Spy Talk: Proposed 2024 rule changes.

2021 91st overall, the SC Spy, takes a deep dive into the potential 2024 NRL SuperCoach rule changes that could further improve the game


Footy fans!!

With a new baby in the household, it means less podcasts in the short term so it’s back to the old pen and paper/laptop/type writer depending what room of the Spy Cave I’m in.

This week I’ve decided to get dot down a few proposed changes I have been pondering for a while to the already great game of Supercoach. For what it’s worth, I wrote this before ol’ Timmo spoke about it on the podcast and stole his mate Spy’s ideas so I will build on that after updating this intro!   

In terms of the game of SC, I don’t think it needs much changing, in fact I think it’s near perfect but here is what I think could make it better.

As always this is a good discussion point and we can tinker as needed to perfect the below and hopefully get them introduced next season if the consensus is positive. If you disagree, no dramas at all! Each individual may differ a little.

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Rule 1

Auto Emergency replacement for late weekend outs, HIAs & Injuries – (18/19/20th man model)

I think this is the biggest issue that’s leads to a lot of disappointment and negativity and needs a total overhaul. Some will argue that loopholes can be exploited but hey, if you are good enough to this then fair play. What I really hate is the classic example of having a good weekend underway and a player goes down early and you are stuck with 4 points and no chance at any additional points. The same situation would be this occurring early in the week say a Thursday night and the hope of a big weekend disappears into ‘what could have been’. It’s so disheartening and given we try to replicate real coaches in Supercoach the question would be why don’t we get a replacement like they do? For example, if Penrith lose Cleary in the 23rd minute they don’t play with 12 people for the rest of the game, they bring someone off the bench to play for him. That player likely won’t be as good but they get a shot still.

The above could result from injury or HIAs (not send offs/sins bins they are should be negative) and I don’t have a specific minute total in mind but if a player is ruled out in say the first half of a match then in my opinion you should be able to get a replacement and you either get their score OR the score of the player who was ruled out (whoever was highest). This is important because if Cleary scores say 75 in 23 minutes then you don’t really want a replacement score of 30 given your first selected has already done the damage. I don’t really care about trying to determine if a player has been hooked or injured. This is pretty rare and doesn’t often impact SC starting players.

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The other issue I really don’t like is when a Supercoach Team has great squad depth but it gets to Sunday and you look at your side and realise that if any of your last 3 or 4 players don’t play then you are stuck with a dud Auto Emergency because your 5-6 other good players who could replace them on the bench have already played earlier the weekend. Essentially you are in the same position as someone with only 1 backup player and its pure luck as to what stage of the weekend you might have a late out.

To clarify what I am saying here, let’s say you were to lose player X before a Thursday/Friday night game you can easily flip him to another player who hasn’t played yet but if you were to lose say that same player a week later on a Sunday afternoon game you will find that you may not have anyone to replace him with as the options have already played. Very frustrating if you have the depth to cover as the ability to replace someone doesn’t come down to squad depth but rather time of the game.

Example – If you have 4 of your non players lining up in the Thursday night game they the same value as someone who will never get named to play as you cant do anything with them across the weekend. Alternatively if those 4 players play the Sunday 4pm game you are covered from late out for the whole weekend. Time of game shouldn’t be a factor in ability to cover injuries/outs.

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How would it work?

Quite simply you would pre select your AEs in order of preference much like the widely popular Fantasy Premier League. You would set your 18th, 19th and 20th man (outside of your playing 17) for the weekend and they would come in as your AE in that order as required for late outs and early HIAs/Injuries. I can guarantee it would take away the heartache stories and also reward squads with depth. It also means that more casual players could go about their weekend without having to check team lists and update their sides because anyone who doesn’t end up playing after being named initially can be replaced by your 18th/19th man. This would lead to more people staying active and not getting the sh*ts/losing interest. You can still alter the 18th/19th/20th men as the weekend goes if you wish or just leave it.

Maybe there is an amended version of this that is even better but the idea should be pretty clear and I really think it should happen!

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Rule 2

Try assists x2

This would save so much angst and frankly give credit to players who deserve it.

Currently only 1 try assist is awarded for tries through the hands and the sweeping player gets priority (except sometimes on a magic catch and quick pass from the man outside the sweeper). Why not give a second try assist to the inside man who goes to the line and creates the space & cops the hit? Essentially the sweeper can still get their assist as they need to time their run and execute so that’s all fine and nothing changes there but if a player who passes them the ball creates the overlap, then they should also be credited in my opinion. It also saves controversy of who gets the assist. Noting I am still comfortable that a non sweeping centre who catches it in a 2-on-1 sitiuation runs a few steps and passes still misses out.

Examples I would use on the try assist front are below.

See SJ to Rocco Berry against Canberra it was one of the balls of the year for mine to pick apart the up and in defence and he ended up with 4 points for it. Rocco did sweep I’m ok with him also getting it but it’s a classic case for mine where 2 assists should be credited.  The other one is the number of times the inside player puts a sweeping FB into space as discussed above. Whether they also get the LBA assist can be debated but they deserve 12 for a try assist at a minimum rather then only 4. See Cody below.

