The Starting 17 – Nearly There..

So, we are finally here. Just days away from the commencement of the season, and to be frank I could not be more excited. Given that we are just four sleeps away from the kick off of the season, it’s really getting down to business! This week I thought I would give you my thoughts on what has me excited for this Dream Team Season, and suggestions on how to stay on top of managing your team this season.

A lot of talk has been made about the changes to the points scoring system for the 2012 Dream Team Season. A lot of opinion and conjecture is floating around about how to structure your team this year to be successful. Where have you spent your money, and how will your ‘risks’ perform? The likes of Corey Norman, Scott Prince, Terry Campese and picking the right cash cows will either make or break your team and if you are set up well from early on, having extra trades up your sleeve is worth it’s weight in gold.

I have no doubt that many of us have spent hours and hours making various teams in the last month or so, and I know for fact that a fair portion of our teams will also change on Tuesday as team lists are announced. That last minute frenzy will be awesome, and nerve wracking. Come Friday evening, your teams are locked in and your 30 Trade limit commences! I am not going to lie, while I feel like I can perform decently, this season is rather daunting given that I will be blogging regularly for you all. My success or failure will be on display for you all to see, and I don’t have anonymity to hide behind!

For experienced Dream Teamers, what I will say is obvious, however It’s nonetheless important to state. Dream Team requires a time commitment. Often best spent on a Friday, it’s crucial to keep up to date on player injuries, withdrawals and team lists. Don’t forget that Round 1 features a partial lockout, for Dragons and Knights players on Thursday night. Fan groups can be good, but people have been known to intentionally mislead for their own benefit, so I suggest you check the NRL Lone Scout Page, the NRL Late Mail and even Twitter.

Speaking of Twitter, I have a Twitter handle purely for Dream Team and NRL news. Follow me – ‘@BWTF_sladie” and I’ll be looking to provide in game thoughts as well as reminders for Team Lists etc.

With the commencement of the regular season, next week’s The Starting 17 will be shifting to a structured format. Stay tuned to see what’s in store. For now though, here’s to a great NRL Season in 2012, and GO THE MIGHTY TIGERS!!

Until next week!

Sladie

Round Table Review – Pre-season Part 5

 

uncategorizedWhere will the Tigers finish on the NRL ladder?

One-Eyed: There’s no doubt that the 2012 Wests Tigers squad – provided we’re not decimated by injuries – can finish in the top two. I reckon it will be a close finish between Wests Tigers and Melbourne Storm, probably only one win or for-against separating them. If I had to punt, I’d go an exacta with the Tigers first and Storm second.  For the record, I’m also predicting those two teams meet in the Grand Final with a four-point victory to the Wests Tigers and Timmy Moltzen scoring the match-winning try.

 

Forgotten Flano: In my mind there is no doubt the Tigers will make the finals, but this year it is about the journey rather than the destination. The Tigers always feel beatable with the hot and cold nature of their performances. I believe the Tigers will be in the big dance IF they earn their way into the finals throughout the season, rather than rely on a winning streak at the end of the season. This I believe will put a psychological knife into their opponents and perhaps remove some of the pluck from the opposition. I’m tipping an end of regular season finish of third behind Melbourne and Brisbane and a Grand Final berth in 2012.

TigerBrad: The Kool-Aid is flowing freely and I’m clearly biased, but I think the boys will finish second after a slowish start as they search for a halves pairing. The Tigers will win the comp. I say that every year, but this time I mean it. Brisbane losing Lockyer, Melbourne losing Blair, the Dragons losing Uncle Wayne and Manly losing the plot is a perfect storm in many respects. I still think Melbourne will finish minor premiers and Manly will be right up there, but with any luck the Tigers will remain injury free and settle of a halves combination after six to eight rounds before blitzing the competition by the time State of Origin rolls around. 

 

The Starting 17 – The Tiger Ambush..

Welcome to another week in The Starting 17! Following on from my article last week regarding selecting key players, this week I thought I would cover another topic related to filling out your Dream Team Squads – Selecting Tigers Players of course! I promised you all that The Starting 17 would have a Tigers twist, and this week I thought I’d look at 5 Tigers players you may wish to consider including or excluding from your team.

Benji Marshall: HLF, $300,300. Benji has increased in price this year to account for the changes to points scoring in 2012. Benji’s brilliance on the field is almost guaranteed to be DT gold this year, the problem is, his mistakes will shine through just as much.His good weeks will be great but his average weeks may cost you a head to head. Rating: 3/5 Sheensy’s.

Chris Heighington: 2RF, $290,000. ‘Cov’ has been a dependable, solid choice for 2RF for the last few years. Unfortuantely, because of his consistency his price has been adjusted accordingly. The changes to scoring should benefit him, but be careful as rotation could hurt him badly. Rating: 3/5 Sheensy’s.

