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With nine rounds done, attention turns to the rest of the season and how each teams’ remaining fixture matches up with the rest.
Who has the easiest draw and who has a tough fixture from here?
Port Adelaide has the hardest run home according to Champion Data’s formula, followed by Geelong and Brisbane – and Carlton fans won’t find much relief looking at these rankings.
At the other end of the scale, Essendon has the easiest fixture of any team and St Kilda has every chance to hang on to its top eight spot.
Here are the full rankings – from most difficult to least challenging run home – and expert analysis.
1. PORT ADELAIDE
Over the next month, Port has the eleventh most difficult stretch.
Overall though, it is a tough run home. There are just two games remaining against the bottom four – the fewest in the competition. The Power also play four games against teams ranked 5th–8th and two games against the current top four, including another clash with ladder leader Collingwood.
2. GEELONG
The next two weeks for the Cats present an ideal opportunity to bounce back after losing to Richmond. The stretch after that is decidedly tougher. They have five games remaining against teams currently inside the top four, including a date with the Lions at the Gabba.
The Cats’ five matches against top-four teams is the equal-most in the competition, although is o***et somewhat by seven more games at home.
3. BRISBANE LIONS
The Lions face difficult assignments outside of Queensland. Their last three games at home also promise to be tricky. They have the most games against teams ranked 5th-8th with five, with these matches crucial in deciding who makes the top four.
Brisbane has only two games against the current top four, but only three more games against the current bottom four.
4. FREMANTLE
The Dockers will need to carry the confidence from two straight wins forward into the next two games. The fixture beyond that doesn’t get easier with four games against the current top-four teams and three matches against teams ranked 5th-8th from round 10 onwards.
The Dockers do have the benefit of playing four more games against the current bottom four, including a second Western Derby.
5. CARLTON
The Blues face a brutal run of matches into the bye. In fact, their next month is rated the second-hardest in terms of match-ups. Their run home overall is also tough, with an equal competition-high five games against the current top four. They do get four more games against the bottom four, with another clash against West Coast – who they hammered by 108 points three weeks ago – among them. They also play four games against teams around them on the ladder in the 9th-13th range.
6. GOLD COAST
Gold Coast has won three out of its last four, just in time for the Suns to have the third-hardest stretch over the next month. Overall, they have more games to come against teams currently inside the top eight than outside it on the run home, with eight games against the current top eight and only six against the current bottom ten.
On the bright side, their run home is a mix of games they should win and genuine 50-50 contests. Two games against Carlton could be massive.
7. HAWTHORN
The Hawks have an even seven games against teams inside the top eight and seven games against teams in the bottom ten. They play only three games against the other bottom three teams and face four tricky games against the current top-four sides.
Considering their position on the ladder and their young list, the Hawks have a tough run
home. The good news for the Hawks is that most of their remaining matches are either in
Melbourne or Launceston, with just three played elsewhere.
8. GWS GIANTS
The Giants have both the eighth-most difficult run over the next month and over the entirety of their remaining matches. They play nine games against teams ranked 5th–13th, with five of those sitting just outside the eight between 9th and 13th. They only have two matches against the current top four.
Their next two games are tough. After that there are three games the Giants could realistically win.
9. SYDNEY
Perhaps the only good news for the Swans at the moment is that their fixture opens up quite a bit in the second half of the year. They have the ninth-hardest remaining fixture, with games against North Melbourne and West Coast to come, as well as six games against teams sitting just outside the eight.
They only play three games against the bottom four on the ladder, but they also only play two games against the top four.
10. MELBOURNE
Things are looking good fixture-wise for Melbourne, with eight of the Demons’ remaining 14 games against teams currently sitting outside the top eight. They play just three games against current top-four teams, with two of those to be played at the MCG.
Their next few weeks are really tough. From round 16 onwards, however, they have a great run of favourable match-ups. After round 10 onwards they have four games against the current bottom four.
11. NORTH MELBOURNE
Some good news for North fans – the Kangaroos face only two teams currently in the top four in their remaining matches. While they play four games against the other bottom-four teams, the Roos also play four games against teams ranked 5th-8th.
12. WEST COAST
The Eagles play just two games against current top-four teams for the rest of the year. However, they only play three games against the other bottom-four sides, which shape as their most realistic chances of grabbing a second win.
This week against the Hawks is their best hope for a breakthrough victory before a tough run of games leading into the bye in round 14. Things don’t get much easier for the Eagles after that, either, with four games in a row against top-eight contenders.
13. COLLINGWOOD
The good news keeps on coming for Collingwood, with the Pies set to face the sixth-easiest fixture over the next month and the third-easiest run home. The Pies play five games against teams ranked 9th-13th on the ladder while also facing eight teams currently sitting outside the top eight.
They play three games apiece against teams inside the top four and teams ranked 5th -8th. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect for Collingwood fans is that they’ve built their 8-1 win-loss record without playing any of the bottom three teams in the competition yet.
14. ADELAIDE
The Crows have the fifth-easiest remaining fixture overall and the sixth-easiest stretch over the next month, although they do play five games against the current top-four sides, equal most in the competition.
Outside a second Showdown – always a 50-50 game – the Crows play only one game against a team currently sitting 5th–8th. They have five games to come against the current bottom four.
15. RICHMOND
The Tigers have found some form just as the fixture opens up for them. They have five remaining games against teams currently inside the bottom four, which is ranked equal-third across the competition for clashes against the league’s stragglers.
They have four matches against the current top four and two difficult match-ups at Marvel Stadium, a venue they struggle at.
16. WESTERN BULLDOGS
The Bulldogs have a massive nine games to come against teams currently in the bottom 10 on the ladder, equal-second for most games against teams currently outside the top eight. They play only two games against current top-four teams, with both of those games at Marvel Stadium. Their last game will be tough, but the stretch before that game is extremely favourable.
17. ST KILDA
A poor loss against Adelaide doesn’t look so bad when one looks at St Kilda’s remaining fixture. They have 10 games against teams sitting outside the top eight and only three games against teams currently inside the top four.
The Saints play just one game against teams ranked 5th–8th, and that is at Marvel Stadium. After round 16 they only leave Marvel twice for trips to the Gold Coast and Brisbane. They also have four games to come against the worst three teams in the competition.
18. ESSENDON
The Bombers are on a four-game slide after having played five top-eight teams in a row, including all of the current top four. The good news for the Bombers is that they play just two more games against top-four teams for the rest of the season, and both of them are in Melbourne.
They have nine games to come against teams currently outside the top eight, including six against the bottom-four teams, which is equal-most in the competition. They also only travel once outside of Victoria after round 15.
 
