AFL Dream Team 2013 – A new challenge

Good morning fellow DTers. I’m currently having a quiet night in Dublin, Ireland (early flight in the morning)… and Calvin has his head in his laptop watching some Breaking Bad… so I thought I’d get my blogging on and talk about the big changes for DT in 2013! It’s going to be a big year!

Big thanks to Tbetta and Griff for the sensational updates regarding the new rules and the dual position changes. You MUST read these if you haven’t already!

Anyway… here we go!

First things first, we needed to see some changes for DT in the new year. There were a lot of coaches who weren’t enjoying the game as much as they had in the past for a few factors. Firstly, the introduction of the substitute rule has been giving us heaps of headaches for the last couple of seasons and the great idea of a set of multi-bye rounds did our heads in terribly in 2012 (2011 had them too, but with other weekly byes it was different). Also the late withdrawals and the lack of information from clubs regarding injury has taken it’s toll on coaches. There was a huge drop off in numbers visiting our website after the MBRs this year – while I don’t have the numbers from the actual game, I’m tipping there was a correlation with the official site.

Something had to be done.

User engagement would have been the driving force behind implementing changes. Before you read on, remember this is a business… the AFL and Herald Sun want to cater for the majority, not just us nerds who live for the game and want the game to be as challenging as possible. With that in mind, most of the changes make sense and I am massively embracing them! Mostly. If you read a blog I did a couple of months ago, you’ll see where I’m coming from.

The new structure of 6-8-2-6 has been spoken about for a few years. I have chatted to many people who have loved this change and it makes a lot of sense. If you simply look at the numbers of where players are positioned according to Champion Data (and then into DT/SC), then this spread/ratio is how it should be. Some might argue DPP counters this, but I think having more mids will help us put good DPP players into our 8 mids to start with.

Trading is the most enjoyable part of the game. 30 trades is a big increase for the upcoming year. Some people commenting around the place (here, twitter, facebook) aren’t fans of having so many trades. There are some logical reasons for this – it means our teams will end up being more similar, which is probably true as we can all aim to get towards better final teams. But with more players being rested and increased injuries, we can use these trades. There is still heaps of strategy here. Better DT coaches will still do better than our less skilled colleagues. I do think that the magic number will have to thought about carefully to get this right! I’m sure Virtual Sports are tweaking that as we speak before the release of the Team Picker. Again though, we have to remember that a lot of the casuals aren’t going to play if they can’t get enough players into their team that they know.

The 4 emergencies is a pretty simple and obvious one and will be good for the game. I was caught out in the rucks this year, so this will limit some stress levels.

What I don’t like about the changes is the rolling lockout. Now, I am a nerd… and I would be available for most ‘lockouts’ over a weekend. I am always checking final teams, subs, etc and tweeting them out there (follow me on Twitter, hey!). So personally, it won’t be too bad for me. It is the younger version of me that I am worried about… the one who would be playing footy on Saturday arvo and missing at least 3 lockouts as my phone is in the property bag… or the today me that might be on the piss on a Saturday arvo/evening and mightn’t be switched on enough to make changes/trades. Or those who work weekend without access to their phones or the internet.

My problem is that while we mightn’t have to use it every game or every round, it’ll be the one we miss that will put people off side. If you lose a game against a mate because he was able to shift a starting substitute off the ground onto the bench and you couldn’t, I’d be pissed off and if it happens a couple of times, I’d probably lose interest in the game. I liked the Friday night lockout and then it’s in the hands of the DT gods.

A lot of people who I follow on Twitter and other forums are big fans of it. I can understand it. I live and breathe DT and I like that I can make these changes, but like I said, I worry about those who might drop off because of it. Time will tell though! It’ll make our website MUCH more important over the weekends as we will be working hard to update people with all of the big changes and subs.

It looks as though it’s here to stay, so I guess we have to deal with it.

Do you support the Rolling Lockout?

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The other potential change that I do like is the 18 scoring players during MBRs. As I previously stated, there was a huge drop off of user engagement after the MBRs because people were screwed over. No one likes a donut. Even though “we’re all in the same boat”, it was pretty hard to take copping scores like that. Luck played a huge part too. Other injuries around this time killed some coaches and there was a huge difference between some teams with the number of players being fielded. While this rule hasn’t been confirmed (we will know soon hopefully), I think it is the way to go. I did suggest it to go 5-7-1-5 to keep some positional strategy, but the best 18 will keep teams more unique and the nuffies won’t have to think too much about who they’re picking (yes, as a good coach I don’t like this… but it’s a business remember!).

Hmm… I have dribbled some shit here! I wish 1000 words came that easy when I was at uni doing essays.

Fell free to pick apart what I’ve said… agree, disagree or whatever! It will be a very challenging year in 2013. I can’t wait. The Assistant Coach Team Picker is set for a December 17 launch. I haven’t even thought about a team yet… I don’t like doing anything until the official prices and positions are out there. It’s not far away though!

I better get some sleep! Flying from Dublin to Cancun, Mexico tomorrow… still in off-season mode! If you’re interested in what Calvin and I are doing overseas, check out our blog.

