In past years, I have made mistakes that cost me in finals. This is a mistake that I have seen countless others do as well. I cannot stress enough, the importance of quality bench support when it comes to finals. This year especially, SuperCoach players were crippled during the final series.
I myself, had player such as Tom Stewart, Shannon Hurn, Callum Mills, Andrew Brayshaw, Scott Pendlebury, and Jack Ziebell all fall to either injury, management or suspension when it mattered most. However, I still managed to limp through to grand final’s and even scrape a couple of wins in my two main leagues as well.
Who do I thank of these wins? During the season, it was all about getting the big scorers such as Clayton Oliver or Marcus Bontempelli on the field but prior to the finals, these weren’t the guys I was paying attention to. I knew that I needed support, quality support from players who played every week, just in case these stars fell.
When trades start to run out, carrying an injured player with 0’s in reserve, can seriously cost you in the finals. In one of my leagues, I beat a friend who dominated all year. His side at 100% full strength was better than anyone else’s in my league but he didn’t prevail. In fact, he didn’t even make grand final, as he couldn’t weather the storm of rested, injured and suspended players.
However, someone like me, that only trades in rookies who I think will feature during SuperCoach finals, bested him and everyone else. Players such as Brandon Walker, Trent Bianco, Matthew Parker, Jai Newcombe, Luke Edwards, Finlay Macrae, Josh Treacy and Jack Ginnivan all played while others didn’t.
These guys may not have scored 100-120 points but their scores were vital. For example, my 27-point Grand Final victory couldn’t have happened without Bianco’s 28-point score. My narrow victories in both my Prelim and Grand Final’s, couldn’t have taken place without Walker scoring two of his best three scores ever.
I have been caught out in previous years. Trading down in order to trade up others and enter finals with an incredible team. I still did that this year however, if these players who you trade down to are not playing, you’re taking a very big risk. It’s important to have that bench support. If even one of my fallen players were left uncovered, 2021 would have resulted in a disappointing finish. Now though, I have bragging rights for the next 6 months (Again. Back-to-back!) at the office (in the important work league) and amongst my friends (the main league. Back-to-back as well!).