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With nine rounds done, attention turns to the rest of the season and how each teams’ remaining fixture matches up with the rest.
Who has the easiest draw and who has a tough fixture from here?

Port Adelaide has the hardest run home according to Champion Data’s formula, followed by Geelong and Brisbane – and Carlton fans won’t find much relief looking at these rankings.


At the other end of the scale, Essendon has the easiest fixture of any team and St Kilda has every chance to hang on to its top eight spot.

Here are the full rankings – from most difficult to least challenging run home – and expert analysis.

1. PORT ADELAIDE
R10: Melbourne (Adelaide Oval)

R11: Richmond (MCG)

R12: Hawthorn (Adelaide Oval)


R13: Western Bulldogs (Marvel Stadium)

R14: Geelong (Adelaide Oval)

R15: BYE

R16: Essendon (MCG)

R17: Gold Coast (Adelaide Oval)

R18: Carlton (Marvel Stadium)

R19: Collingwood (Adelaide Oval)

R20: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R21: Geelong (GMHBA Stadium)

R22: GWS (Adelaide Oval)

R23: Fremantle (Optus Stadium)

R24: Richmond (Adelaide Oval)

Over the next month, Port has the eleventh most difficult stretch.

Overall though, it is a tough run home. There are just two games remaining against the bottom four – the fewest in the competition. The Power also play four games against teams ranked 5th–8th and two games against the current top four, including another clash with ladder leader Collingwood.


If Port Adelaide wants to play finals it will have to do it the hard way. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images)
2. GEELONG
R10: Fremantle (Optus Stadium)

R11: GWS (GMHBA)

R12: Western Bulldogs (Marvel Stadium)

R13: BYE

R14: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R15: Melbourne (GMHBA Stadium)

R16: Sydney Swans (SCG)

R17: North Melbourne (GMHBA)

R18: Essendon (GMHBA)

R19: Brisbane (Gabba)

R20: Fremantle (GMHBA)

R21: Port Adelaide (GMHBA)

R22: Collingwood (MCG)

R23: St Kilda (Marvel Stadium)

R24: Western Bulldogs (GMHBA)

The next two weeks for the Cats present an ideal opportunity to bounce back after losing to Richmond. The stretch after that is decidedly tougher. They have five games remaining against teams currently inside the top four, including a date with the Lions at the Gabba.

The Cats’ five matches against top-four teams is the equal-most in the competition, although is o***et somewhat by seven more games at home.

3. BRISBANE LIONS
R10: Gold Coast (Gabba)

R11: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R12: BYE

R13: Hawthorn (MCG)

R14: Sydney Swans (Gabba)

R15: St Kilda (Marvel Stadium)

R16: Richmond (Gabba)

R17: West Coast Eagles (Gabba)

R18: Melbourne (MCG)

R19: Geelong (Gabba)

R20: Gold Coast (Heritage Bank Stadium)

R21: Fremantle (Optus Stadium)

R22: Adelaide (Gabba)

R23: Collingwood (Marvel Stadium)

R24: St Kilda (Gabba)

The Lions face difficult assignments outside of Queensland. Their last three games at home also promise to be tricky. They have the most games against teams ranked 5th-8th with five, with these matches crucial in deciding who makes the top four.

Brisbane has only two games against the current top four, but only three more games against the current bottom four.
 
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4. FREMANTLE
R10: Geelong (Optus Stadium)

R11: Melbourne (MCG)

R12: BYE

R13: Richmond (Optus Stadium)

R14: GWS (GIANTS Stadium)

R15: Essendon (Optus Stadium)

R16: Western Bulldogs (Marvel Stadium)

R17: Carlton (Optus Stadium)

R18: Collingwood (MCG)

R19: Sydney Swans (Optus Stadium)

R20: Geelong (GMHBA Stadium)

R21: Brisbane (Optus Stadium)

R22: West Coast (Optus Stadium)

R23: Port Adelaide (Optus Stadium)

R24: Hawthorn (MCG)

The Dockers will need to carry the confidence from two straight wins forward into the next two games. The fixture beyond that doesn’t get easier with four games against the current top-four teams and three matches against teams ranked 5th-8th from round 10 onwards.

The Dockers do have the benefit of playing four more games against the current bottom four, including a second Western Derby.


Carlton’s draw doesn’t do them any favours. Picture: Michael Klein
5. CARLTON
R10: Collingwood (MCG)

R11: Sydney Swans (SCG)

R12: Melbourne (MCG)

R13: Essendon (MCG)

R14: Gold Coast (MCG)

R15: BYE

R16: Hawthorn (MCG)

R17: Fremantle (Optus Stadium)

R18: Port Adelaide (Marvel)

R19: West Coast Eagles (Marvel)

R20: Collingwood (MCG)

R21: St Kilda (Marvel)

R22: Melbourne (MCG)

R23: Gold Coast (Heritage Bank Stadium)

R24: GWS (Marvel Stadium)

The Blues face a brutal run of matches into the bye. In fact, their next month is

rated the second-hardest in terms of match-ups. Their run home overall is also tough, with an equal competition-high five games against the current top four.

