Want to get the best out of your draft? Follow these five tips from Fletcher Pritchard and you will be well on your way.
1. Do your research
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You should also check out the player profiles on TheBench which give you a great break down on forwards involvements such as runs and tackles.
2. Shortlist around six player per round
Using the old school pen and paper or a Word Document, put around six players in preferential order for each round. Just secretly it wouldn’t hurt to put an outsider in your little black book for a tactical selection or to perhaps throw your franchise foes off! Make sure you cross each player out as they are selected.
3. Run potential scenarios when planning
The absolute worst thing is for someone to select your intended player the pick before yours; being “on the clock” is an extremely stressful ordeal especially if you’re involved in an express draft of two minute picks or less. Prepare your plan B or plan C’s so you can make a quick justifiable selection.
4. Separate each playing group
As a good rule of thumb you should separate each playing ground into the following:
a) Adlib players
Adlib players within a “Big Three” can be super powerful – see Shaun Johnson, Issac Luke and Roger-Tuivasa Sheck.
An adlib style play amongst a spine is one of the most potentially exciting things to watch (OR watching stats tick over). These three guys will largely complement each other when the Warriors are having a field day. I strongly recommend you look at Adlib teams when considering picking a reduced spine.
b) Ball playing fullbacks
Pencil in Matt Moylan, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Brett Stewart in as the guys to consider when selecting your No.1 in attempt to maximise your team’s try assist value.
One or two points could just be the difference in winning or losing and although a player like James Tedesco may score a few tries a ball playing fullback will score little almost every week and then could also score a try or more.
From my opinion picking a James Tedesco or Josh Dugan would only be a consideration if you have a strong central spine in the following variation or similar combination:
i) Adlib or attacking five-eighth (such as Blake Austin or Anthony Milford)
A Pivot that you believe has orders to just “go for it” for the most part and not have to engage in too much of the organisation facet.
ii) Johnathon Thurston or structured halfback
A structured #7 like Adam Reynolds or the brilliance of JT is likely to tally some points at least most weeks definitely steer clear (if possible) of spine positions from the bottom teams.
iii) A Hooker who plays 80 and tackles like a demon
Selecting Damien Cook, James Segeyaro or Issac Luke wouldn’t be a recommendation on workload consistency if you have Teddy in your side, You will want a maximum number of points from your spine each week and be able to win consistently in a strong competition.
d) Forward pack
In picking your forward pack it’s strongly urged that you have 90% defensive thinking as workhorses from the usual suspects will be the most consistent scorers in your team.
Select minimal attacking forwards as a low volume of workload in defence will require them to score tries or set them up which is likely to end in disappointment and consistency issues. I’d generally rule out picking Chris Grevsmuhl, Jason Taumalolo or Martin Taupau as they are examples of these players.
Players such as Sam Burgess and Ben Matulino are what I call absolute musts as they generally make over 50 offloads in one season and some of them are bound to be try assists.
e) The three-quarter line
These are usually the easiest picks of each draft as they don’t need a whole lot of thought in selection consideration.
Semi Radradra, Alex Johnston, James Roberts, Curtis Rona are wish list lock ins for everyone. It’s just a matter of getting in first. But I’d recommend you make a list of a likely starting wing/centre combination of each team picking four players from different sides.
Picking one outside back or two from a different struggling sides could reap dividends outside of the obvious players; just ask Nathan Merritt!
I wouldn’t frown upon a selection of a particular right or left side combination that is likely to exist but this will limit your points during Origin and bye rounds which is my next agenda.
As tempting as it might be picking a large quantity of players from the side you support you will be left short big time during a bye week.
As for Origin consider avoiding a large chunk of players from a strong club and individuals who are likely to gain selection (Brisbane and North Queensland are classic examples of this).
So there you have it. Five tips to a great drafting strategy. Best of luck to all the CEOs out there.