Wednesday 30 January 2013

NRL 2013: 5 Key Dream Team Tips

NRL Dream Team is back... 5 things you need to know.

2013 NRL Premiership

By W D Nicolson - January 30, 2013

Photoshop gold was the by-product of the establishment of in 2012

As some readers of know, this writer was moonlighting at in 2012 as 'The Postman' - delivering NRL Dream Team advice on a daily basis for those troubled DT-addicted masses.

While 'The Postman' may have a new official home in 2013 for DT prognostication - more on that as it comes to hand - here are 5 Key Tips you need to consider taking your first pass at your NRL Dream Team squad for this season.

There'll be 5 more NRL Dream Team tips next week, and these generally apply to NRL Super Coach as well.

1. The reason players are top dollar is because they are the top performers.
Those players who pass the $350k mark are generally worth it. If Cameron Smith is listed at $533,200 and Paul Gallen is $514,500 - then you can expect them to be worth that investment.
Simply put the most expensive players do the job - barring injury.
In fact of all the 91 players above $300k - you can argue that only Masada Iosefa and Chad Townsend (and maybe Corey Norman if he's relegated to a sub-role with Scott Prince's arrival) look incapable of replicating their 2012 form due to lack of regular first grade opportunities/game time.
While Josh Jackson, Nathan Peats, Nathan Friend and Dane Gagai are 50/50 propositions to do the same ppg's (points per game) as last season.
The Postman's Mail: So make sure your team has some star power and isn't a bunch of mid-range niff nuffs but spend that marquee money wisely.
2. Get clued in on the Rookies/Youngsters who will get a crack come Round 1 and plug them into your cheap slots.
Two seasons ago it was Daly Cherry-Evans and last year it was Adam Reynolds - but who is the young gun (or two or three) that will turn your minimal investment into golden DT output?
There isn't a standout right now, but there are a few names worth putting into your Little DT Book... not that they are going to be revealed in this article however.
Just keep an ear out for the 'can't miss prospect' as Round 1 approaches and then plug them in when they've got that first grade spot sewn up.
The Postman's MailBe sure to add starting rookies/youngsters if they get named for Round 1 ahead of rookies you thought would get a go in February. Remember, a lot of people got burnt by Tautau Moga's lack of first grade action for months last year...
3. Look for players who played sparingly the previous season and pounce if they are under-priced entering 2013.
There are always a group of these players you can find if you look hard enough - generally from about $150-$300k - with the guys down around $150k sometimes worth about $200-$250k, and the $250-$300k guys might be pushing $400k at their best.
Generally a player who gets injured early in the season is a prime candidate to be cheaper the following year, while some fringe first graders entering 2012 might be about to get a permanent starting spot in 2013.
The Postman's MailIt's not that hard to spot the DT value if you look hard enough. One easy way to find a player who is under-priced is to look at the top end of each position and think to yourself - who should be here but isn't?
If you can find a player who fits that bill in every position then you should be laughing...
4. Don't be stubborn - if your plan isn't working, CHANGE it.
Everyone has some sort of pre-season plan when it comes to finally breaking through and having that awesome DT season. But beware, any plan needs to evolve to fit the flow of the game - it is almost impossible to expect your pre-Round 1 squad to do the job throughout the season, and even those who plan ahead with upgrades etc - sometimes you need to adjust to those players with the 'hot-hand' and not get caught out ignoring runs on the board. Josh Reynolds was a clear example of this in 2012 - he was in a difficult position to make room for him in (Hooker - so if you wanted Cameron Smith and Robbie Farah you couldn't have Reynolds) but he just kept pumping out big scores and became either the perfect upgradeable player or a gun addition as your backup hooker to Smith, Farah or maybe Issac Luke.
The Postman's MailWhile you will invariably miss out on the key cheap performer here and there - don't let yourself fall behind when a Cash Cow/rapidly rising in value player is staring you in the face at an affordable rate.
5. Put aside some time for DT ever other day during the week, rather than trying to do it all on Friday if you want to be competitive.
Make no mistake - succeeding at Dream Team takes a fair bit of luck but it also takes a fair bit of your time during the year.
You can't expect to be competitive with the big guns in your league (or overall) if you don't touch your team week to week, or just make cosmetic changes to your captain and lineup without looking at trends or injuries regarding your players or free agents not in your lineup.
The easiest solution to the time problem is this: Check your NRL Dream Team regularly.
By regularly - we're talking daily, or at least two or three times from Tuesday when the weekly lineups are named through to Friday afternoon.
The Postman's MailYes time is a precious commodity but if you regulate the time you spend on NRL Dream Team by breaking it into short bursts - you'll keep in the loop and competitive.
So here on we want to hear from you:
What are the tips you'd give to people starting out in NRL Dream Team or who are trying to take the next step and improve their performances from last year?
Comment below or reply and 
While performance in NRL Dream Team doesn't equate directly to wins and losses for an individual's team - can a perennial DT star like Corey Parker make his mark in the 2013 @NRLTweet Player of the Year Awards?

The Voting Panel for the 2012 @NRLTweet POTY (won by Ben Barba) and @NRLTweet Player of September (won by Cooper Cronk) were:
Benjamin Hoese, Craig Buchanan, Greg Delaney, Justin Davies, Maria Tsialis, Matt Spillane, Matt Vickers, Matthew Duncan, Michael McLucas, Nigel Wilbow, Adrian McMurray, Matt Trodden and Warrick Nicolson.

Thanks to everyone for their time and efforts during the 2012 season - hopefully we should be back again in 2013!

Remember you can track all the votes each week after each match in 2013 via the Twitter hashtag #nrltweetpoty