They do get four more games against the bottom four, with another clash against West Coast – who they hammered by 108 points three weeks ago – among them. They also play four games against teams around them on the ladder in the 9th-13th range.

6. GOLD COAST
R10: Brisbane (Gabba)

R11: Western Bulldogs (TIO Stadium)

R12: Adelaide (TIO Stadium)

R13: BYE

R14: Carlton (MCG)

R15: Hawthorn (Heritage Bank Stadium)

R16: Collingwood (Heritage Bank Stadium)

R17: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R18: St Kilda (Heritage Bank Stadium)

R19: GWS (Manuka Oval)

R20: Brisbane (Heritage Bank Stadium)

R21: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R22: Sydney Swans (SCG)

R23: Carlton (Heritage Bank Stadium)

R24: North Melbourne (Blundstone Arena)

Gold Coast has won three out of its last four, just in time for the Suns to have the third-hardest stretch over the next month. Overall, they have more games to come against teams currently inside the top eight than outside it on the run home, with eight games against the current top eight and only six against the current bottom ten.

On the bright side, their run home is a mix of games they should win and genuine 50-50 contests. Two games against Carlton could be massive.


Hawthorn is searching for a second win. Picture: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images
7. HAWTHORN
R10: West Coast (UTAS Stadium)

R11: St Kilda (Marvel Stadium)

R12: Port Adelaide (Adelaide)

R13: Brisbane (MCG)

R14: BYE

R15: Gold Coast (Heritage Bank Stadium)

R16: Carlton (MCG)

R17: Hawthorn (GIANTS Stadium)

R18: North Melbourne (Marvel Stadium)

R19: Richmond (MCG)

R20: St Kilda (Marvel Stadium)

R21: Collingwood (MCG)

R22: Western Bulldogs (UTAS Stadium)

R23: Melbourne (MCG)

R24: Fremantle (MCG)

The Hawks have an even seven games against teams inside the top eight and seven games against teams in the bottom ten. They play only three games against the other bottom three teams and face four tricky games against the current top-four sides.

Considering their position on the ladder and their young list, the Hawks have a tough run

home. The good news for the Hawks is that most of their remaining matches are either in

Melbourne or Launceston, with just three played elsewhere.
 
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8. GWS GIANTS
R10: St Kilda (GIANTS Stadium)

R11: Geelong (GMHBA)

R12: Richmond (GIANTS Stadium)

R13: North Melbourne (Blundstone Arena)

R14: Fremantle (GIANTS Stadium)

R15: BYE

R16: Melbourne (TIO Traeger Park)

R17: Hawthorn (GIANTS Stadium)

R18: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R19: Gold Coast (Manuka Oval)

R20: Western Bulldogs (Mars Stadium)

R21: Sydney Swans ((GIANTS Stadium)

R22: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R23: Essendon (GIANTS Stadium)

R24: Carlton (Marvel Stadium)

The Giants have both the eighth-most difficult run over the next month and over the entirety of their remaining matches. They play nine games against teams ranked 5th–13th, with five of those sitting just outside the eight between 9th and 13th. They only have two matches against the current top four.

Their next two games are tough. After that there are three games the Giants could realistically win.

9. SYDNEY
R10: North Melbourne (Marvel)

R11: Carlton (SCG)

R12: BYE

R13: St Kilda (SCG)

R14: Brisbane (Gabba)

R15: West Coast (SCG)

R16: Geelong (SCG)

R17: Richmond (MCG)

R18: Western Bulldogs (SCG)

R19: Fremantle (Optus Stadium)

R20: Essendon (Marvel)

R21: GWS (GIANTS Stadium)

R22: Gold Coast (SCG)

R23: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R24: Melbourne (SCG)

Perhaps the only good news for the Swans at the moment is that their fixture opens up quite a bit in the second half of the year. They have the ninth-hardest remaining fixture, with games against North Melbourne and West Coast to come, as well as six games against teams sitting just outside the eight.

They only play three games against the bottom four on the ladder, but they also only play two games against the top four.


Melbourne is strongly placed for the run home. Picture: Michael Klein
10. MELBOURNE
R10: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R11: Fremantle (MCG)

R12: Carlton (MCG)

R13: Collingwood (MCG)

R14: BYE

R15: Geelong (GMHBA Stadium)

R16: GWS (TIO Traeger Park)

R17: St Kilda (Marvel Stadium)

R18: Brisbane (MCG)

R19: Adelaide (MCG)

R20: Richmond (MCG)

R21: North Melbourne (Blundstone Arena)

R22: Carlton (MCG)

R23: Hawthorn (MCG)

R24: Sydney Swans (SCG)

Things are looking good fixture-wise for Melbourne, with eight of the Demons’ remaining 14 games against teams currently sitting outside the top eight. They play just three games against current top-four teams, with two of those to be played at the MCG.

Their next few weeks are really tough. From round 16 onwards, however, they have a great run of favourable match-ups. After round 10 onwards they have four games against the current bottom four.

11. NORTH MELBOURNE
R10: Sydney Swans (Marvel Stadium)

R11: Collingwood (Marvel Stadium)

R12: Essendon (Marvel Stadium)

R13: GWS (Blundstone Arena)

R14: Western Bulldogs (Marvel Stadium)

R15: BYE

R16: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval).

R17: Geelong (GMHBA)

R18: Hawthorn (Marvel Stadium)

R19: St Kilda (Marvel Stadium)

R20: West Coast (Optus Stadium)

R21: Melbourne (Blundstone Arena)

R22: Essendon (Marvel Stadium)

R23: Richmond (MCG)

R24: Gold Coast (Blundstone Arena)

Some good news for North fans – the Kangaroos face only two teams currently in the top four in their remaining matches. While they play four games against the other bottom-four teams, the Roos also play four games against teams ranked 5th-8th.

