hooray!) and a new, cheapest player goes into mid – and I have lots of cash for finals. Is it possible to introduce the same 3 way shuffle into the substitution system as for the trades? This would add a lot of flexibility and surely would not be a software bridge too far and it would open up the option of the real TPP. We have genuine utility players in this game (eg Jimmy Bartel) and TPP ratings together with 3 way shuffles would better reflect the game make it work.

    I agree strongly with the idea of limiting DPP (or TPP) ratings to players below the highest price ratings as it seems fairer that the flexibility must has its trade off. Perhaps, also, a bit more flexibility in how we can shuffle MPPs up and down the field could also reduce the nuisance of the MBRs without making our benches bigger or adding too many extra trades.

    Thanks for the good work, Griff, and for this forum to swap notes.

  • Great article. I agree with AuzzBuzz’s comment re premium dpp’s. I’ve been really frustrated this year with my forward line consisting of all midfielders. Yes its allowing some massive scores and some flexibility but the game would be more fun if we had to pick some actual forwards.

    This year I have franklin in my team, and he is the only genuine forward I’ve got. I would have loved to go through and pick players like Pav, Josh Kennedy, Roughy etc, but you really cant get them when you’ve got the likes of Beams, Sidey, O’keefe, Robbo, Danger, Zorko, Martin etc.

    It might make the game a bit harder, but it would definitely be more interesting.

    • I guess DT is becoming a bit like the brownlow, or even AA (remember swan on the half forward line instead of Lecras who kicked 60 goals in a shit team?). Its all about the midfielders.

      • I think you are talking about Leon Davis getting it before Lecras in the forward pocket in 2010 for AA.

  • Great work Griff!

    I find it amusing that the F/R role is usally defined as the “Leigh Brown” role, and yet as far as I know, Champion Data never actually saw him as a F/R.

  • Great article, how about bernie vinceMF?

  • Interesting reading Griff.

    I have to disagree with Cox. Spends too much time at full forward these days for CD to miss him as a DPP. I also doubt Grigg will be looked at as he spends most of his time on a wing just floating everywhere. Also would be thinking Merrett might actually be ruck/fwd DPP not that he will ever be DT relevant.

    Hartlett is the interesting one for mine. If this kid can get fit and stay on the ground he would be very DT relevant as a back.

    After the weekend we might be talking about Hodge DPP (mid/fwd).

    There are a few you have missed. Reilly, Cotchin and Vince. There will also be some young draftees next year with potential DPP potential. The main ones I am looking at currently will be Grundy and Daniher. Fingers crossed they are ruck/fwd!

    • As a crows man I agree that Vince should be M/F, but there is no way Reilly should be DPP. Spends all of his time in the backline – rarely sighted at a centre bounce. Pure defender only I reckon for next year.

      • You might be right Jezza. Reilly is a very interesting one. Averages 80ish. Is a solid contributor and when listed as a back becomes very DT relevant. He is one I will be keeping my eye on over summer.

    • What do you reckon about Nat Fyfe. What is the chance of him being dpp

  • Great Stuff Griff.
    I think from Adelaide that if Brent Reilly was moved to a defender and Vince a Fwd/Mid they would be relevant. Also on this years positioning Gibbs should become a Def/Mid again.
    Adam Goodes should also become unselectable to save coaches the frustration of his terrible performances…

  • Great Article Griff!!!!
    For me DPP is and has been a big part of my team this year. Currently 1/2 my squad are DPP players.
    I have a DEF-MID link with Baguley on the MID bench and Scotland, Carrazzo, Lids and Goddard in defence.
    I have a MID-FWD link with Treloar on the MID bench and the usual MID-FWD premiums.
    I also have a RUC-FWD link with Roughy in the Ruck and Adam Pattison on the FWD bench. This was especially helpful on the weekend as it saved me a donut. Moved Roughy to FWDS and played Giles (usually R3) who scored 118.

    As for next year, think Cox will get R/F. Think Rocky is more chance than Daisy of becoming M/F however he is in my team atm so i’d rather him play the rest of the year in the midfield and not get DPP status next year.

  • Cox is going to be interesting. Ablett should have been DPP in his first year at GC but a tongue in cheek comment I heard from CD was “Bomber isn’t his coach anymore” about why he wasn’t MID/FWD. So they do look into the future a bit.

    With Coxy, there are a lot of forwards out for the Eagles… so that might be taken into account. Who knows though. We’re seeing a lot of rucks sit forward so their criteria might change a bit for RUC/FWD classification.

    I think I enjoy this thinking more than actually playing DT… speculating, the pre-season… my team all turns shit come Round 1!

