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Montagna vs Boyd

The “Would you rather?” comments can just call for a one word answer. But some things just can’t be answered without much thought. tbetta analyses the Montagna vs Boyd dilemma.

The question I’ve been reading again and again all pre-season is that of ‘Montagna or Boyd’? With good reason too, because with the exception of Swan vs Ablett in previous years, these two are definitely the most comparable over a range of factors and categories.

Most of the answers I’ve seen so far relate to personal preference or opinion, or cash available. Because of this, it’s hard to get a good idea of which of the two you should have (if not both). I’m going to have a look at things statistically in a bit, but for now let’s get the obvious out of the way.

Boyd is slightly more expensive at $478,200 than Montagna, priced at $465,100, so technically this is a factor. But I would argue that $13,000 is play money when choosing between premiums of this quality – it really shouldn’t make a difference. And besides, it’s only a function of their averages last year (Boyd 115.15, Montagna 112.00), so you get what you pay for.

A much bigger factor is what other Bulldogs or Saints are in the midfield with them. With the byes this year we all know how important it is to not have too many players from the same team. For that reason, if you have Cross or Higgins, you have a choice to make where Boyd is concerned. Similarly; Goddard, Hayes and Dal Santo are all legitimate options, so Montagna needs to be weighed up if you are dead-set on any of these players. But in my opinion it shouldn’t matter too much – Boyd and Montagna should be considered first on their own merits.

Speaking of the byes, Round 4 is a big reason why the Montagna v Boyd conversations have such weight. The Lions, Saints and Bulldogs each have a game off in the multi-bye round, which is why some will only consider having one of the two, as covering two premiums is too risqué for these people. Boyd’s second game off is Round 20 while Montagna’s is 14 – meaning that Montagna is the better upgrade target, and if you wanted both in your team by season’s end, Boyd would be the logical choice to start out with.

When considering premiums, injury concerns and durability is one box that must be ticked off. With Boyd and Montagna, there is no reason to worry. Boyd has only missed 2 games in the last 5 years, from a broken hand last season. Which, by the way, should have taken a month to heal properly, meaning he’s not only durable but very tough. His career track-record is even more impressive, playing in 144 of 154 games since his second year of AFL football. Montagna is in the same vein – only 3 games missed in the last 5 years, and never playing less than 21 in a season in that time. So if you expected durability to be a deciding factor, unfortunately you’re going to have to look deeper – these two are equally solid. Which is another reason why the comparisons between them have such merit.

Okay, now let’s get serious. Before I get into too much detail, I’ll clarify some assumptions we have to make. Firstly, their pre-season form is negligible. We all know senior players are nursed through the preseason so that they are fresh for the season proper, so any scores are not a true or accurate representation of their abilities. Hence I won’t be taking them into account. Secondly, I will assume that the best way to predict their future value is to analyse the more recent data with a greater emphasis. Basically, last years scores are a better indication of what is to come than the year before, or the year before that, so I will be weighting it accordingly. And thirdly, I’ve made a point not to analyse any data without a decent sample size – no point declaring that Montagna’s average score at Princess Park is 87, when he’s only played the one game there. Also, I’ll put any math-related jargon in italics so if you don’t care how I came to the conclusions I did, skip these parts.


Consistency is a big factor to consider when picking a premium. It will be even more important if you plan not to have Swan and one of these two is your captain option! At any rate, one of these guys should be your vice-captain behind Swan and will be important in Rounds 7 and 13.

Some see consistency as continually scoring over than magic 100 point barrier. Last season, Boyd only scored under the ton 4/20 times, while Montagna was more frequent with 6/22 games. Both very impressive, but Boyd just wins there. On the other hand, having a look at the Game-Winner scores, Montagna scored over 130 7 times to Boyd’s 5. At a glance, this tells me that Boyd is the more consistent, continually scoring closer to his average than Montagna does. Not satisfied with taking things at face value, I did a few calculations.

I decided to use the Standard Deviation as a measure of consistency. Basically, the lower the Standard Deviation, the more consistent the player.  And seeing as we have all the data (thanks M0nty) I used the Population Standard Deviation method. This gives Montagna a std. of 26.42 to Boyd’s 21.53. But the problem with standard deviations is that it’s affected by the mean, which means that the results were affected by the difference in averages (Boyd’s 115.15 to Mont’s 112.0). To counter this I used the percentage of the difference rather than the difference itself in calculations (math nerds should know what I’m talking about). This gave Montagna a score of 1.1942 and Boyd 1.1484.

