The Starting 17 – I did it my way..

uncategorizedWith just two rounds to go before the Head to Head finals commence, it’s crunch time for a lot of teams. Despite this, there are rumours that Sladie may not take the field this week after stubbing my toe Benji style. So let’s see what this edition of The Starting 17 has in store.

 

The Scrum

Continuing on from last week, this week will round out the ‘Mistakes and Lessons’ theme in order to start planning for your 2013 campaign. Yes.. 2013. Because let’s face it. Those of us that play DreamTeam love it. To be frank, it’s one of the reasons I hate the off season so much. I really should get into NFL Dream Team or something. That should keep me out of trouble with Mrs Sladie this Summer. Anyway, let’s go.

Injuries:  Injuries have always been a pain in the ass for Dream Teamers, especially when it happens to your cash cows or gun players. So nothing’s changed there. But what I think has changed in 2012 and been proven several times this year that with the changes to scoring, if you have an injured Gun, my theory now is that unless they’re out for the long, long term (10 weeks or more) they’re worth keeping for H2H. Simple fact is, a star coming back two weeks early, and blitzing out a big score can mean the difference between being able to afford them again, or having to trade to do so. And we all know how precious trades are.

Always Captain Smith/Parker/Gallen: This falls pretty firmly into the Mistake category for my team this year. Last year I always stuck by this rule. It was fair to say that Smith was scoring a lot better than he is this year, but that aside, I’ve lost 4 games this year in H2H for Summons conference. Three of those weeks I was experimenting with Captain choices. Lesson learnt – The ‘Always Captain Gun’ rule still remains even under the new format.

Finally, I’d like to touch on the issue of Brian Smith. In years gone by, I’ve never really had that many Brian Smith coached players in my Team. This year, I learnt why. As far as Dream Team goes, I think he’s possibly the biggest headache out. You think Shifty plays mind games, but he has nothing on Smith. Constant last minute changes both in and out of team lists and position have created more than a few headaches. I brought in Aubo around Round 8 when he was going great guns, despite not being sold on the idea. Smith then proceeded to shift Aubo on and off the bench, into CTR, out again… safe to say it was nothing short of a nightmare. So my lesson is this – avoid Brian Smith coached players at all costs.

 

The Bench

Here’s the injury toll from Round 20 of the NRL.

C Sironen (Tigers)  – Season.

C Lawrence (Tigers) – 6 Weeks.

T Moltzen (Tigers) – 1 Week at worst.

S Kasiano (Doggies) – 6 Weeks.

T Hodkinson (Doggies) – Season.

J Hayne (Eels) – 4 – 6 weeks.

 

The Ladder

The Ladder in the Summons conference is still wide open, with only Spots 1 and 2 on the ladder locked up. It will be an interesting couple of rounds for DT coaches.

Result from Last Week’s Match Ups were as follows:

Barnes: Laroche Lions, Howling T’Wolves, Raptor, Tiger Terror, 89 Heroes, Fighting Mongooses, Campbelltown_Tiger, Tims Terrorises

Summons:   Woot Woots The 2nd, Sladie’s Tigers, Crank’s Charge, OneEyedTigers, Tiger Terror, Horsehead Bookends, Tiger_1983, Mongrel Magpies,

 

Cheers!

Sladie

2012 – Round 21 – Rabbitohs vs Tigers

Preview:

wests tigers game previewThe Tigers have struggled against the Rabbits in recent years, winning only once in the past five encounters. Souths are just one win away behind the competition leader in third place, and despite missing strike players Luke and Inglis are heavy favourites in this one.

The Tigers have been affected by injuries pretty much all year. Ever since young Tedesco went down 30 minutes into his first grade début in Round 1, we’ve been unable to field a full strength team all year. As the early months rolled on and more injuries were sustained we kept the faith, saying things like “Oh well, better to get the injuries out of the way early in season. We’ll have a full strength team for the finals.” And then Monday night happened. We now have seven first grade players unavailable for this week, with Sironen and Lawrence joining the long term injury list. To say we’re up against it is an understatement. Hopefully Benji doesn’t suffer any setback in his recovery and can take the field as expected. He and Farah will need to be at the top of their game on Sunday.

