The AFL has officially announced a round 0, or opening round, which will be a round that’s played by 8 AFL clubs prior to round 1. These teams will then have a bye week sometime between rounds 2-6, which means by round 7, all teams would have played the same amount of games. Richmond, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney, Carlton, Greater Western Sydney, Collingwood, and Brisbane, will all be competing in this round.
This sounds like a lot of fun, and something different for AFL fans, but for SuperCoach or AFL Fantasy players, this can be an issue. The main issue is that we will not know which rookies are likely to play the following week when round 1 begins, for the other 10 AFL teams not playing in the opening round.
In addition, there are 6 games where 8 teams need to have a bye week, which means that in at least two weeks, two teams will be sitting out from round 0. If the SuperCoach app treats these byes like they do the mid-season bye weeks, then the top 18 scorers will make for your weekly numbers. However, this will be an issue if you have double-downed on teams like Gold Coast or Carlton.
Especially, if they both miss out on the same week. Players will need to consider the differences between doubling down on too many round 0 players, an even spread or having none. There are pros and cons for selecting no round 0 players but I’m not enough of a man to test how that plays out. However, this does make me second-guess starting both Touk Miller and Matt Rowell, which is what I was previously considering.
Both of these players will miss out in the weeks to come between rounds 2-6. Furthermore, if you add Sam Walsh as a POD, Nick Daicos and Brodie Grundy to that mix, you could potentially have 5 PODs missing in a very short space of time early in your season. Furthermore, this means that we will likely see price changes in round 2 for certain players.
Doubling down on rookies or risky picks in round 0 means that these players may have price changes earlier than the rest of the competition. Timing these could be crucial to maximising your upgrading and cash generation in the early weeks. I have a feeling that the SuperCoach players who get round 0 right will have an incredible advantage over the rest of the competition.
Until the full 2024 AFL fixture is released, and SuperCoach’s strategy to combat these early byes is announced, it’s hard to plan accordingly. However, I hope this article helps you start to think about what to look for when planning your early byes.