12. WEST COAST
R10: Hawthorn (UTAS Stadium)

R11: Essendon (Optus)

R12: Collingwood (Optus)

R13: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R14: BYE

R15: Sydney Swans (SCG)

R16: St Kilda (Optus)

R17: Brisbane (Gabba)

R18: Richmond (Optus)

R19: Carlton (Marvel)

R20: North Melbourne (Optus)

R21: Essendon (Marvel)

R22: Fremantle (Optus)

R23: Western Bulldogs (Marvel)

R24: Adelaide (Optus)

The Eagles play just two games against current top-four teams for the rest of the year. However, they only play three games against the other bottom-four sides, which shape as their most realistic chances of grabbing a second win.

This week against the Hawks is their best hope for a breakthrough victory before a tough run of games leading into the bye in round 14. Things don’t get much easier for the Eagles after that, either, with four games in a row against top-eight contenders.


Collingwood has set up its season by nailing the toughest part of the fixture. Picture: Michael Klein
 
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13. COLLINGWOOD
R10: Carlton (MCG)

R11: North Melbourne (Marvel Stadium)

R12: West Coast (Optus Stadium)

R13: Melbourne (MCG)

R14: BYE

R15: Adelaide (MCG)

R16: Gold Coast (Heritage Bank Stadium)

R17: Western Bulldogs (Marvel)

R18: Fremantle (MCG)

R19: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R20: Carlton (MCG)

R21: Hawthorn (MCG)

R22: Geelong (MCG)

R23: Brisbane (Marvel)

R24: Essendon (MCG)

The good news keeps on coming for Collingwood, with the Pies set to face the sixth-easiest fixture over the next month and the third-easiest run home. The Pies play five games against teams ranked 9th-13th on the ladder while also facing eight teams currently sitting outside the top eight.

They play three games apiece against teams inside the top four and teams ranked 5th -8th. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect for Collingwood fans is that they’ve built their 8-1 win-loss record without playing any of the bottom three teams in the competition yet.

14. ADELAIDE
R10: Western Bulldogs (Mars)

R11: Brisbane (Adelaide Oval)

R12: Gold Coast (TIO Stadium)

R13: West Coast (Adelaide Oval)

R14: BYE

R15: Collingwood (MCG)

R16: North Melbourne (Adelaide Oval)

R17: Essendon (Marvel)

R18: GWS (Adelaide Oval)

R19: Melbourne (MCG)

R20: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

R21: Gold Coast (Adelaide Oval)

R22: Brisbane (Gabba)

R23: Sydney Swans (Adelaide Oval)

R24: West Coast (Optus Stadium)

The Crows have the fifth-easiest remaining fixture overall and the sixth-easiest stretch over the next month, although they do play five games against the current top-four sides, equal most in the competition.

Outside a second Showdown – always a 50-50 game – the Crows play only one game against a team currently sitting 5th–8th. They have five games to come against the current bottom four.

15. RICHMOND
R10: Essendon (MCG)

R11: Port Adelaide (MCG)

R12: GWS (GIANTS Stadium)

R13: Fremantle (Optus Stadium)

R14: St Kilda (MCG)

R15: BYE

R16: Brisbane (Gabba)

R17: Sydney Swans (MCG)

R18: West Coast (Optus)

R19: Hawthorn (MCG)

R20: Melbourne (MCG)

R21: Western Bulldogs (Marvel)

R22: St Kilda (Marvel)

R23: North Melbourne (MCG)

R24: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)

The Tigers have found some form just as the fixture opens up for them. They have five remaining games against teams currently inside the bottom four, which is ranked equal-third across the competition for clashes against the league’s stragglers.

They have four matches against the current top four and two difficult match-ups at Marvel Stadium, a venue they struggle at.


Dustin Martin and the Tigers have found form at the right time. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
16. WESTERN BULLDOGS
R10: Adelaide (Mars)

R11: Gold Coast (TIO Stadium)

R12: Geelong (Marvel)

R13: Port Adelaide (Marvel)

R14: North Melbourne (Marvel)

R15: BYE

R16: Fremantle (Marvel)

R17: Collingwood (Marvel)

R18: Sydney Swans (SCG)

R19: Essendon (Marvel)

R20: GWS (Mars)

R21: Richmond (Marvel)

R22: Hawthorn (UTAS Stadium)

R23: West Coast (Marvel)

R24: Geelong (GMHBA)

The Bulldogs have a massive nine games to come against teams currently in the bottom 10 on the ladder, equal-second for most games against teams currently outside the top eight. They play only two games against current top-four teams, with both of those games at Marvel Stadium. Their last game will be tough, but the stretch before that game is extremely favourable.

17. ST KILDA
R10: GWS (GIANTS Stadium)

R11: Hawthorn (Marvel Stadium)

R12: BYE

R13: Sydney Swans (SCG)

R14: Richmond (MCG)

R15: Brisbane (Marvel Stadium)

R16: West Coast (Optus Stadium)

R17: Melbourne (Marvel Stadium)

R18: Gold Coast (Heritage Bank Stadium)

R19: North Melbourne (Marvel Stadium)

R20: Hawthorn (Marvel Stadium)

R21: Carlton (Marvel Stadium)

R22: Richmond (Marvel Stadium)

R23: Geelong (Marvel Stadium)

R24: Brisbane (Gabba)

A poor loss against Adelaide doesn’t look so bad when one looks at St Kilda’s remaining fixture. They have 10 games against teams sitting outside the top eight and only three games against teams currently inside the top four.

The Saints play just one game against teams ranked 5th–8th, and that is at Marvel Stadium. After round 16 they only leave Marvel twice for trips to the Gold Coast and Brisbane. They also have four games to come against the worst three teams in the competition.


