So, AUL Fantasy is about to close and you still have no idea who to draft. You tried it out last year for a bit of fun, drafted a bunch of high tier players and forgot about it until you realised at the end of the season you were bottom five of the competition with a measly 2500 points (not speaking from experience).
This year, you’re going to be different, you’re going to be bold, brash, beautiful and choose the players that will get you the crown you so rightfully deserve. Well I, Matthew “Berry” Beevers, am here to help you. I’ve done the hard yards, the meticulous number-crunching [insert math lady gif]. I’ve endured hours upon hours of Microsoft Excel crashing on me because it didn’t want me to unlock the secrets of winning fantasy ultimate (or maybe just because I’m still using my university login years after graduating).
So let me be the Billy Beane to your Moneyball winning team. (Max I think I just came up with your Halibut team name for next year).
I’m a numbers man. Being able to recognise patterns using maths of human constructs like sports is cool (to me). Being able to quantify a players performance and rank them in absolutes using points is pure, unadulterated bliss. So with that in mind, let me enlighten you with some interesting take-aways from last year’s competition. Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for what you do with this information. Use at your own risk.
Last year’s winner, Christopher Waller and his “ObvDreamTeam”, finished with 6185 points picking players. He picked Kat Smith, Seb Barr, Mike Neild, Tom Tulett, Cat Phillips, Lyra Meehan, Rosie Dawson, Lochlan Wise, Alex Prentice, Petey Blakeley, Brendan Ashcroft, Georgia Egan-Griffiths.
Only 6 of his 12 players finished top ten in the league. If you picked the top 12 of the league, you would finish with a score of 7640. Obviously, some room for improvement but winning the league over 70+ other competitors is nothing to turn your nose at. But with a team cap of 10 this year, the competition promises to be a lot closer.
The womens champion
Alex Prentice of the Melbourne Flames was an absolutely standout player. She was the only woman to achieve over 100 completions and tying the goal leaderboard with Flames teammate Cat Phillips with 10 goals obviously gives enough evidence to back up her 680 point score. Unfortunately, Prentice has stepped away from the AUL this year leaving a large handler sized hole in the team. Who out of the Melbourne women will fill the shoes left by The Apprentice and become the proverbial fantasy master? Answer that question and you’re on your way to a fantasy winning team.
The mens champion
Alex Shepherd was a god amongst men last year. He topped the stat score sheet playing with the Perth Power with notable achievements of over 100 completions (1 of 5 players to do so), 3 assists, 8 goals, 6 blocks, 4 throwaways and no drops. Finishing with a total of 965 points nearly double that of his Perth Power teammate Alex Gan (500 points). Will AShep be able to herd the same amount of points to his metaphorically stat-filled paddock? Probably not but that still won’t stop me from drafting him. I don’t think he will have as a standout season with ex Brisbane Breaker Timocles Copland and newcomer Kyal Oh taking up a fair share of his touches. Consensus, Ashep will finish in the top 10. Draft him.
Curse of throwaways
Being a handler is a hard job and, of course, it's never your fault when throws don’t connect. This is true to even the elite throwers of the country. Tullett (Sydney Suns) finished 19th on the stat leaderboard even though completing the most throws of the Suns (97) but with 12 throwaways. Similar situation with Wise of the Melbourne Flames (88 completions with 10 throwaways) and Meehan of the Brisbane Breakers (95 completions with also 10 throwaways) but the biggest player the curse affected was Joel Pillar-Rogers, who finished top of the completions leaderboard with 152 but a whopping 21 throwaways. Matt Dowle and John McNaughton also finished top 3 in throwaways but made up for it with 10 and 7 blocks respectively. Bottom line: pick players who get a lot of blocks to make up for the turns!
Choose women to score goals
Of the top 5 goal scorers, 3 of them were women. Alex Prentice and Cat Phillips finishing with 10 goals each and Rosie Dawson close behind with 9. The other top two were Perth Power’s Shepherd and Eley. Interestingly even though Peter Eley finished top of the men’s goal scorers he finished bottom 5 of the men if you included the rest of his stats. Notably 7 throwaways and 5 drops.
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🚨🚨🚨 Scolding hot takes 🚨🚨🚨
With the facts out of the way, lets get down to the good stuff. The speculation and scolding hot takes that will certainly not age badly like milk. I’ll do one for each team to balance out the league.
Georgia Egan-Griffiths: With Prentice gone who will top the women's stats chart? The Notorious GEG will break top 10 after just missing out last year.
Ash McInnes: Most of the Power women had a quiet season stats wise. They were the only team to not have one in the top 10. Things are going to change now thanks to one East Coast import Ash McInnes, coming off her international debut with the Barramundis and Ellipsis at US Open. Would not surprise to see her at the top of the board with a high number of blocks.
Kya Wiya: Sydney added three very strong & new (to the AUL) women to the team (Holly Reeve and Sarah Perkins). But Kya coming off her first u24s campaign carried the Bottles with 13 assists and 15 goals from 11 games. Ultiworld even singled her out after describing the bottles as her team in their recap against USA. I have no doubt she will continue to dominate the scoring board.
Tom Deller: new team, new dream. Tied 2nd on blocks last year, the Bluebottle alumni might be enough to bring the dragons from a winless season. Expect big plays and bigger celebrations.
Loughlin Murphy: Finished middle of the pack with the Dragons. Back where he belongs Murph will without question finish top 10 this year. #8str8
Scott Perry: Fastest man on sand and coming off his international debut with the Goannas Scott Perry will be top 5 of goals.
Anyway good luck and take all this information with a grain of salt! A grain so large that you start choking, only to wash it down with a glass of sweet victory after finishing top 3 of the AUL fantasy leaderboard! The top spot is obviously going to be my team, the Frisbeevers, but wishing you the best for second :)
Sign up for an AUL membership today to see all my extremely cold takes come to fruition and prove that next year you should be writing this article not me.