Aaron Woods: FRF, $175,300. Aaron Woods appears to be a bargain at his price. With the departure/retirement of Payten, Fifita and Gibbs his minutes are due for a dramatic increase in 2012. With the presence of Blair as a mentor, I think Woods will shine and for his price, it’s hard to go past him. Rating: 4/5 Sheensy’s.

Blake Ayshford: CTR, $192,500. Blake surged into DT contention mid last year as he started to gain some form and time on the paddock, which turned him into a mid to late 30’s player, week in week out. This surge in points and the change of scoring has seen his price bumped up around $30k on his price last season, and I do think the new system is suited to him. Problem is that he has a lot more competition this year, and if his form slumps it’s not beyond Sheensy to see him replaced with one of our many Centre/Wing Options. Rating: 2/5 Sheensy’s.

Tim Moltzen: WF/, HLF, $130,300. With Tim almost guaranteed the Number 7 for the year, it’s hard not to have him as an auto inclusion at his bargain price. Tim may well be in for a great year, and as a DPP (Dual Position Player) he is handy DT wise for your precious trades. Having said that, the Tigers have a lot of depth, and with the likes of Chisholm and Humble in the wings, there is some risk there. Rating: 5/5 Sheensy’s. My pick of the bunch.

You could also consider young James Tedesco, however if you listen to Sheensy he is not yet guaranteed a start. If you want him, just watch for Round 1 Teams to make sure he is selected. If he is, at $77,100 he may well be a Cash Cow in the making.

It’s not long until kick off now so hang in there! Got a DT question? Comment on the FB page and I’ll answer it.

Until next week,

Sladie

Round Table Review – Pre-season Part 4

 

uncategorizedWhat do the Tigers need most in season 2012?

One-Eyed: Maturity. Too often in 2010 and 2011 we’ve seen the Tigers lose games because they haven’t had enough patience in attack or maintained enough intensity in defence to put pressure on their opponents. 2012 must the year when we rectify this. Our senior players, in particular Farah and Marshall, need to lead the team with mature decision-making both with and without the ball. Knowing when to attempt a big play and knowing when to buckle down for five then execute a solid kick-chase will be the key to a successful premiership campaign.

Forgotten Flano: Standards. It makes for great TV, but the Tigers always seem to play as well as their opposition. If the opposition plays to a low standard so do the Tigers, and if the opposition is having a belter…so do the Tigers. The result is cardiac arrests for the fans, and a poultry for and against at the end of the year. The Tigers need to learn how to play to a consistent standard, and if the opposition has a bad game, punish them.

TigerBrad: The Tigers won’t win the premiership without a capable halfback. They have a trio of promising youngsters in Jacob Miller, Dane Chisholm and Tom Humble vying for the vacant number seven and one of them will have to have a breakout year to get the Tigers over the line. Wests need a halfback who can help steer the side around the park and tackle like there’s no tomorrow. Passing, kicking and running games would come in handy, but between Marshall, Farah and Moltzen you’d have to think the Tigers have got plenty of points in them. Look at what Gareth Widdop did for the Storm in 2011. A catch-pass player who knew when to take on the line, put in the occasional kick and worked around Cooper Cronk, Cam Smith and Billy Slater. That’s all we’re asking!

 

The Starting 17: Introductions

My name’s Chris (Aka Sladie), and I’m very pleased to announce a new regular feature to the BWTF website and Facebook page. With the interest in the NRL Dream Team Competition increasing every year, the Admins have been kind enough to allow me to commence a weekly Dream Team Column, which I have affectionately coined ‘The Starting 17’. Each week I will be providing you with my own insights into the great game that is Dream Team in a similar fashion to the articles provided by Lone Scout, but with a Tigers Twist.

If you are wondering about my previous experience, this is my Third Year in NRL Dream team. Last year I entered the top 1,000 despite making some fairly significant mistakes, as well as winning the open league that I was participating in. I don’t profess to know it all with regards to Dream Team, so don’t take me too seriously (I know I don’t) but I am hoping to bring you some unique thoughts for you to ponder week by week.
To start the season off, my first message for you is this: Don’t be afraid to spend dollars on key players.

For me, a solid foundation is very important when it comes to having a successful Dream Team season. While you may be tempted to avoid the more expensive players in order to provide depth elsewhere in your team, I cannot stress the importance of having well established, known performers within your Team.

Not only will these players provide you with (on average) high scores, these players will in almost all situations stay with you throughout the year. While some may be subject to absence through State of Origin, these performers will form the cornerstone of your teams week by week performance.