Don’t give up hope, Bomber fans. Picture: Mark Brake/Getty Images
18. ESSENDON
R10: Richmond (MCG)

R11: West Coast (Optus)

R12: North Melbourne (Marvel)

R13: Carlton (MCG)

R14: BYE

R15: Fremantle (Optus)

R16: Port Adelaide (MCG)

R17: Adelaide (Marvel)

R18: Geelong (GMHBA)

R19: Western Bulldogs (Marvel)

R20: Sydney Swans (Marvel)

R21: West Coast (Marvel)

R22: North Melbourne (Marvel Stadium)

R23: GWS (GIANTS Stadium)

R24: Collingwood (MCG)

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The Bombers are on a four-game slide after having played five top-eight teams in a row, including all of the current top four. The good news for the Bombers is that they play just two more games against top-four teams for the rest of the season, and both of them are in Melbourne.

They have nine games to come against teams currently outside the top eight, including six against the bottom-four teams, which is equal-most in the competition. They also only travel once outside of Victoria after round 15.
 
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SuperCoach 2023: This ‘perfect’ team would be leading overall without using a trade

See the team that would be leading the KFC SuperCoach overall rankings by almost 1000 points without using a trade – and what we can learn from it.

Jaiden Popowski

The game of KFC SuperCoach is defined by picking a good starting squad. Every year we look for a variety of players to fill the 30 positions available under the $10 million-dollar salary cap. Do you think you had a good starting team in 2023?

The problem with picking your starting team is we don’t get everything right. Our star premiums, those we selected to be our captains, get injured. We play rookie roulette every week … and fail. Our mid-pricers have “so much upside” at the start of the season, yet fail to deliver.

We painfully watch as that player we didn’t select has a breakout year. That flip-a-coin decision between two premiums costs us hundreds of points, and an even bigger cost for our salary cap. I’m sure you know the players I’m talking about, we all own them!

Now, imagine a reality where our entire starting team performs excellently. No more underperformers. The best rookie selections. Mid-pricers that turn into high scoring premiums. A team where there is no room for failure – every single player outperforming their pre-season expectations.

The perfect KFC SuperCoach starting team

What would a perfect team look like? We need to define what we want to optimise. How about picking a starting team that maximises points on field? Let’s set our bench to eight basement rookies at $102,400 each. That leaves us with the most amount of cash left over to use on field.

The optimal solution for an on-field team is one that maximises points without going over the salary cap. I solved it and it produced the team below! I’ve used starting prices and total points.


Screen Shot 2023-05-18 at 3.05.20 pm.png

This team has a total score of 21,851 points after nine rounds, meaning it would be first in the overall rankings by 910 points. And that’s without needing to make any trades or changes to the team! It’s amazing how much value these players provide. There’s $28.4k left over in the salary cap with a basement bench.

Filling in a proper bench

This first iteration is nice for overall points, but no SuperCoach player would start with a bench of $102,4k rookies that aren’t playing. We still need cash generation!

Let’s fill the bench with the biggest price increases to maximise team value. To add higher starting price players like Reuben Ginbey or Max Michalanney, we will need to sacrifice some points on field to generate extra cash.

Screen Shot 2023-05-18 at 3.06.20 pm.png

The bench is very healthy and there haven’t been too many on-field changes. Christian Petracca and Max Holmes have made way for Adam Cerra and Oscar Allen to free up the cash required to start an expensive bench. This has left the team with an overall lead of 659 points.

The most impressive stat that we wanted from this is team value. This squad fits under the initial salary cap with $9.8k left over. The current team value as at Round 10 is $14.18 million, over one million dollars more than the current No.1 ranked team. How awesome would it be to have that much cash before the byes begin?

What can we learn from this?

Every year, this “perfect” team completely exceeds my expectations. To be almost 1000 points in front after nine rounds, without making any changes at all, says a lot about how perfect it is. Over the years, there have been a few common themes with the structure of a perfect team.

Minimise on-field rookies

We are officially in KFC SuperCoach upgrade season. We are trying to reduce the number of rookies on our fields by replacing them with premium players we want to keep for the rest of the year. What if we tried to do this before round 1 starts? Picking a mid-pricers is risky due to the cash difference, but the benefit is that some can score like a premium. Think about the roles that Jack Ziebell and Mitch Owens have had this year.

Too many full-priced premiums

The team above still has some premium picks like Marcus Bontempelli, Tim English, and Jordan Dawson, but all three have had exceptional seasons so far. Bontempelli and Dawson are enjoying more time around the midfield, while Tim English has been injury-free in 2023. If you are picking premium players, maybe they need to have a reason to improve?

Bargain forward lines

The forward line in these teams is very cheap, with only two potential “keepers” based on our pre-season definitions. Taranto and Gulden are definite premiums for the rest of the year. Unlike the popular structure this year of paying up for forwards, these teams have lots of bargains. Rookies in the forward line allows more mid-price midfield depth. This helps to get rookies off field in the more valuable midfield positions.

Jaiden Popowski recently graduated from UTAS with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Statistics, and works at Cricket Tasmania as a research analyst. He posts fantasy and KFC SuperCoach content on Twitter – follow him at @jaiden_popowski
 

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The reign of the back-up KFC SuperCoach ruckman may be over.
Brynn Teackle has played the past four rounds for Port Adelaide, averaging 63.5 points and increasing in value by $50.6k in that time.
His hitout numbers haven’t been amazing – last round North Melbourne won that statistic 63-24 – but Port has won each of those games as Zak Butters, Connor Rozee and Jason Horne-Francis light up the midfield.
But facing the tag team of Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy might be too much for Ken Hinkley, who is poised to recall Scott Lycett for Friday night’s clash at Adelaide Oval.
Lycett was at the Power’s captains run on Thursday while Teakle was not sighted.
However, he could get a late reprieve if Charlie Dixon (knee, quad) doesn’t come up.

Meanwhile, Samson Ryan could return to a predominently forward role if Toby Nankervis passes a fitness test to return against Essendon after missing five weeks with an ankle injury.
Ryan has been a KFC SuperCoach revelation, exploding in value by more than $215,000 as he averaged 83.5 over the past month, with 27 hitouts to advantage in his past two games.
Playing in the same team as Nankervis early in the year he scored 72, 27 and 44.

