So, you want to climb the ranks of fantasy AFL football and become the ultimate Supercoach? Easy. Follow our guide below that explains every little detail you need to know to win.
AFL Supercoach is an online fantasy sports competition that is based on performances of players in the Australian Football League (AFL). The competition is conducted by News Limited across a variety of their news publications, however most participants enter via the Herald Sun. This is because the biggest majority of fans of the sport are Victorians.
Anyone is allowed to participate in AFL Supercoach.
The competition allows entrants from across Australia and also internationally. All you need to sign up to play is an Email address and a Team name.
You may only enter one team per person though (we will discuss some “options around this” later in the guide - especially when it comes to targeting the Weekly Prize.
No. You can enter your team for free. Most of the competition’s expenses are paid through Sponsorship dollars - currently KFC.
You can however pay for Supercoach Gold / Premium account for around $20 per year which gives access to advanced features such as break-even, scoring breakdowns and popular trade movement. These are all very handy additions if you are wanting to maximize you chance of success.
Although it doesn’t cost money, AFL Supercoach will likely cost you time! To be successful you need to commit a large chunk of time to keeping up with the latest news and player form lines.
The most important factor to follow is without a doubt the team selection announcements. More on that further down below.
The start of the AFL season for 2023 is usually the middle of March - ie March 16th. The first match is traditionally between Richmond and Carlton.
However, although the official start of Supercoach coincides with this same day, real coaches know that Supercoach begins the minute we start Trade Week in October.
Having knowledge of player movements is very advantageous as their are often flow on effects to other players that will influence their supercoach scoring ability.
Players initial pricing is mostly set via their previous seasons average score.
For example, a player who averaged 90 pts in the previous season will be priced around $450k.
One of the most important periods to follow is also the draft. This is where the next generation of talent enters the AFL system, and also into the Supercoach player market for the first time.
Generally, these players are all priced at bargain basement value, as they have no previous scoring or form lines to go on to set their price mathematically. Usually the Top 10 picks in the drafts are priced slightly higher than rookies who are drafted outside the Top 10.
There are also some other anomalies in the preseason pricing system.
For example, Darcy Wilmott was priced as a rookie despite playing in 3 finals in 2022. This is because finals games do not count towards a player’s average or scoring tally.
Some players who played less than a certain number of games the previous season are also given a 20% discount on what would be their typical price based on their average.
This means you can select a player who averaged for example 80 pt in the previous season, but only pay the price of the player as if they averaged 65 pts. These are crucial to your team. Read more about that here.
On the surface, the game is fairly simple. To begin with a valid team:
You need to pick 8 defensive players, 11 midfielders, 8 forwards and 3 rucks in your team. You You must pick players to fill every position. You are restricted in your salary cap to a certain amount (i.e $10 million) You must select a Captain. You must select a Vice Captain. You must have the required 30 players on your team.
After this initial selection stage, your players are then allocated scores based on their performances.
This is probably the best and most frustrating part of the game: the scoring system. Scores are put together by Stats Company Champion Data.
In essence, players are scoring points based on their contributions during a game. This can range from kicking the ball, spoiling the opponent, to even touching a ball as it’s going through for a behind.
There is a core list of factors which generally reflect basic positive scoring:
Yet there is no set allocation for a simple Disposal. Other factors will weigh into the points allocated.
For example, if the player disposed of the ball effectively with a long kick inside the forward 50 meters to a teammate who marks the ball, this will reap bigger points than sideways 15m chip in defense.
Also taken into account is how the player received the ball in the first place. Did they win the ball in a scuffle on the ground? Did they get a handball receive in space? Was it a free kick?
All these minor events will contribute incrementally to the score a player is awarded through a match. However, it’s also important to note that a player can be given negative scores for acts too.
For example, a free kick against, a bad clanger, a 50 meter penalty, bad accuracy in front of goal or kicking the ball out of the full can all result in negative scores to a players total.
One last thing to consider on scoring, is game context. All players’ scores get weighted based on game context. This one is tricky to explain, but the main thing to note is “”impact on match result” as a factor.
For example, a goal kicked by a player when a team is already winning by 10 goals will not match the score of a goal that is kicked in the last quarter to put that players team in front. Or, like with Jordan Dawson in 2022, his after the goal siren to win Adelaide the match. This was worth around 50 pts.
This also lends itself to the unspoken factor which lies at the heart of the Champion Data itself - their subjectivity. They will decide certain acts throughout a match are worthy of bonus points based on context, which can be entirely in the eye of the beholder.
This lack of transparency compared to a purely stats based scoring system is partly the appeal of Supercoach. It’s what makes it more thrilling than just watching stats.
So although it can sometimes seem like Dumbledore is ambiguously handing out points to Bontempelli merely for drawing oxygen into his lungs, odds are he has probably done something that has caught their eye and is high impact.
How many rounds in AFL supercoach?