So, who should you consider for your Team? My suggestion is to work on a formula of one $400k player, and two to three $300k players (rounded). Look to have either Corey Parker or Cam Smith – these guys will become your Captains. You can then supplement as you see fit with players such as Paul Gallen, Hindmarsh, Fensom or our own Robbie Farah.
A suggestion for you all to consider: I suggest you stay clear of Daly Cherry-Evans. He is the third most expensive player in the competition, and I can’t help but feel that the ‘second year’ Syndrome would really hurt with such an expensive player. Under a new coach, his play style may change. Admittedly, he may not, but at such a high price, there are better, more proven options out there.

I hope you have enjoyed the first ‘Starting 17’ for 2012. I will be providing some general advice tips before the start of the season, at which time I will be shifting to a structured format covering various elements of Dream Team. With two Dream Team Comps set up, I think we’re in for a great DT season for everyone here at BWTF!

Until next week!
Sladie

Round Table Review – Pre-season Part 3

 

uncategorizedWhat’s the most surprising take from season 2011?

One-Eyed: Without doubt it has to be the disorganisation shown on the fifth tackle with the final minutes ticking down in the semi-final against the Warriors. After doing all the hard work over the previous two and a bit months, and showing genuine premiership credentials en route, the inability to execute a routine fifth tackle play when it mattered most was – for want of a better word – surprising. Gut-wrenching would be another word. It’s one the reasons I’m looking forward to 2012 to kick-off – the chance to finally push that game further back into my memory banks.

Forgotten Flano: Lack of maturity when it mattered. The great leaders of the game have the ability to sit back and move players like a chess piece when required. Think Johns, Lockyer, Lewis, Stuart – the list goes on. These players make you start every set off your own line and run at you when the defence is expecting another astute territorial kick. As they say, “you gotta know when to hold em, and when to kick the damn ball deep and tackle like a demon” – not quite the Kenny Rodgers’ quote but it fits. Robbie, Benji and company have played for their countries. I strongly suggest R. Farah let his team down by not taking the game and his play makers by the scruff of the neck and leading a team in front to the siren. Robbie, sadly this could be the difference between yourself and Cameron Smith. I am referencing a plethora of games, not just the NZ final. It just turned out in the final that the Tigers got their pants pulled down, and the cracks appeared.

TigerBrad: History never repeats, unless you’re the dumbest team in the NRL. It might sound harsh, but on paper Wests have the best top squad in the competition. Between the ears is different, and that’s why teams like the Titans, Roosters, Rabbitohs, Eels and Bulldogs once again pulled the Tigers pants down in 2011. I honestly thought last season would be a new beginning and the players would wake up to themselves. Instead, the Tigers followed a familiar script, playing up or down according to their opposition, failing to put away inferior teams and needing second half miracles to edge the Knights and Panthers. This has to change in 2012 because time is running out.

 

Round Table Review – Pre-season Part 2

 

uncategorizedWho is the most intriguing player on the Tigers’ roster?

One-Eyed: I’m really impressed with all of the off-season acquisitions. It’s the largest recruitment drives in the club’s history and you can’t help but feel excited. Young blokes such as Dane Chisholm and John Grant could offer us plenty in years to come. But when it comes to most intriguing, I can’t go past Joel Reddy. In his past-life with Parramatta, he ripped us apart. After an injury-interrupted 2011 he’s bulked up a bit now and will hopefully be able to cause even more havoc wearing our jersey. Given his ability to cover positions in the outside backs and second row, he could well be the most important signing of 2012. But how Sheens utilises him with a fully fit squad available will be one of the most intriguing aspects for mine.

Forgotten Flano: In a busy trade market, which is very unlike the Tigers in recent years, there are many players that can raise an eyebrow on the roster. For me, Tim Moltzen is the big story. Many a punter has an opinion on Moltz, let us not forget he was the half that we always should of had for many, the fullback that cannot catch for most and the player without a true position for the majority. I will be keen to see where Tim slots into the side, will he get his chance to secure the 7, or will Sheens persist with the number 1 on his back. The big difference this year is the depth across 7 and 1. Moltzen is certainly no shoe-in for either position, and a few poor games on the trot could see him in reserves and pining for his Big Red V contract.

TigerBrad: He remains somewhat of an enigma for mine, so I’m going to roll with Adam Blair. The big bloke has done it all and he’s only 25, but at times in 2011 he looked detached and disinterested. You can put that down to speculation surrounding his future, or you can put it down to bad habits. Blair is one of those players who all too often drifts in and out of games. He isn’t a Liam Fulton-type stat stuffer, but he hits hard, runs straight and has a sneaky good passing game. The Storm didn’t win many matches without Blair at the back end of the season, so he clearly has a lot going for him. The thing that excites me the most about the New Zealand vice captain is his out and out mongrel. Pairing him with a gentlemanly enforcer like Gareth Ellis could set the NRL alight in 2012.