KFC SUPERCOACH CASUALTY LIST
Round 9 was a nightmare for many KFC SuperCoaches as injuries cut down a number of popular stars. Here’s the latest diagnosis:
Callum Mills suffered a calf injury just minutes into the Swans’ clash against Fremantle. He will miss 4-6 weeks. The Swans have also confirmed Tom and Paddy McCartin will miss again this week and Matt Roberts will be in a knee brace for another week.
Jacob Hopper was subbed out of Richmond’s win against Geelong and scans revealed a left soleus strain that will keep him out for the “medium term”.
Jack Steele finished the game against Adelaide with ice on his knee and coach Ross Lyon said this week his captain had “a little bit of a medial”.
His availability against former club GWS will depend on how he trains later in the week but Lyon added “we certainly wouldn’t risk the team with anyone who isn’t 100 per cent.” Make sure you have an emergency on standby!
Rory Laird was subbed out after copping a heavy knock late in the game but is not on the Crows injury list and should be good to go this week. Crows coach Matthew Nicks said post-game: “Lairdy’s fine, as far as I’m aware. That was more of a management towards the end.”
The news isn’t as good for Luke Davies-Uniacke, who will miss 3-5 weeks after suffering a hamstring injury against Port Adelaide. The luckless Kangaroos will also be without Josh Goater for a month after he suffered a knee injury in the VFL.

WHERE THERE ISN’T A WILL
SuperCoaches who have held on to Will Setterfield have had the pain of disappointing scores and an unpredictable role compounded by a freak injury.
Setterfield reported soreness in his foot following the Bombers’ loss to Brisbane and “upon further investigation, it’s been revealed he has a small fracture in his foot after being trodden on in game,” general manager of performance Daniel McPherson said.
“At this stage, we’re unsure on the timeline, but it’ll be a short to medium term injury.”
Setterfield was one of the most popular trade targets in KFC SuperCoach after scoring 99 and 147 in the first two rounds, but his highest score since then is 91. After adding $90,000 to his price tag by round 5 he has steadily lost value since and is now priced at $397,600, just under $50,000 above his starting price.

His omission, along with Darcy Parish, throws Essendon’s midfield mix into even more confusion.
Brad Scott is changing his starting onball mix on a weekly basis, with Zach Merrett going from 38 per cent CBAs to 72 per cent then dropping back to 62 per cent, while Setterfield went from zero to 62 per cent CBAs, Jye Caldwell catapulted from 3 per cent CBAs to 71 per cent, Dylan Shiel jumped from 41 per cent to 67 per cent, and Jake Stringer dropped from 80 per cent three weeks ago to 38 per cent in round 9.
Who will start in the centre square against Richmond on Saturday night? Your guess is as good as ours.

The Phantom’s bye trade plan revealed
I’m back.
Back on burning questions – thanks Tim Michell – and maybe even back in KFC SuperCoach.
Well, not quite yet, but I’m slowing making up ground.
Nothing went my way in the opening month and I was ranked 54,206 after four rounds.
Now, after three solid weeks, I’m on the cusp of the top 10,000 at 11,089. It’s definitely still not where I want to be, but it’s a start.
So, what’s next?
That is the big burning question on the minds of many KFC SuperCoaches at the moment.
Spot fires keep popping up everywhere, bringing some upgrade plans to a halt – or from even been derived at all.
I’ve had to put out a few myself – and just as I thought they stopped, Luke Davies-Uniacke gets injured a week after Darcy Parish.
“I was just thinking this morning, normally at this time of year, I have a whole plan to finish my team,” a renowned KFC SuperCoach figure said to me on Tuesday.
“Not sure what it is about this year but I’ve got no clue.”
Fair assumption, but, no, it is not Dan Batten.
Feeling the same? You’re in the right place.
This is my plan for the next seven weeks – it’s far from perfect but KFC SuperCoach is rarely perfect.
You probably don’t want to copy it, but it might get you thinking about yours.


ROUND 10
Heading into this weekend, as you can see below, I have 17 premiums – if you include a resurgent Hayden Young and Harry Sheezel – plus Jason Horne-Francis, and 16 trades left.
Sadly, no boosts, after using my final one last week to upgrade to Clayton Oliver and trade out an injured Darcy Parish.
Going through this plan has reinforced my first thought in holding Luke Davies-Uniacke.
At $497k, and with dwindling trades, it’s really out of need.
But, remember, it’s best-18 from Round 12 to 15, so it hurts me for two weeks at the most, even if North say he’ll miss three games.
I’ve always loved the bye rounds.
So to sum it up, I plan not to trade this week.
ROUND 11
Sorry to bore you again, but it might be a similar story ahead of Round 11.
All my rookies will play and I will have no injuries.
Haha.
ROUND 12
Now we’re getting to the action.
Before trades, at this point anyway, I will have 21 playing, plus Campbell Chesser and Charlie Constable who could force their way back in – the young Eagle, in particular.
Given the four clubs on the bye in Round 12 – Brisbane, Fremantle, St Kilda and Sydney – most KFC SuperCoaches shouldn’t have too much trouble fielding a strong side.
When looking at your available players over the bye rounds, it’s important to focus on your premium players. Someone might say they have 19 playing when you have 17. But an extra premium scorer might outweigh Alex Cincotta’s 33. Sorry, Alex.
So, it’s all about preparing yourself for the next three weeks of trading.
I’d love to make multiple downgrades ahead of Round 12, but reality is, for the money I need to make, it might be too early to trade Cincotta, Seamus Mitchell and returning Docker Matt Johnson, who still hopefully has cash generation in him after his suspension for a dangerous tackle.
But with a bye in Round 13, Cat Sam Simpson, who hopefully gets to around $280k – and that’s without factoring in a big score in his next two games – will be the one I trade ahead of the first bye round.
Pray for rookies.
If you don’t desperately need them for the final two bye rounds, upgrading or downgrading Lions Connor McKenna and Darcy Wilmot will help open things up here.
The premium you bring in will miss a match, so make sure it works for your side first.
TRADES: Sam Simpson (approx $280k) to a rookie (approx $123k)
CASH IN BANK: $177k
TRADES LEFT: 15

How The Phantom's team looks before round 10.
 