Apart from the massive injury toll, the frustrating aspect of last week’s loss was that we were still pretty close to pulling off a remarkable win. The Tigers looked really sharp in the first half. Had Heighington grounded the ball for the first try and we were able to maintain possession on key plays when attacking in the Cowboys half, we had a good enough team on the park to get over the line. Unfortunately the high defensive workload took it’s toll late in the second half and handling errors killed our chances.

I was sceptical about South Sydney’s chances at the beginning of the season, but I’ve been impressed with what their new coach Maguire has been able to do with his squad.  In particular the trust and confidence he has instilled in their young halfback Adam Reynolds.  He’s got a big forward pack in front of him, namely Sam Burgess and Dave Taylor, to give him room to work in.  And in the backline he’s got plenty of speed available in the shape of Nathan Merritt and Andrew Everingham to chase down attacking kicks.

The Tigers need to pull a rabbit out of the hat on Sunday, so to speak. Our recent history with Souths is against us. Our current form is against us. Injuries are against us. But damn it if we’ll go down without a fight. The effort we saw on Monday night gives me confidence that our season is not finished yet.

Fortune-Teller:

FTS: South Sydney’s Everingham gets the nod for first try scorer this week.
Margin: When the Tigers played Souths back in Round 5, I tipped against us for the first time in BWTF history. I’d hate to do that again … so I won’t. I’ll back us to win a tight one – Wests by 2.

BWTF Players of the Week:

Players who collected the most votes in each category for Round 20 were:

Best Back/Utility: Utai (58%) [7/12]
Best Forward: Iosefa (30%) [4/13]

Voting for the best forward was spread across six different players. Iosefa beat Fulton by a single vote.

Here’s an update of the BWTF player polls so far:

Best Backs
Ryan (7.5 awards)
Marshall (5.5 awards)
Lawrence (3 awards)
Humble (1 award)
Utai (1 award)

Best Forwards
Woods (7 awards)
Farah (4 awards)
Fulton (2 awards)
Iosefa (2 awards)
Ellis (1 award)
Blair (1 award)
Galloway (1 award)

Links for the Round 21 polls will be posted on Facebook after the delayed Channel 9 broadcast.

<^OneEyedTiger^>

2012 – Round 20 – Cowboys vs Tigers

Preview:

wests tigers game previewThe Wests Tigers travel up to North Queensland with the second best away record in the league (6 wins, 3 loses) but they’ll need to muster a great deal more mental toughness and improved execution on last weeks win to account for the Cowboys tonight.

The biggest concern at the moment is poor defensive lapses, especially on our right edge. Barba and Morris, followed by Mansour and Jennings found plenty of open space down that side of field in the past two weeks. With Kane Linnett scoring five tries in the past four games, including a double against the Storm, the danger signs are obvious. Blake Ayshford will need plenty of help from his inside defenders to contain his opposite centre. And with two of the best back-up players in Bowen and Thurston, their half chances will become tries more often than not.

The loss of Galloway is partially offset by the long-awaited return of Ellis. He played his last game for us back in Round 5 and will be champing at the bit to make the most of his final few months with the Tigers before heading back to the Old Dart. Blair has big shoes to fill in the front row and I’m looking forward to seeing how he copes with the workload and handles the matchup against his Origin-representative opponents in Scott and Tamou.

With the Warriors loss on Saturday, the Tigers can establish a four-point gap between 8th and 9th with a win. With a loss there will be a group of five teams just one win behind us. We beat the Cows 26-18 after Origin II and have won the past five games against them, including the past two played in the ‘Ville. The Tigers will win this, I can just feel it. Fire up, boys!

Fortune-Teller:

FTS: The last time the Cowboys scored the first try of the match was back in Round 15 when they beat the Broncos 12-0. And even then it took them 61 minutes to score their first try. The Tigers have scored first try in each of their last seven games. So I’ll back that trend to continue and select Sironen to open the scoring tonight.
Margin: We’ll learn a lot about our premiership credentials tonight. Tigers by 2 in a high quality thriller (24-22).