    • Yeah exactly what I was thinking, most rucks rotate forward or drop back, yet only forwards who rotate into the ruck (eg roughead) are DPP’s.

  • Griff,
    When you talk the talk you have to walk the walk and the missile did not do that today.
    As disappointed as you would be you need to lead from the front for your team,and he
    failed with that today.All it needed was for him to accept some responsibility and show
    some humality.I am a huge fan but today in the aftermath he was un-australian and
    left me more disappointed in his response than the 4th placing itself.
    Whether or not he comes out and wins his individual its how he handles the result
    good or bad .

  • Good article Griff (as always!) I like the DPP option as I’m sure most people do but in keeping with the idea that VS want to keep the game as closely aligned to the real game what are your thoughts on the following (which I know won’t happen by the way…just saying…)

    DPP could be done away with by breaking down the players categories further and aligning them with the actual roles that are used these days as follows..

    genuine Ruck…(ie Maric, Jacobs etc)

    Ruck/Fwd…(ie Roughhead, Cox)

    Defender….(the back six which are the key to all good teams)

    Key Forward….(Franklin, Pavlich)

    Small Forward…..(Milne, Breust)

    Genuine Mid….(Watson, Priddis, Pendles, Cotchin)

    Mid/Fwd….(Beams, Robinson, Harvey)

    Then using in your squad of 30 you would have 2 rucks, 2 ruck/fwds, 8 defenders, 3 tall fwds, 3 small fwds, 4 genuine mids, 8 mid/fwds…with the following in your 22…1 ruck, 1 ruck/fwd, 6 defenders, 2 tall fwds, 2 small fwds, 2 genuine mids, 4 mid/fwds plus 4 others of your choice….

    Feel free to shoot me down :)

    • The problem with this is VS don’t decide what players are listed where, CD do. As such, CD would never paint themselves into a corner with such definitive definitions as to where a player plays, as we are seeing more and more playings switching roles through a season. It’s a good idea, but the implementation would be a nightmare, not to mention the complaints of “He’s not a such and such, he’s a such and such instead!’.

  • Trent Cotchin MF

  • What about all of the saving marks in defence and possessions in the midfield?

    I’d be nominating Cox for a new category… RMFD

  • Top article Griff.
    Sylvia, Broughton, Higgins are must haves next year and fully deserve any DPP links!

  • Great article Griff, thought-provoking stuff… Imagine having Big Cox and Roughy linked as an R/F combo.

    Rocky will have to be a good chance of M/F. Luke Shuey is another… although, like Cox, VS will need to assess whether this is his natural progression, or just that he is filling in up there because of West Coast’s forward injury woes.

    Gibbs should regain his DPP status next year (still won’t pick him though, on current form).

    Agree with Genghis Khan that Brent Reilly of the Crows could be classed a M/D next season too.

  • Gibbs will be back to DPP for sure. And I won’t pick him.

    Would love it if Lids stayed DPP, but I am fairly sure it won’t happen. And if Shuey makes it as Mid/Fwd I will grab him day one.

    • It will be your loss. Gibbs has had a down year with Carlton’s injuries, but the three previous years he has averaged around 100. Despite his poor year he is still averaging 85, which is similar to many premium defenders (Birchall, Suckling, Grimes, Shaw, Johnson, Hanley, Heppell), plus he has more upside than most of those guys.

      • +1
        If Gibbs is D/M next year I will find a way to get him in!

        • It is beyond belief how Rat’s has used him this year. I’d say he couldn’t possibly score any lower and pick him up on the basis of that, but who knows?

  • Maybe have NicNat as and L. Lock

  • Anyone else out there still got Hargrave spuddding up your backline? I am so over the hack, I only have 4 trades left and am 1 or 2 games clear on top of the ladder in each of my leagues so I can’t justify trading him now if I don’t need to. I’ve got Lee Spurr filling in his gap with Sam shaw but they are only good for 60 points per game, I really need to get Waters back in the team for finals.

  • There should be a price floor and ceiling for DPP. For instance guys that havent played an AFL game shouldnt get DPP until they have at least played a position. Also Premium priced players shouldnt get DPP status. This leaves only mid priced players with DPP making them relevant again. This way your team can actually be unique instead of everyone jumping on the same 7-8 players at the start of the year. Maybe the price for DPP could be set at between 200k – 400k and only players priced between those numbers can be eligible. Thoughts?

    • What if a players price rises or falls? Do they gain/lose their DPP status? Or would that be based on their starting price only?

