Final rank: 1,489.
Lower than I'd hoped after my first ever top 1,000 finish last year, so let's see if I can pinpoint what worked and what didn't.
Season wrap - trades
Haas Tapine Ford
Teddy Warbrick Miller
Hopgood E Butcher Garner Boyd
Doorey AKP Talau Katoa
Mostly, I'm happy with these selections in hindsight. Talau and HSS turned out to be duds, but you're always gonna get a couple of those among the cheapies, so be it. Garner and E Butcher didn't work out, but if you gave me the option again I'd still pick a starting Panthers second rower for 413k - a case of fine process, bad outcome for imo. With Egan Butcher I can probably learn from reading too much into a small sample size, although I do think it was a reasonable risk to take. I regret starting with Teddy and Tapine, in hindsight starting with a gun WFB instead of a gun hooker was an error. Picking Teddy just because he had the Dolphins and Warriors first up was shortsighted. There was plenty of value at WFB in Sloan/Perham/CNK et al without having to get a gun. Tapine made sense as a pick, but I think I was guilty of just cherrypicking his stats a bit, my justification for getting him earlier in the thread was: "Priced at 55, averaged 63 when he played 50+ minutes last year - he should be the man in this pack with Papa injured and getting on, and Elliott moving on. Don't see who else plays those minutes but who knows with Sticky." Learnings so far:
- Avoid starting with a gun WFB unless there's no other option - especially if the justification for it is a good draw.
- Be careful extrapolating too much from small sample sizes.
- Be careful cherrypicking stats (i.e. getting Tapine based on what he did in 50+ minute games last year, rather than over the course of the full season)
Round 1: Garner to Cartwright. Good trade, big tick. I arguably could have been more aggressive using both trades here, given I was ranked 43114 after the first two rounds.
Round 2: E Butcher to Preston. Good trade. Cheese to Cook. Unfortunately, I significantly overpaid for Cook as it turns out, bought him for 930k in R3 and sold him for 700k in R16. I don't know if there's all that much I can learn from that given he'd started the season well with a 68 and 57 and there were no obvious signs he was about to bleed cash, but a huge sliding doors moment getting Cook instead of Grant here. An unfortunate case of following a decent process for a bad outcome I think.
Round 3: Doueihi to SJ. Getting SJ in for just 646k was one of the bargains of the season in hindsight. Good trade, tick.
Round 4: Doorey to Lemuelu. Good trade overall, but I should have been more agressive and made this trade a week earlier when Doorey's minutes dropped from 70-odd to 50-odd and he needed a try just to get 29.
Round 5: HSS to Kodi. Tick, good trade. Cartwright to Hosking. I'm fine with the decision to jump off Carty when he was benched, even if it was premature in hindsight. Getting Hosking two rounds after his 94 was panicky in hindsight, I either had to get him the week after or not at all. I could have gotten Horse for cheaper this round - massive sliding doors moment.
Round 6: Hopgood to Walsh, Warbrick to Cheese. I know it looks a bit silly in hindsight, but I'm still fine with the decision to sell Hopgood after he got benched, went down to 52 minutes and only put up a 39. At the time I needed to sure up my WFB as I'd copped an 11 and 12 from Warbrick and AKP the previous round with Teddy on the bye. I arguably overpaid for Walsh in hindsight and was a bit reactive getting him off the back of a 64 against the Raiders. Ended up owning him from here to R18, during which time he averaged 45 and made 79k. Not a terrible trade, but not a great one either. Getting Cheese back, I don't even know what to say. It looked alright for a second when he went on a run of 44, 60, 42, 52, 40. Then he's benched for a 18 against the Dragons. Bastard. We'll probably all start with him again next year.
Round 8: No trades.
Round 9: Katoa, AKP, Talau to Bula, Manu, Granville. First two trades get big ticks, can't complain with getting Bula and Manu in even if they were fairly obvious trades. Granville a funny one - I made 98k off him so not a complete disaster, but I probably should have been more aggressive in trying to make cash and traded Talau much sooner.
R10: Preston to Luki. This was just silly in hindsight - I panicked because Preston had lost a whopping 6k that week and I thought he'd peaked and didn't play R13. In hindsight he was averaging around 50, played R16 and 19, and still had a perfectly achievable BE of 59. Luki was a rollercoaster to own and not the fun kind. This was a forced trade, the kind you end up regretting when you're playing with 14 in R27.
Round 11: Ford to Robson. Ford was injured and had to be sold, Robson was in solid form and played R13 and 16. It made sense on paper. Couldn't have foreseen that Robson would miss R16 through Origin and his scoring would fall off an absolute cliff. Bought him at 702k and he finished the season at 555k. I think this one is just a bit unlucky rather than being an outright bad trade though.
Round 12: Hosking to Hedwards. Hosking had peaked, Edwards looked the goods and was a popular buy. Was meant to play R16 and 19 but ended up playing neither. Unfortunately, this just goes down as another missed opportunity where I could have pivoted to the still underpriced Hors for the same price as Hosking. I think this is another one where the trade wasn't necessarily bad, and made sense on paper, but I could have made a better trade.
R13: Cheese, Loiero, Miller, Boyd to Tohu, Hopgood, Bird Ponga. I think these are all good trades that I'd make again if given the chance. Ponga and Tohu were both underpriced, Hopgood back starting and pumping out big scores, and Bird looked like the gun centre to own. Just bad luck that he immediately got injured, not much you can do about that.