So I was right, Boyd is the more consistent player because he scores close to his average more often than Montagna. And when your average is 115.15, this is a very good thing! From this, I can see Montagna is more of a game-winning, all-or-nothing captain option. He can smash out those 151’s but he can also deliver you a 67.


One stat I have seen thrown around is Boyd’s huge average at Etihad – 124 per game over 10 games last year. Conversely, his average away from Etihad is 106.3, which is by no means a negative, but it is good to keep in mind. Montagna on the other hand is much less variable in his scores in terms of location, averaging 112.6 at Etihad and 110.9 away. But he did score 6 of his 7 130+ games at home…

The fixture this year is such that Montagna plays 10 at Etihad, while Boyd plays 13 there, including the first three games of the year. This is interesting, because assuming Boyd performs there like he has in the past, it doesn’t look good for a drop in price anytime early in the year.


Some players play better against some teams than others (think Dane Swan vs West Coast – last 4 scores are 158, 133, 158, 162) and vice versa. And because clubs only play 6 teams twice this year, knowing who the bunny teams are will help with predicting scores for 2011.

To find out which teams Montagna and Boyd were more/less effective against, I took their average against each team and compared it to their overall average over the last two years. Why the last two years? Because 2009 was the year they both became premiums and averaged over 100 for the first time. As I said before, the more recent scores are more important than scores from 6 or 7 years ago.

In doing this I discovered Montagna enjoys playing against Brisbane, Melbourne and West Coast, while averaging less than the ton against Hawthorn and Fremantle. Boyd dominates against Hawthorn, Carlton and Collingwood but doesn’t do so well against Sydney, Richmond or Adelaide. So how do they do overall against the teams they play twice?

Montagna has a bad draw personally, with a 106.2 average against these teams, compared to his 113.86 avg over the last 2 seasons. Boyd’s isn’t as bad, but still only averages 107.4 against the 5 teams he plays twice (WB play Gold Coast twice, for which we have no data obviously) compared to his 109.18 avg. To put this in perspective, had Montagna and Boyd had the same draw last year, their averages would have been: Montagna 109.9 instead of 112, Boyd 114.7 instead of 115.15.

Overall, the draw for Montagna doesn’t excite me based on his track record. Boyd’s is basically negligible, because while I calculated a lesser average, this didn’t include Gold Coast, for which we can assume he’ll perform better than normal.

Unfortunately, the teams who you play twice are usually the ones you play at the end of the season, just in time for DT finals. Montagna plays against Collingwood, Sydney, North and Carlton. All four of these teams are teams he averages less than normal against, which is not encouraging for coaches. Boyd’s is better, facing Essendon and Fremantle who he doesn’t fare as well against, but takes on Port and the Hawks – whom he averages a massive 134 against.


Value is often an objective term, but to quantify it in DT, we use $ per Point. Priced as they currently are, and based on last year’s scores, Montagna is $4152.7/pt and Boyd is $4152.8/pt. So basically the same, as per Virtual Sports’ pricing formula. But if you use the predicted averages calculated before, Montagna is $4232.03/pt and Boyd is better value at $4169.14/pt.

I started this exercise not knowing who to pick between these two, with only my personal preferences separating them. But after everything considered, I think Boyd will be lining up for me in Round 1.

DT Talk - covering AFL Fantasy and other games since 2007.



  1. Roy


    March 7, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    awesome article mate!! i actually want them both but my team already has a few dogs and saints so 1 of them will have to go due to bloody round 4!!
    at this stage i think its monty out.

    ps. i know you arent having a go axis but yeah, warnie, calvin and myself dont have alot of time to write articles so we think any article is better than nothing because it generates conversation, and good advise evolves in the comments.

    do i wish we had time to write two articles a day? yes
    do i wish it was our job to keep updating the site with our own stuff? yes

    • Avatar


      March 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm

      Roy, what subjects do you teach? I’m guessing you teach English, Calvin teaches History, and Warnie teaches Dance! Hahaha

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    March 7, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Hi All

    im really going to try and get the best overall ranking i can this season.
    So i have a questions i hope to get answered.

    1. How many Premiums is ok to miss come the multi bye rounds?

    how my team sits at the moment, this is how many i miss
    4: 4 premiums and 1 mid pricer
    5: 2 Premiums (should be ok)
    6: 5 Premiums (OUCH)

    is anyone thinking about bye rounds to get the best overall result?
    if so i would love to hear what your have to say! :)

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      March 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm

      ok Leroy IMO multi-bye rounds will make or break your overall chance of winning. 3 premiums is the most you want out for rounds 4-6 the rest don’t matter as much due to being toward the end of the H&A season- injuries,form e.t.c will allow you to manage those byes with trades.