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The first try of these highlights Cody would miss out on as the Bunnies player swept – The ball from Cody is magic

SJ to Berry (sweeper)

Outside of that it think the game is bloody great. My main thing is not getting destroyed/disheartened due to early injuries/HIAs/late outs because in real sport the coach gets to replace them so we should as well in my opinion.  

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Rule 3

Finally, a few scoring suggestions for discussion

  1. 1 on 1 strips = 5 points (Same as an intercept)
  2. Line Break Assist = 10 points (up from 8)
  3. Line Break = 12 (up from 10)
  4. Field goals doubled. Most of these win matches. I’d go from 5-10 for a FG and 10-20 for a 40+ FG which we rarely see. That’s the same as a Try Assist / Line Break.

The LB & LBA currently sees 8 or 10 which relative to a TB and offload netting a player 7-8 points including the run is surely unders. I think a LBA/LB deserves a little bit more love albeit not dramatic.

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  • Possibly something around running metres for forwards… I do think forward deserves some extra recognition. Some bonus points for 40+ and 50+ tackles would be great!
  • And finally my new stat – 2 extra points for a sideline conversion. It would add a heap of extra excitement and reward the tough kicks! It could be any kick within 10m of the touch line as per the line markings on the field to make it black and white or simply a judgement call of anywhere in close proximity to the sideline (say 1-5 metres). We all know what a sideline conversion is. Probably using the line makes sense!

Let the discussions begin!

4 Responses to “Spy Talk: Proposed 2024 rule changes.”

  1. Spaneetie

    Lovely work Spy. The only one I am against is the AE overhaul. For me injuries/HIA’s while disappointing are fair. Anyone can cop em. Swings and roundabouts. You get one one week and dodge em another. Just my opinion. Happy to be shouted down 😀

  2. leewhiting

    Love the 18,19,20th man rule.
    Love 2 x try assist (less whinging)
    Not sure of more attacking points for attacking player as id love more points for the guys that do all the work for most of the game only to score 60 when 2 moments in a game and a back gets 100.

    Love your work spy get in Sangstas ear

  3. magpies4eva007

    G’day Spy.
    1. Extra AE’s.
    By placing a minute value that activates an AE I think complicates the issue. If you say it activates at the 25 minute mark what happens if your players gets ruled out at the 26th minute? One getting an AE and one not doesn’t really solve the issue. It’s still unfair to the 26th minute player.
    In NFL Sportsdeck you get an AE for each player group. For SC it would mean an AE for each of Hkr, Frf, 2rf, half, 5/8, ctw and Fb. But that only covers late outs and not injury affected players.
    I think the easiest way to implement a system similar to yours would be to adopt a “best 17” score from 21 players selected. Firstly it should be easy to implement because SC already has a best 13 system for the bye rounds. You would think it would be just a simple tweak. Secondly, it alleviates the arbitrary “minute” trigger point. It’s still unfair whether it be 25 minutes or 30 minutes. So if your player goes out at the 32nd minute you would get a best score from your bench. Thirdly, the ‘minute” trigger gets complicated if a player comes off the bench eg; if Grant comes off the bench at the 20th minute then gets injured in the 43rd minute. Not sure if the SC system would be able to cope with multiple trigger points for different players.
    Of course the alternate view is that injuries are part and parcel of the game and nothing should change. But a best 17 system would keep players more interested in playing the game instead of dropping out.
    2. Double TA’s.
    I agree with this change. So often you see a half back or 5/8 work magic on the inside but receives at best a try contribution or more often nothing when it goes through hands for the winger to score. Their expertise and skill need to be better recognised because without their silky moves the try would not have been scored.
    3. Scoring changes.
    I don’t have a problem for any of the changes but would like to add one.
    Given the newfound fondness of short drop outs I would like to see some points for bo th the kicker and the defending receiver if they regain the ball from the drop out.
    4. Finally, there really needs to be change to account for resting in R27. It is commonplace for this to happen each year in the NFL and is really frustrating for the SC player.
    The SC winner should be the person who exhibits the most skill over the 27 rounds and not be penalised for something that is totally outside their control. They amended H2H finals to alleviate this problem but I would argue it is even more important to amend the system when $50k is on the table.
    If the NRL do not implement a bye round before finals then the simplest way to alleviate the issue is to utilise the “best 13” system for R27.
    Thank you to all the team for the content and effort put in during the year. Your podcasts and articles are invaluable and a joy each week.
    Enjoy the off season. I’m off to NFL fantasy now but will be back here next season.
    Michael B

  4. nathancramb

    Agree a lot with rule #1
    Although I would go a step further and lock out trades at the start of the round similar to the fantasy premier league. Everyone acts on the same amount of information and sets their AE priority lists accordingly

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