The Oracle has Spoken

Over at there was a fascinating article where the optimal team of 2017 was posted.

The team smashed the competition leader by 9,659 points (averaging 2,633 points per round). Before you get too excited, the author used an optimisation algorithm to find the team which only works on a known set of data. In other words, it’s like reading out yesterday’s lotto numbers; it can’t help you predict next weeks draw.

I believe that there are still some lessons to be learned from the team. In particular, what starting team structure was used.


Round 1 Team


Taylor Adams ($622,000) Rory Laird ($584,000) Dylan Roberton ($421,000) Nic Newman ($150,000)
Andrew McGrath ($250,000) Caleb Marchbank ($205,000) Curtly Hampton ($204,000) Andy Otten ($150,000)


Zach Merrett ($710,000) Tom Rockliff ($704,000) Dayne Zorko ($640,000) Tom Mitchell ($638,000) Hugh Greenwood ($150,000)
Andrew Gaff ($564,000) Dyson Heppell ($548,000) Marc Murphy ($482,000) Clayton Oliver ($416,000) Jake Barrett ($150,000)


Matthew Kreuzer ($431,000) Jarrod Witts ($328,000) Braydon Preuss ($150,000) Ivan Soldo ($150,000)


Elliot Yeo ($477,000) Charlie Cameron ($402,000) Jeremy Cameron ($386,000) Ryan Burton ($260,000)
Alex Neal-Bullen ($255,000) Will Hoskin-Elliott ($230,000) Mitch Hannan ($160,000) Dan Houston ($150,000)


< 200k $200k-300k $300k-400k $400k-500k $500k-600k $600k-700k > $700k


Overall Strategy

There are two major camps when it comes to over-all team make up; Guns and Rookies, and Mid-Priced Mayhem. I’ve traditionally been in the Guns and Rookies camp; rookies make the most money, and I’m always looking to maximize the rate of growth so that I can and hopefully ‘complete’ the team as early as I can. The other camp focus on Mid-Priced players who rely on greater points scored over rookies to propel them up the overall ladder early. There’s arguably lower risk as mid-priced players also tend to have better job security. My issue with Mid-Priced Mayhem is that every year there are many hyped mid-priced players who never make it. For a rookie their basement price means there isn’t anywhere else for them to go up but up in price.

No matter which camp you’re in, there is a tendency to stack as many premiums as you can fit into the team – as that’s where your points come from and puts you one player closer to team completion. And the fascinating thing about the optimal team is that there are only two uber-premium players (Zach Merrett and Tom Rockcliff) and three players above $600,000 (Dayne Zorko, Tom Mitchell and Taylor Adams). This is fewer than many coaches with a pure Guns and Rookies focus, and instead there is a little bit more paid on rookies with nearly all on-field rookies above the $200,000 mark. The team also stacks value around the mid-fielders and preserving money elsewhere.

When reading about the trading strategy of the team, it appears that most money growth doesn’t come from trading in rookies, but rather side-ways trading. The issue I have with this is that it’s difficult to know with enough certainty who is about to have a multiple game break-out without a crystal ball. So trading in rookies is a fail-safe approach since they’re already at basement prices. What it does go to show that the rookies traded in later in the year are generally less capable than the rookies named for round 1.

So what are your thoughts? What structure are you thinking about for the 2018 competition? Please leave a comment below.