BWTF Players of the Week:

Players who collected the most votes in each category for Round 19 were:

Best Back/Utility: Lawrence (66%) [14/21]
Best Forward: Farah (47%) [9/19]

Lawrence has struck some great form, winning the past three Best Back awards in a row.

Here’s an update of the BWTF player polls so far:

Best Backs
Ryan (7.5 awards)
Marshall (5.5 awards)
Lawrence (3 awards)
Humble (1 award)

Best Forwards
Woods (7 awards)
Farah (4 awards)
Fulton (2 awards)
Ellis (1 award)
Blair (1 award)
Galloway (1 award)
Iosefa (1 award)

Links for the Round 20 polls will be posted on Facebook after full-time tonight.

<^OneEyedTiger^>

The Starting 17 – Mistakes, I’ve Made a Few

uncategorizedWe inch ever closer to the Finals for the NRL Dream Team 2012 Competition. I’m not sure about all of you, but I’ve already commenced my 12 week councelling program which I will no doubt need after the regular NRL season, and my inability to trade eats away at my sanity. So let’s have a bit of a look at the year that’s been.

The Scrum

No doubt that everyone makes some mistakes in Dream Team, no matter how experienced of a campaigner you are. I made headlines over on Lone Scout’s weekly wrap this week for my biggest mistake of the year – Trading out Konrad Hurrell to keep Jerome Ropati. At the time, Ropati was playing and had scored a 40 or two, and Hurrell looked to be out of favour. Literally within the next week, Hurrell started blitzing it and Ropati got a season ending injury. With trades becomes a scarcity, I couldn’t afford to spend the precious trade to bring Hurrell back in.

At the time it seemed like a decent judgement call, but that single mistake cost me a few losses (which have all been narrow). Despite this, I still managed to put a score on against Woot Woot the 2nd’s, after being challenged for the title of weekly DT Guru on the Summons results page. Bragging aside, I thought it would be important to reflect on the season that has been, and what we have learnt going into the 2013 season now that we are use to the new scoring system. This week is the first of two weeks that I will look at mistakes and lessons from 2012.

Team Structure –  In my second year of Dream Team, under the old scoring structure, I took the approach of ‘spreading my money evenly’ in team creation. Back when having a stacked 2RF and two good hookers was the definite recipe for success. Needless to say, it wasn’t a great season for me. Under this scoring system however, spreading your money has it’s definite rewards in selecting a new team. I still think having a ‘Keeper Captain’ is vital at the start of each season, but next year I will be looking to spend more money than I would have in previous years on good CTR, WFB and HLF options as well.

Upgrades – With the new structure, more than ever it is important to ensure that when making a trade, you want a proven track record. William Zillman’s 106 proves just how scores can fluctuate depending upon good or bad performances. Obviously the rule is different for cash cows, but otherwise, consistency is still a valuable factor. Do you want a 19 average with capacity for a 106 once a season, or a J Lyon, who consistently scores 45 or so or better? Don’t trade someone in just because of one good week.

Leaving your trades to the last minute – One of the Summons Conference’s stronger teams of late is Crank’s Charge. Last weekend, Scott made a rookie mistake and reversed his trades after making a realisation. This reverse meant that the team was restored back to how it was at the start of the round, with several key players sitting on the bench. Reverse trades is a new concept this year and one I am very thankful for, but if you think you might use it, it’s probably best to do so before 7.25PM Friday night.

So what has your biggest mistake of the year been? We’re all friends here, so spill the beans in the comments below!

The Bench

Here are the injuries from last Round.
D Halatau (Bulldogs) – Season.
D Copley (Broncos – 5 Weeks.
K Stanley (Dragons) – Season.
Luke Kelly (Eels) – Seaon.
M Duffie (Storm) – 6 Weeks.
K Galloway (Tiges) – 3 Weeks.

The Ladder

Here are the winners from last week’s H2H Match Ups.

Barnes: Metalliger, Laroche Lions, Raport, TooMuchWeight, Sportsmad, Westmagpies, Fighting Mongooses, Campbelltown Tiger.
Summons: Horsehead Bookends, Sladie’s Tigers, Tiger Terror, Cobydog, Mongrel Magpies, Yo Mamas, KTSRaptors, OneEyedTigers.

Have a great weekend all!
Sladie