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ROUND 13
It’s only Gold Coast and Geelong with a week off in Round 13 so, even though I have Tom Stewart and Noah Anderson, it should finally be a fun week of KFC SuperCoach, with our four lowest scores still dropping out.
Again, how good are the byes!?
Initially, when working through this plan, I was just going to make another single downgrade. But, to make the trades I want next week, I need more money.
If he does play in Round 10 – please Justin – there will only be two more price rises for Johnson to this point. But even if he hits 50 in both games, the second-year midfielder will push his price to $210k.
And he had 22 disposals against the Lions in his last outing, with some early clangers – including the free kick against which resulted in the ban – affecting his final score.
I’ll be taking $80k if it’s on offer – and the downgrade option is there.
I will also need whatever I can get out of Blake Drury at this stage, too. The good news is, he will – hopefully – play three more times and – again hopefully – score more than 17.
TRADES: Matt Johnson (approx $210k) to a rookie (approx $123k), Blake Drury (approx $160k to a rookie approx $102k)
CASH IN BANK: $322k
TRADES LEFT: 13
ROUND 14
OK, maybe they aren’t that good.
But this is the week – with Adelaide, Collingwood, Essendon, Hawthorn, Melbourne and West Coast on the bye – I will start to spend the money.
Max Gawn and Sam Walsh might be forward by this time, but Gawn has the bye and, unless he drops significantly, I won’t be able to get to Walsh.
So, all going well – haha – it could be Lachie Neale and Jack Steele, if his knee is OK, into the midfield. This will send Errol Gulden and Jason Horne-Francis forward.
It will give me 15 premiums and Horne-Francis, plus a few rookies, for the round.
TRADES: Alex Cincotta (approx $280k) to rookie, Seamus Mitchell (approx. $300k) to Jack Steele (approx $520k), Kade Chandler (approx $345k) to Lachie Neale (approx $550k).
CASH IN BANK: $74k
TRADES LEFT: 10
ROUND 15
With Carlton, GWS, North Melbourne, Port, Richmond and the Bulldogs out of action, the bye-round fun has well-and-truly stopped now. But the good news is there’s only one round left.
My plan this far out, is to make a downgrade – hopefully one of my recent rookies has made some quick cash.
Then, trade Horne-Francis, who has the bye, to Gawn, if he’s a forward.
For numbers, I will also consider moving on Harry Sheezel for a shiny new forward in Walsh (pending funds) or a cheap Callum Mills to finish the midfield, if he’s returned and played one game, sending his value plummeting, by this point.
Whether to hold Roos young gun Sheezel, who has scored seven KFC SuperCoach tons in the opening nine rounds, will be a big decision for many coaches ahead of Round 15.
Regardless of which way I go, that will leave one rookie on field with seven trades.
TRADES: Rookie downgrade, Jason Horne-Francis (approx $430k) to Max Gawn (approx $550k), Harry Sheezel (approx $450k) to Callum Mills (approx. $420k)
CASH IN BANK: Hopefully some.
TRADES LEFT: 7
ROUND 16/17
Then, to finish the side, I will look to use two – but probably three, depending how much cash I can generate in the meantime – trades to make that final upgrade.
If it’s Mills the previous week, Jack Macrae after the bye at $520k-ish as a forward will be ideal. Returning Collingwood big man Darcy Cameron, depending on how the Magpies set up in the ruck with Mason Cox in form, will also be in the discussion, given his likely price.
Then sit and panic with four or five trades in hand for the final seven rounds.
Of course, this trade plan is subject to the inevitable carnage that KFC SuperCoach will throw at us during the bye rounds.
 
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KFC SuperCoach AFL: Round 10 time in position stats, latest DPP updates
Just as KFC SuperCoaches were preparing for an influx of new dual-position premiums, a late curve ball has put those plans in jeopardy. Get the latest time in position numbers here.

Tim Michell

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2 min read
May 22, 2023 - 2:55PM
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom

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04:35
KFC SuperCoach AFL: Hot & Cold Round 10
It was a cracking weekend in KFC SuperCoach AFL, with huge scores across the board. Al Paton looks at some of the highest performers.
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This is the last weekend for players to stake their claim for a mid-season DPP addition in KFC SuperCoach.
Max Gawn, Christian Petracca, Sam Walsh and Jayden Short have long appeared the four premiums likely to gain a second position when updates take place after round 11.
But it is Western Bulldogs star and long-time KFC SuperCoach favourite Jack Macrae who has made a late surge for FWD-MID status, jumping from 30 per cent FWD to 40 per cent in the past two rounds.

Macrae has attended just six centre bounces in the past two rounds, with Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore and Bailey Smith emerging as Luke Beveridge’s preferred trio.
Caleb Daniel has been next in line, with Macrae a distant fifth.
SCROLL DOWN FOR THE LATEST TIME IN POSITION NUMBERS
DPP RULES
  • A minimum of six games is required to be considered for DPP before Round 12.
  • Players must play at least 35 per cent in a position to have DPP added.
  • The next DPP additions take place after Round 11 and before Round 12.
  • Players can only have a maximum of two positions.

That has caused Macrae’s time spent forward to jump by 10 per cent in two weeks, putting him firmly in the frame for DPP status after this round.
Macrae is averaging 106.1 points this year which would rank seventh of those listed as forwards behind Josh Dunkley, Tim Taranto, Zak Butters, Jack Ziebell, Errol Gulden and Connor Rozee.
DID YOU KNOW?
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CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE

While Macrae has made a positive move towards DPP status, those who went early on Gawn and Walsh could be set for disappointment.