Supercoach starts in round 1 and goes all the way through to round 23. Depending on how many teams are in your league, often some season / league matches won’t start until round 3 or 4.
It’s best to decide how you are planning to win supercoach at your targeted outcome and then checking when matches that affect you start and finish.
In supercoach, you can control several moves during the round. One of these, is the loophole play.
The classic loophole is the Captain loophole. This gives coaches a double dip at the captain score. A Captain score is a score that earns double the players total points. The coach can set this themselves every round and it makes a big difference to the overall score.
In the event that a Captain doesn’t play for whaterver reason (let’s say they are a late out due to injury), a coach can also nominate a Vice Captain. The Vice Captain acts as a Captain and gets double their score in the event that a Captain doesn’t play.
Now, you can actually manipulate this to your advantage. You can intentionally set your Vice Captain to as a player who plays before the captain plays. This gives you a free look at a Captain score. Why - good question.
If the Vice Captain score really well, then you can still change your Captain to another player, ie a non playing player (player not named to play). Note, you must have this player on the field. So you will also need bench cover as an emergency on the same line to cover the missed score.
Then, the beauty is that if the Vice Captain doesn’t score well, then you can still nominate another real Captain anyway. Win win.
The same priciple can be applied to other players on the field. For example, a risky player on the beach who you don’t trust might be playing before another equally risky player on the same line. Using the same loophole approach, you can have a “free look” at the score of the player who plays first by putting the Emergency tag on them on the bench.
If the player score well enough, simply put a zero scoring player on the field to take the score they posted and leave the other risky player on the bench.
If the player scores poorly, then you can put the other risky player on the field and chance your arm at a better score.
Important Note: Loopholes require well through out scenarios and advanced planning ahead of time. Often you can get caught out with loopholes by not considering the implications of the order that the round’s matches are being played, who is named, and if it may impact your trade options too.
The ammount of trades has changes over time. In 2022, coaches had 36 trades. The justification for this was that covid may cause mass outs. H
However, trade creep has been on the rise over the past few years anyway. Some believe that more trades takes away the skill of the game. And some also believe it allows coaches to play more liberally or recover from mistakes.
Then there are those who believe News Limited are just trying keep users coming back more to increase engagement with their website to raise their advertising revenue…
Player prices will fluctuate from round to round. A players initial price will only change after their third match. From then on, the most previous 3 scores of a player are used to determine a price rise or price drop in their value.
A supercoach breakeven is the score required for the players price to remain the same. I.e, if a player scores a certain number, their price will not increase, and nor will it decrease.
It is important to know a players breakeven as it can help you forecast when a major change in a players value may occur. This can be beneficial if you are looking to buy / trade in a player that has reached the bottom of their price plummet, or to sell / trade out a player who you can see is about to drop in value.
The News Limited Supercoach Website now includes live scores.
Winning at Supercoach depends on what your goal is. There are 3 different ways that you can win, and each requires a different strategy.
The three ways include:
Winning league relies on a full season of incremental growth to your team while retaining several trades for the Finals period. It also requires potential short term moves if you can see a way to beat your opponent in a weekly head to head match.
But the key to winning is banking early wins in your league and then saving more trades that your opponents come finals time. The early season wins allow you to preserve trades in later rounds where you may not need to hussle for a head to head win.
Finishing Top 4 is also a nice to have, but not essential. It allows a double chance in case you lose as a result of your opponent posting a score that was a “one off” high.
And obviously winning your top 4 match means having the week off, which can save you trades and allow time to plan moves. It will also have the effect of making your opponents waste trades as they fight out an elimination final.
Bottom line to winning league is to have trades for finals. This is much easier to do if you bank early league wins.
Overall glory is much harder than league, and requires a different approach.
There are cash prizes for the Top 10 Overall placings at the seasons end, which makes it a much more competitive pursuits. It is the ultimate glory in Supercoach.
The strategy for overall requires a team to trade very hard early. The idea is to get your team into full premo mode as fast as possible. This means minimising the ammount of risky type players scoring on field, like rookies.
The fast you get to a strong scoring premo team, the more likely you are to score higher.
The catch with this strategy is that getting to full premo mode fast requires high risk and high trade turnover. To afford the players needed to score at Premo levels, you need to generate a heap of cash. This can mean turning rookies over fast, sometime before they have even matured.
This is what make overall victory so difficult.
The other winning move for overall is to nail a POD (point of difference player) that gives your team a unique edge over the rest of the competition. Usually, teams will consist of many of the same players who are reliable and well known for their scoring. So throwing a POD into the mix can be the difference - for better or worse.
With so many teams out there, it is likely that you will need a least one very successful POD risk that pulls out the goods. Having the same players as everyone else won’t create the margin needed to move ahead.
Getting the highest weekly score prize is for the real Supercoach tragics. The strategy is as follows.
Obviously, this strategy can be used for rounds other than the bye rounds. But your best chance to win the weekly prize is during these rounds.