Cheers, Warnie.



  • As I said on twitter; I have no issues if rolling lockout only allows for late positional changes (eg, switching bench players or emergency players) or possibly even switching your Vice Captain around before their game starts. But once coaches can start changing their Captains mid-round, or worse, doing trades late on a Sunday afternoon to win a league game, that’s where I have an issue.

    For example, imagine if it’s the last game before finals, you’re up by 50 and almost certain for a win as you and your opposition have the same premium remaining. Then your opponent does a last second trade before the final game of a round, taking that player (who would be playing) and switching to a high risk/reward mid-pricer who has been on a hot-streak.

    If they get the win because of this move, it completely undermines the purpose of having set teams each and every week. Yes there are some who would say ‘but they took the risk and deserve to win’, but the purpose of a rolling lockout (as I see it) is to give you every opportunity to field a full team (late withdrawals), not trade players because of who your opposition has.

    • Problem is with so many trades, what you say Grief, could very well become a tactic – ie. the late trade! How frustrating would that be?

    • I am still trying to decide if I like rolling lockouts or not. I remember the pain I went thought last year with subs and late withdrawals, completely ruined a few weekends. This rule change will make these issues a lot easier to deal with, maybe too easy. The Friday afternoon panic and last minute lucky/stupid trades will be no more. The decisions made in that panic was one of the differences between a good and bad coach.

      For the rolling lockout to truly work, trades and Captain should be locked in Friday night. Any good team would be able to avoid subs/late withdrawals using their bench and DPP setup. That would keep the game challenging but removing the “unlucky” element, especially those late withdrawals due to an injury that had occurred mid week.

      In the end we all are under the same rules, we just need to learn how to use them for the best advantage.

      • On that point (and apologies if this has been questioned elsewhere), couldn’t the VC loophole just be used every week?

        That would be a serious issue IMO

        • That’s right. I haven’t seen anything about the VC loophole being fixed. Hopefully they will.

    • Sounds like the mid-round trade will very likely become the norm. You’d work out the trade you want to do as normal, but why wouldn’t you wait to do it until just before the game in which one of those two players is playing in? We left it ’til Friday arvo as it was the latest time we could do it, but we’d get more info on the Saturday or the Sunday, so surely people will start leaving the trades until as late as they can again.

      This will naturally then leave people in the position of having a good idea what scores they’ll need to win their league game. I think mid-round trades will definitely be happening throughout the DT finals.

    • These will be known as the “Hail Mary” trades…

    • Yep, with 30 trades available and a rolling lockout, I’m sure many will attempt a Sunday afternoon ‘condom trade’. Grab a player, screw your opponent, throw him away straight after.

      Still, that may get you a win or two during the season, but you’ll also burn trades and more than likely fall in a heap come finals and/or end of season overall ranking.

      It’s another element to test discipline and make you weigh up the short term gains against the long term issues.

  • Perrin I agree with your thoughts regarding the rolling lockout and how trades and captain chioce should be locked at the first bounce of the weekends first game. Only being able to use your bench and or DPP players to cover donuts after lockout sounds like a great idea to me.

    Unfortunately these changes probably won’t be implemented, meaning people like myself that are shift workers and have a young child to spend time with will be behind the 8 ball so to speak.
    I consider myself to be a DTer that dedicates are fair amount of time to get the best possible ranking I can. On the other hand I will not be giving up my personal time with my family to make sure I’m not stung by a late withdrawal. I am confident I am not the only person in this position.

    VS obviously want the winner of the competition not to be the person with the best DTing skills, but the person with the most luck or time to be permanently seated infront of a computer screen all weekend.

    • Completely agree. I personally liked the feeling on a Friday night when I knew everything was set and done for the week. The person that wins the car this year will be the one that dodged every late change and sub during the year. The difference between two identical teams could be 100’s of points depending on how far away they are from a computer.

      It also will be annoying for anyone like me that does not have a smartphone with internet access. Knowing there is a late change that you could have fixed will be a killer.

      • I hear ya mate, hopefully there’s a DT god and this gets resolved with some common sense by VS. Not holding my breath though.

  • Rolling lockout makes me a sad, sad, panda.

  • Good article Warnie, I think it sums up the overall gist of what the dreamteam nerds are thinking.

    Is there any chance of VS changing their mind on the rolling lockout or is it a foregone conclusion.

    By the way, how good is Breaking Bad. Best show on TV, pity it ends next year!

  • my two cents.

    The upgrade to trades can actually work, now that I have thought about it, but only if it is partnered by an large increase in the MN. Instead of start with say 10 rookies, 2 mid pricers and 24 trades, if we had to play 13-4 rookies and a few midpricers, but ended up with the same quality of final team, aka all premium, the game would be no easier but would have more trades and as people have pointed out, more clicks for the advertisers.

