Strategy Focus: How to attack your Round 1 squad

2021 AFL SuperCoach overall runner-up Steve Nikolovski takes a look at how to strategically approach your sides for the new season.

AFL Key Analysis Pre Season

There’s plenty of thought required when picking your starting lineup, it will literally make or break your season.

You don’t want to be correcting poor decisions, you want to be slowly improving your team, week in week out by improving that 22nd player on your field, until there’s none left.

The best way to do this is by nailing your rookies come round 1 and guarantee yourself cash flow.

But, you’ll need to do your research and watch some practice matches. Don’t just believe what you read on Twitter. Here’s some other things to consider when building your side for round 1.

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This is important. Identify what the hardest line is, especially for rookies and cash flow, and put more premiums there.

Last year I started with four premiums in defence, and may do this again this year as the rookies look iffy.

Guns and rookies

My go to strategy, especially for the midfield where the big points are.

The aim of the game is to be ‘full premo’ as fast as possible.

Starting more premiums helps with this, but you must hit your rookies. Don’t dive too deep in the following section…

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Mid-price madness

I’m all for a gamble, just ask my wife, just not too many, maybe one in each line max.

Back yourself if you strongly believe someone will break out. It will be a massive boost for your ranking if you get it right.

But if you don’t, trading is hard due to the price point and you’ll probably end up with another mid-pricer, and the cycle starts again. This leads us to…

Risk profile

You don’t want too many risks with your starting team.

The saying goes, you can’t win the major prize in week 1, but you can definitely lose it.

I was around 3,000th place after round 1 last season. This means not too many mid-pricers and not too many injury prone players.


There’s nothing wrong with following the pack and picking players just because they are popular. There’s generally a reason they are.

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Bye strategy

Ideally you want a low number of premiums missing in round 12, a little more in round 13, and a little more again in round 14.

Write it all out, it will help. Can’t decide between two players? Looking at your bye strategy may solve it for you.

Rule changes

There’s two types, AFL rule changes, happens every year (sigh) and Supercoach rule changes, very rare, but we have them this year! Read more here

The ones that stuck out for me are:

1) Umpires paying more holding the ball decisions this year, hello Touk Miller and Jack Steele.

2) Five extra trades with the ability to boost. This will come in handy at round 3 when prices start fluctuating and during the byes where we can use four at once, or if there’s a must double downgrade one week meaning you can still do one up.

3) Player positions. This season after round 6, 12 and 18 the brains trust at Supercoach HQ will determine if any players get a new position.

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This comes with 35% game time in said position. The likes of Rowan Marshall may get forward status, or Danger or Gawn! Very much watch this space for changes as this is huge and may help us build our forward lines especially.

I don’t expect many as 35% is no small number, but I hope I’m wrong.

Good luck! We all need it and a big reason I did so well last year.

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