R14: Kodi, Bird, Katoa to iPap, DEdwards, Oloapu. In hindsight, I could have held onto Kodi longer and probably should have gotten Bateman instead of iPap, but I think those really are only points you could have known with hindsight - it was a coinflip at the time, so another case of decent process for a bad outcome. Oloapu we probably all got a bit overexcited about, but he seemed like a decent enough punt to make a bit of cash and play R16 and 19 (not). Who could have foreseen him getting shifted to lock of all things? The big one is obviously getting DEdwards for 742k when I could have gotten Drinkwater for 599. Another massive sliding doors moment. What can I learn from it? I probably should have looked closer at his scoring. From memory he was the top averaging WFB at the time (or close to) and he played R16 so great, but I should have paid more attention to the massive outlier that was his 4-try 98.
R15: Cleary to Moses, Granville to Fainu. The wheels are starting to fall off here. Trading Cleary obviously a fine move with his injury, getting Moses for R16 and 19 made sense, but then the curveball origin selection. Unlucky I think, although I probably should have taken the rumours of his selection a tad more seriously. Granville to Fainu I don't know what I was thinking. Granville had peaked, but trading to Fainu was just a panic move - compounded by forgetting to check late mail to see Fainu was benched! Should have just worn the cash loss from Granville and waited for a better cow. Another one where I look back and think that trade would have been really handy instead of playing with 14 in the last round.
R16: Cook, Moses, HEdwards, Alamoti to Turpin, Hynes, Penis, NAS. Trading Moses straight back out hurts, but I'm glad I did that rather than compounding the error trying to hold onto him. Cook to Turpin worked out fairly well, got 111k out of him so fine. Alamoti to Penis a bit disappointing - Penis only averaged 35.9 while I owned him, should have paid more attention to his scoring with vs without Moses. HEdwards to NAS was a bit of a panic move when NAS was a late out, although owning him wasn't a total disaster with two big scores to follow, and I'd rather be aggressive and make that trade than not I think.
R17: Luki and Oloapu to Grant and Kris. Not much to say about either of these, both good trades that I'd happily make again. Tick.
R18: Walsh to Blore, Fainu to Simpkin. Walsh suspended and had to go, Blore was a last ditch punt to make a bit more cash - got 96k out of him so not a total disaster, but not fantastic either. I think most of us got on Simpkin around now, similar story, made 100k so not a disaster of a trade, but not great either.
R19: Turpin to Munro. Can't really complain about this, I knew it was a one week punt with a decent chance of turning into a permanent red dot, and that's what happened. Got a two try 50 the week I needed to play him, so you can't ask for much more from a pure cashout.
R20: Simpkin, Tapine, Bula, Blore to DiFi, Bateman, DCE, Graham. Getting DiFi and DCE in both no brainers, tick. Simpkin to Graham an enabler to free up cash, even if Graham ended up not really working out. Tapine to Bateman was probably unnecessary in hindsight, but unfortunately I painted myself into a corner where Kris, Tapine, and Munro were on a bye and Teddy and Haas didn't back up so I had to sell one of them or play with 16 - there's a squad management lesson to be taken from that.
R21: NAS and Hopgood to Cleary and Murray. Selling Hopgood to enable Cleary was questionable at the time, but I'd make both of these trades again I think.
R22: Manu to Fotuaika. I needed a mid with Tohu on the bye and it was either sell Penis or sell Manu. I though Manu was overpriced playing at centre - I'd make the same call again. Fotuaika was a nightmare to own between getting himself sent off, suspended, missing R26 and putting up a 28 in R27. Again, a squad management lesson here - selling Hopgood and Tapine the previous weeks left me a mid short and I knew all three of my starting MIDs in Tohu, Haas, and Murray had byes to come. Bad outcome and I shouldn't have put myself in a position to have to make this trade.
R23: Kris to Russell. Can't complain, Kris injured, Russell looked good for reliable 40s (which he did except the Storm game). In hindsight it would have been nice to make a straight swap to Suaalii this round instead.
R25: Munro to Pompey. Needed a centre, Pompey scored 33 and 57 in the rounds I played him. I'd have bitten your hand off for him averaging 45, no complaints.
R26: Edwards and Tedesco to Suaalii and Marzhew. Needed two WFBs to field 17 (little did I know...). Suaalii and Marzhew combined for 214 points and a 53.5 average - excellent for a two week punt.
Ultimately, apart from a couple of egregious examples (Preston to Luki an Granville to Fainu) I don't think I made too many awful trades, but there were several cases of either bad luck, or sliding door moments where I made a 6/10 trade when there was a 10/10 staring me in the face. Namely not getting Horse in R6 when I got Hosking and Drinkwater in R14 when I got Edwards was hugely costly. Losing approx ~400k buying Cook and Robson when I did also very costly. Final learnings:
- Don't panic if a player loses cash one week. I traded Preston and Granville at the first signs of them losing cash and it led to awful trades. Cash gen is vital, but not at the expense of forcing trades and throwing them away.
- Pay attention to how a gun half impacts other players scoring (i.e. Edwards averaged 50 with Cleary this season and 39.8 without, Penis averaged 46.3 with Moses and 27.3 without).
- Don't start with a gun WFB, especially if the sole reason is because they have a good draw the first two rounds. I know I posted this above too, but just drilling it in.
- Don't overthink it! Horse was obviously a good buy as a 70 minute lock, but I thought it wouldn't last with Ricky. Fair enough, although I'd rather not be that conservative in future, but then why didn't I get him in R12 as a straight swap for Hosking instead of getting HEdwards? I guess I thought he'd peaked and HEdwards has cash to make, but as it turns out 688k in R12 was still unders for Hors. I think it was just being stubborn and compounding my initial mistake. Not getting Drinkwater I think was just bad luck, he was priced approx 41 in R14 and overall he averages 44 at FB - couldn't have predicted him going on a Turbo-like run. On the other hand, he was coming off a 57 and a 75 so the signs were there if I'd been a bit more aggressive and paid a bit more attention.