SC expert, commentator, 2x top 350 overall finisher
February 4, 2024
Chances are, if you’ve played NRL SuperCoach Draft before, you already know how great it is. And if you’re new to it 1) you’re in for a treat and 2) this article is for you.
Beyond the unique ownership of players, Draft is true head-to-head SuperCoach which creates banter and folklore amongst your mates.
So if it’s your first season, or you’re just after a refresher, here’s how you can prepare and win your draft.
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Unlike NRL Classic where everyone is dealing with squads of 25 players, the options to customize each draft league are endless.
Knowing the specifics is essential for your planning and can help you get an advantage over others. Some of the factors which can be customised:
Captains or no captains: much like Classic, you can play Cs and VCs each week, however a lot of leagues like to turn this off. Knowing what you’re playing can change your approach to evaluating talent – you may be more likely to look for consistency over upside if you aren’t playing captains.
Squad sizes: draft can be done with full squads, or customised. I play in a league where squads are 13 players deep – 9 on field and 4 on the bench. We have one player at each position, with an extra 2RF and CTW. Knowing things like I will only need one FRF helps me prioritise the positions of greatest value in my draft.
Know when your draft is: getting your actual draft as close to the start of the season is best as it will give you the chance to learn from the trials about different players. If that’s not possible and you’re drafting early, you’ll need to consider that when assessing talent.
Finals format: the biggest advantage you can take into player assessments is knowing your finals structure, e.g. what weeks constitute your finals. There are 27 rounds of SuperCoach this season, but knowing the last week of the season can have mass restings, most leagues will set their finals up in week 26. Looking ahead to your finals match-ups and knowing whose got a good or bad opposition team can help you make decisions between choosing players. For example, in Round 26 Souths play Panthers in Penrith and Manly play Bulldogs at Accor so straight away I am thinking as two evenly matched talents, I would take Turbo over Latrell to give me better chance of winning my finals.
Bye rounds: some draft leagues can turn these off, or play them with reduced amount of guys on field. Being conscious of this is huge for ensuring that in those three major bye rounds you can grab three wins.
Waivers: each Tuesday evening, waivers will open and allow you to trade out dead wood for free agents. Your waiver order can either be based on ladder position or ‘priority’ which means once you waiver you go to the back of the queue. Understanding this should determine your weekly approach to free agents.
There’s plenty more things which can be customised, but being familiar with the game you’re playing can give you a huge advantage.
Rankings are everything when it comes to draft, so assessing players is crucial to making sure you nail your draft night.
Once you’ve signed up for a draft comp you’ll be given a ‘pre-draft’ board.
This is an awesome place for you to finalise your rankings, but in order to do that you’ll need to think deeply about each position.
In a 12-man league, I recommended compiling a ‘Top 12’ for each position.
Depending on your league size and the amount of players per position, your list may be bigger or smaller.
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But ranking players pre-draft will help ensure that under the pressure of the clock on draft night, you can be clear of mind.
There’s a ton of factors to consider and we’ll go into this in other articles later in the pre-season, but in general the real ‘pros’ know that Finals strength of schedule is critical to splitting the potential guys on the board.
Once you’ve got your rankings per position, get them into a ‘Top 30’ on your pre-draft board.
The first three picks are all about grabbing the best talent available, so knowing who that is will get you off to the best start.
To nail a draft, you’ve got to be fluid and react to what is happening in your league.
But having a general plan of attack for your first few picks is crucial to ensure you’re going to end up satisfied at the end of it all.
As a general rule of thumb, my strategy is as follows:
Picks 1-3: find the best available talent at FLB, 2RF and in the spine.
Every other pick: fill the remaining positions in my side, and chasing either upside or consistency pending on who I’ve landed in picks 1-3.
Don’t overreach for a FRF, HOK or five-eigth. If a stud is on the board, then go ahead and pick them, but in general the depth of these positions is so poor that I’ll prioritise getting the best available players at HFB, CTW and 2RF over them.
Step 4) Have fun
Draft is life. And regardless of how your season starts on draft night, you’ve now got a whole season of H2H match-ups, trades and waivers to keep you engaged. Cannot wait to see how your draft goes!