  • I am certainly like most – I hate the concept of the rolling lockout.
    Sure, it was always a dilemma with Sunday games, wondering if your player who has been named as one of the interchange squad will actually play. That to me is the only part of rolling lockout that should apply so that once Sunday’s final teams have been announced, lockout should be in place.
    I am like many who have to work on part of the weekends and are also involved in sport in that time. I do not have a smart phone and i feel I should not be penalized because I don’t have the latest technology. If I was to lose games because of this, I too, feel that Dream team (of which I have been a fanatic since the early days when it was run by the Age newspaper) would lose most of it’s appeal to me.
    I really do hope VS seriously reconsiders this.

  • I guess the other side of the rolling lock-out is what we are missing. Sure, VS have borught this rule in and I think you’ll find in just over a fortnights time, that it won’t be as bigger deal as everyone is making it out to be. Firstly, I’m sure you won’t be able to chop and change your VC & C, under the good old loophole & I’m also pretty confident that you won’t be able to trade players after the first lock-out on a say a Friday afternoon / evening.

    So, at best you might be able to do a little re-shuffle to avoid the “odd” late withdrawal, or perhaps if a player on your team is named as the sub, you might be able to do a quick switch, if you have the cattle to make that change.

    I though I’d have a go at the NFL version this year and it has a rolling lock-out (no C or VC) but the thing that strikes me the most about the differences, is the coaches and the team news is very open and honest, about who is playing and who isn’t. Players are noted as “Q”, questionable, which you can take as meaning they probably won’t play (99% accurate) or “P”, probable, meaning that he’ll more than likely line up. If you’re “IA”, which is inactive, you’re definately not playing and they have “IR” which means injured reserve, which is a further step back from being inactive. With all the money being punted on results these days, I wonder if this is something that the AFL would “like” to bring in at some point in the future.

    Perhaps we need to be griping at the clubs and the coaches for thinking pulling little last minute in’s & out’s, or reshuffling makes any great deal of difference in their favour. Just ask Damien Hardwick after his little back-fire up at the Gold Coast last year!

    Keep up the good work fellas!

  • No to rolling lockout as standard.

    Yes to top 18 players over MBRs (I hated MBRs this year)

    Yes to 30 trades

    Yes to the extra sub

    All in all great changes except the rolling lockout. This rule will make an easy game harder to manage both physically and mentally.

  • Warnie,
    I can understand your logic behind everyone (other than the actual coaches) wanting the site to be more commercially profitable. However this has to be considered without actually bastardising the game itself.
    Introducing a rolling lockout so that more people will log in and see the Toyota ads etc, etc is unforgivable. Surely those who have access will have already logged on to the site to see how their opposition players are scoring anyway.
    surely the publicity Toyota currently get via Dream team is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions. That being said, providing one prize for first place and nothing for those who finish 2nd and 3rd etc is pretty ordinary in my opinion.
    If they provided $500,000 in prizemoney they would be within their rights to commercialize the site.

  • Im actually for the rolling lockout, I just hope they introduce no VC C loophole, and also no trades during lockout. I wouldnt like people losing points to the leaders cos of a VC C loophole, also trading mid way thru a league match to gain a win thru high risk high reward trades, especially in finals. Seems kind of corrupt.

    However I am for the rolling lockout. Too many times this year a few times I’ve had my mates asking if they could change their lineup midway thru weekend only for me to say no.

  • I agree Warnie, if one(several) of my mates beat me because of the rolling lockout i wont be playing long at all .. i work weekends so i think this is a likely scenario. When you say they like to please the majority not just the nerds like us .. how will this help the majority cos they wont be checking all the time because they will only be casual users and therefore this will put them further behind the eight ball and lose interest more quickly.

  • Using a rolling lockout to protect you against players being last minute withdrawals is overkill. I mean that is why we have emergencies in the first place.
    Those who bitch about having one of their players being a sub will want a new rule brought in soon that if their captain gets injured in the first quarter he can get replaced by someone else. There IS luck involved in DT and it should stay that way.

  • For me rolling lock out is good,.. but i hope the 17 others in my league that I have every year still join up, they might get a bit disheartened by the whole idea… but yeah, I’ll be home at the start of every match so yes I’m going for the car!

  • How about making false trades so your opponent thinks they’re good for the win and decide to save trades then you reverse your trade just before lockout (assuming this remains available) bring in a gun and screw them over…

    Can really be used to manipulate for the win.

  • I play NFL and they have a rolling lock out, works well can’t see the problem

  • I’m happy enough with the changes, including the rolling lock-out.

    But, what’s the point of having emergencies at all if you can still exchange and trade players up to the start of their games? You can account for late changes yourself without needing emergencies. Same with a Vice Captain. Is there any need for one, when we can change the captain once we see that he’s a late withdrawal?

    The other thing I would have liked is more control over the number of teams in private leagues. Why does it have to be 18? I live overseas and it’s very difficult to find that many people who even know the sport, let alone the players, and I don’t want the extra spots taken up by Dr Dream Team or someone who thinks that it’s a good idea to have Adelaide Crows players filling up their entire lists. Even worse is those ring-ins who start off with a reasonable team, but then neglect it as the season goes on, giving those who play them later in the year a definite advantage. If we only find 12 players, then we should have a league of 12. Playing against some players twice and others only once is a preferable scenario to having opponents who nobody knows or cares about and who can’t play the game properly.