      Now for rounds 4-6 I think they are that important (some will disagree) that my team has been structured around them meaning no more then 3 out each round and apart from Rd6 where I’m missing Chappy and Buddy out there are no 2 guns in the same line are out- even spread so only 1 rookie comes in.

      The elite teams will no doubt forge a gap on the ‘rest’ of the pack. And if they trade right and know their shit the horse would have bolted well and truly!!! Obviously people will disagree with this but remember you have to have a strategy from the get go. Hope this helps

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    March 7, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Swan, Boyd, Bartel/Montagna, Anthony/Rookie, Rookie, Rookie.

    Im tipping alot of midfields are gonna be similar to this.

    Makes having a unique midfield all the more important this year i reckon but what combo?

    Thinking maybe Pendlebury, Murphy, A. Swallow, Ward/Shuey, Rookie, Rookie could pay off but also a big risk.

    Any thoughts?

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    Dr Frasier Crane

    March 7, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Good read. I have both blokes but the comments on shared byes have given me food for thought. Given that I will have godrick, roo, montag and boyd out in one week I may have to re-assess.

  5. SHAMM3R


    March 7, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Hey rise up were u in a league with a team called the immortals last season?

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    March 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I have Swan, Boyd, Bartel and Monty rook rook. Do we all think this is too top heavy?

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    March 7, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Thanks tbetta,

    Awesome article, logic talks.

    Am gonna apply the same logic to Bartel/Selwood… obviously some differnet analysis needed given same team… but i just cant seperate at the moment.

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    March 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    boyd’s nose looks pretty crooked, might throw off his balance. I’m going monty

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    March 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Picking both means you’ll have both premiums out in Rd4. Add another 2 if you have Goddard and Reiwodlt. If ur going for the car or improve you overall scores then it’s about 200-250 point off. Wouldn’t make a difference if ur going for a league win.

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      March 9, 2011 at 1:15 pm

      the bye rounds for mine are key, majority of teams are going to have goddard, riewoldt and boyd/montagna for rd4,cox, slyvia/green and grimes for rd 5, chappy/stevie j, franklin, broughton/duffield maybe even sandi aswell. so it follows the people who play the right rookies in these rounds are going to get an edge on the rest. the question is who are they going to be?

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    Dredge Dragline

    March 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    A good post but;

    “But the problem with standard deviations is that it’s affected by the mean”…

    I don’t understand what you’re getting at here. The SD isn’t ‘affected’ by the mean, it’s merely a measure of the spread of data. It’s entirely valid to simply compare SD’s. If you’re really worried about it just do an F-Test for difference in the SD’s.

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      Dredge Dragline

      March 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      btw I have both.

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        March 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm

        I’ll clarify – i should have said ‘the problem with using the standard deviation as a measure of consistency is that it is affected by the mean’. For example, Presti has scores of 5, 10, 5, 10 and Glass has scores of 25, 30, 25, 30. Same Standard deviation, but noone would say that Presti is more consistent than Glass. Which is why i used the differences, to counter this difference in mean. Clear?

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          jim cowski

          March 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm

          i love it how presti is still remember as the dt legend he was (or wasnt)

        • Avatar


          March 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

          *edit: noone would say that Presti is as consistent as Glass*

          • Avatar

            Dredge Dragline

            March 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm

            Actually I (and any other statistician) would say that Presti is exactly as consistent as Glass in that example. Let me explain… Since your weekly score is simply made up of the sum of your players’ scores the only sensible way to measure consistency is by estimating how much their scores deviate on average (this is the SD) regardless of their mean. If one week Presti is 5 down on his average score and Glass hits his average this is not better for your score than the reverse. Therefore the SD should not be measured as a percentage of the mean.

  11. Avatar


    March 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    the bye rounds are key for mine, with pretty much everyone having a couple of goddard, voldt, boyd, montagna, higgins for round 4, cox, green, slyvia, grimes, goodes, for round 5 and sandi, franklin, chappy, stevie j, duffers, broughton, bruce for round 6 the front runners for the car are the guys who have picked the best 2nd and 3rd rookies in each position, the question is, can you pick them?

  12. Avatar


    March 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Does anyone Know when the fantastys freakos second newsletter comes out

  13. Avatar


    March 11, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Great analysis well done mate, By the way I always had boyd.

  14. Avatar


    March 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    so heppell or k cheney


    Buddy or sylvia?

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