      Either way, im not a

      • No, it would be like the starting DPP status now, it doesnt change as the year goes on.Price changes but status doesnt.

    • As I mentioned above, it’s the use of DPP rookies that really help bench cover. If anything I’d like to see more rookies given DPP, as coaches could play them anywhere they have holes (Eg. Casboult for Carlton). Limiting rookies to no status would make the game 1000 times harder to navigate byes and omissions than it already is.

      • But you pick rookies anyway to make money, at least this way you can use the pretty much useless mid priced players. They serve no purpose as is. It opens up the comp and makes the teams unique.

    • possibly the worst idea I have heard on this site

  • I think the scoring system needs to change aswell. especially for key defenders. i reckon there should be 2-3 points for a spoil. and and 4-5 points for a mark from opp kick. this will give guys like gibson, glass, firrito, jamison a chance to get points.


    • Sort of agree with you, but not with that many points for a spoil, as it’s easier to spoil than mark under pressure. Perhaps just 1 point for the 1 per centers… spoils, smothers, goal assists etc…?

      I do like the idea of awarding more points for marking opposition kicks.

    • NO! Just NO!

    • go play supercoach

    • A big no from me as well.

      The scoring system needs to stay simple.

    • Nope, Nope, Nope.

      The system currently is simple, easy to follow and easy to score….1% are well, 1% ers and difficult to gauge, asses and award – think of the dramas Colonel has when CD miss a tackle.

      A goal – 6 points in DT plus a kick makes 9…..otherwise you are Everitt kicking the winning goal and scoring 80 in super coach – to open to interpretation.

    • NO.The scoring system been easy and simple to understand for years and years,Why change it .Absolutely not

    • The rules of DT are simple and that’s why we like it over SuperCoach. It’s black and white… 1%ers aren’t unfortunately.

  • What about Hayden Ballantyne? that could be an interesting one if he can find some form.

  • Ripping article Griff!

    I’m really interested to see what will happen with Cox next year.

    Cox’s 3 lowest scores for the year were 72, 81 & 74 (ave 75.66) in rounds 2, 3 & 4 after 2 100’s in the opening 2 rounds. Josh Kennedy’s only 3 games for the year were in these rounds.

    Not sure I’d want Cox next year even with the R/F link. (yes 3 games is a small sample size!)

    • kennedy has played 5 games

      • You have missed the point….

      • I stand corrected!

        Stupid me and stupid FF!!! haha…

        Still his scoring potential will be affected imho….

        • The point you made though is very valid though. Kennedy played the first 5 games.

          People need to look at the numbers Cox scored during those games. 107, 106, 72, 81 and 74 = 440 points at an average of 88. Cox isn’t getting any younger. Nic Nat is improving every minute he plays. These figures are very worrying in my opinion. Cox is no longer the number 1 ruck at the Eagles. How much time will he play forward when Kennedy and Lecras and a few others come back into the side. The writing is on the wall unfortunately…

          • I don’t agree here that Cox is done.
            Nicnat is no doubt going to be the #1 ruck next season, but he still only has moments of brilliance, he’s nowhere near consistent as yet.
            You’ll see just how good Nicnat is if Cox gets ruled out this wknd with his ankle.

            Whilst Coxy’s scoring will be effected in DT terms no question, he will always be relelvant.
            Right now they are resting him fwd when Nicnat plays centre as Darling is the tallest target they have. They even tried Schofield and Waters in the FWD’s recently just to fill the void.

            At the start of the season, when the press worked very well, they were playing Cox or Nicnat down the line in defence.
            Every time the opposition kicked down the line, guess who marked it? Cox.
            Based on this season, I’d be surprised if he didn’t get DPP, but honestly I wouldn’t be picking him, he’ll just be too expensive for whatever output you could expect.

            And Mr. 211 is def. a never again for me……

  • I agree with all your analysis mate. Its criminal if rocky and cox aren’t given DPP status.

  • I just watched Access All Areas injury report with Doc Larkins.

    He says Goodes should play, Robinson 1-2 more weeks

  • Dyson Heppell surely a big chance for Def/Mid?

  • Ever so slightly agree with @pies2012 about 15 or so comments above me.

    I think there should be 1 point for a spoil, I think it seems fair and makes key-position players more desirable.


  • Heath shaw a fwd/def?

  • The truth is we all try to pick players who play in the midfield in every line on our teams. It is one more area where research pays off, like knowing Broughton would play …nvm fmdt

  • Dane swan or am I dreaming?

  • Maybe we should have limits for dpp status.

    For example, you have to have an average of over 0.75 goals a game to get dpp fwd status.