Gawn’s ownership has increased by 3.9 per cent in the past two rounds, with many coaches trading in the Demons captain in anticipation of him becoming a RUC-FWD.
Gawn attended 53 ruck contests to Brodie Grundy’s 30 on Friday night, one of the biggest discrepancies between the Demons’ ruck duo this year.
The extra time in the middle caused his time spent forward to drop from 37 per cent to 35 per cent, leaving Gawn right on the threshold for RUC-FWD.
All eyes will be on how Simon Goodwin uses Gawn and Grundy against Sean Darcy and Luke Jackson this round.
Meanwhile, Michael Voss’ decision to use George Hewett as the sub against Collingwood caused Walsh to have his highest CBA percentage since round 6.
Walsh attended 58 per cent of centre bounces against Collingwood, ranked third at the Blues behind Patrick Cripps (79 per cent) and Adam Cerra (71 per cent).
As a result, Walsh’s FWD percentage dropped from 40 to 34 and put him under the threshold for FWD-MID status.
Walsh’s ownership has increased by almost 10 per cent in the past four weeks as the chances of him becoming a must-have FWD lifted.
Short has been back in Richmond’s midfield and his time spent in defence has dropped from more than 50 per cent to 34 per cent after round 10.
Petracca also dropped from 31 per cent forward to 29, all but ruling him out of the mid-season DPP additions.
More Coverage
SuperCoach: First player set for round 12 DPP revealed
Those who jumped on Port Adelaide’s Dylan Williams at rookie price will be rewarded when he becomes a DEF-FWD, allowing him to be swapped with Jack Ziebell, Harry Sheezel or Seamus Mitchell at either end.
Check our all the latest time in position numbers for the key names below:
 
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KFC SuperCoach AFL: New DPP players revealed, best trade targets for round 12
The latest round of position changes in KFC SuperCoach will be locked in after round 11. Which big names made the cut and who missed out? Find out here.
Tim Michell and Al Paton
8 min read

It’s all happening in KFC SuperCoach.
Experienced coaches often go into hiberation mode for the first round of the byes, trying to limit trades before launching an assault the following week.
But this year is very different.
Bye rules that will only count every team’s best 18 scorers over the following four rounds will help, but we suddenly have suspensions, injuries and selection issues to worry about on top of losing every St Kilda, Sydney, Fremantle and Brisbane player for round 12.
If that wasn’t enough, the latest round of dual-position changes has also been activated.
Do you need cash, a last-minute replacement or just want to add a proven KFC SuperCoach scoring machine to your team? Here are the best targets this week.
DUAL-POSITION CHANGES
Jack Macrae is hot property again in KFC SuperCoach, and not just because he has scored 145 two weeks in a row.
The fantasy champ is the big winner of the latest round of dual-position changes, earning MID-FWD status after playing 38 per cent of game time forward in the first 11 rounds. As the past two rounds have proved, that doesn’t necessarily impact his ability to score.
Making him even more appealing as a forward option is the fact his price has dropped $60,000 since round 1.
It wasn’t all good news, though. Max Gawn and Sam Walsh fell just short of earning DPP status, with the decision on Gawn going right to the wire.
After the Demons’ loss to Fremantle on Saturday, Gawn’s percentage of forward time for the season sits at Gawn 34.9 – 0.1 per cent short of becoming DPP. Walsh, meanwhile, sits at 32.9 per cent.
See the full list of dual-position changes below.

PLAYER CLUB ORIGINAL POSITION NEW POSITION TIME IN POSITION
Chayce Jones Adel DEF DEF-MID 81%
Ed Curnow Carl MID MID-FWD 49%
Zac Fisher Carl FWD FWD-MID 40%
Matthew Kennedy Carl MID DEF-MID 42%
Billy Frampton Coll DEF DEF-RUC 48%
Ben Hobbs Ess FWD MID-FWD 40%
Xavier O'Halloran GWS MID MID-FWD 80%
Lachie Bramble Haw DEF DEF-MID 47%
Harrison Petty Melb DEF DEF-FWD 46%
Dylan Williams Port FWD DEF-FWD 98%
Riley Bonner Port DEF DEF-MID 88%
Darcy Byrne-Jones Port DEF DEF-FWD 64%
Ben Miller Rich DEF DEF-RUC 47%
Xavier O'Neill WC MID MID-FWD 40%
Luke Edwards WC MID MID-FWD 39%
Anthony Scott WB MID MID-FWD 51%
Jack Macrae WB MID MID-FWD 38%
 
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Bust-up in the Carlton rooms leads to director Craig Mathieson quitting the club’s board
A bust-up in the Carlton rooms after Friday night’s loss to Sydney between president Luke Sayers and director Craig Mathieson has led to Mathieson quitting the board.

Mark Robinson

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less than 2 min read
May 29, 2023 - 10:21AM
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom

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01:03
Pies stay top with North victory
AFL: Collingwood have remained top of the AFL ladder after defeating North Melbourne in a great showing at Marvel Stadium.
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A bust up in the Carlton rooms after Friday night’s loss to Sydney between president Luke Sayers and director Craig Mathieson has led to Mathieson quitting the board.
Mathieson was openly vocal in the rooms about his anger after yet another loss, which prompted Sayers to step in.
Sayers told Mathieson there was a time and place to express his opinion and in the rooms post-match wasn’t it.

The confrontation was seen by fellow directors as well as family and friends of players.
More Coverage
Bali drama to Brownlow chance: How De Goey’s transformedRed-hot Hawks lose inspirational skipperThe Tackle: Blues’ board tension close to boiling point
It’s understood the players were in a meeting and did not see the incident.
Mathieson quit at the weekend with his resignation accepted by the Carlton board.
 
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