Lone Scout: Which strategy will work for you?

I don't know about you, but I’m like a kid at Christmas right now! The footy season is upon us and we finally get to fully immerse ourselves in not only our teams and their quest for an NRL premiership, but also our Dream Teams and their quest for glory. But this begs a pretty crucial question… just what are your Dream Team goals?<br><br>Are you trying to win a fantastic new Toyota by beating every single other entrant in this competition? Or are you just trying to take out your personal leagues against your mates, colleagues, family or even complete strangers? <br><br>It is an important question, because each requires a different strategy and your decision needs to be made now if you have not made it already.<br><br>If you are trying to take out the big prize, you need to be set and ready to go by tomorrow (Friday) night, as each and every week counts. Your recruiting needs to have been sound and you need to have not only covered yourself with good players but you must also consider what might happen when teams have byes and rep players are pulled from the NRL competition. Will you have enough players on the bench to cover your stars? <br><br>Remember, you can only make two trades per week and you only get a total of 30 trades all season, so your initial squad has to have some intuition on players who may come from nowhere to impress. <br><br>As far as trades go, the only reason you might trade in the opening three rounds is if someone in your squad suffers a season-ending injury, or if they prove just dreadful. Values of players won’t shift until after Round 3, as you need to have played three games to shift up or down. <br><br>Of course, if you can pre-empt that a player of yours is about to drop dramatically in price, it might be wise to ‘sell, sell, sell’ before his value drops and you lose out on the trade. However, if he is doing better than his average, but not as good as you would like, maybe try to hold on until he is adjusted and then reap the benefits of the added cash.<br><br>Take a good look at your squad… how many will play in Origin? How many do you have from one particular club? If they have a bye, can you cover them with others, or do you have too many players from clubs who have the byes in the same week? <br><br>Are you banking on someone like David Stagg, who was awesome last year, forgetting he will most likely take over Dallas Johnson’s Queensland lock position? (I know, I know, it gets complicated… but coaching isn’t easy… it’s a stressful job for a reason!)<br><br>Round 9 of the NRL features just four games, which means eight clubs aren’t in action. Can your team survive that? Will you make rapid changes now so they can, or will you trade in the weeks leading up to it to get through? <br><br>One thing is obvious, to win a brand new car you have to be focused and you will have earned it!<br><br>If you are in this to simply win your league, the strategy can be much more relaxed, although it is equally as important. Head-to-head battles don’t start till round four so the opening three weeks can be used to just check out how your selected team looks, who might be good captaincy material, who might need to go, who might need to come in. <br><br>If you are clever you will have picked a handful of bargain buys or sleepers (you should have been reading my columns, but look at Ryles, Burgess, Tahu etc) and you will then trade two moneymakers between Rounds 3 and 4. Obviously, you won’t trade them if they are scoring awesome – but if they are scoring reasonably enough to have gained you cash but not well enough to be guns, hopefully a trade will secure you two more guns instead, or at least one more.<br><br>Then you will be in great position to start your league. <br><br>Also, you have the luxury of NRL bye weeks being league bye weeks, so you don’t need to worry if your side has too many Dragons, Eels, Sharks or Broncos etc. While trades won’t be AS important, they are still very valuable tools to consider – especially as things heat up towards the finals. <br><br>Don’t be afraid to take the odd punt on a young kid making his debut. He will be a low value – and if he fires, you’ll be a smart coach. If not… well, hopefully you haven’t lost too much ground for your small outlay. <br><br>There are plenty of low-cost value starters in Week One: Corey Norman, Trent Merrin, Gerard Beale, Denan Kemp and Anthony Quinn, to name a few. Remember, you can pick them but not play them, getting them at low price before it rockets up. Those of you who picked someone like Josh Dugan early last year would understand this premise. <br><br>There is one thing to be mindful of though, when it comes to bench players. It’s only a minor concern – but you do get an emergency player added into your 17 players if one of your selected players doesn’t take the field and therefore gets a zero. The score drafted in is the lowest non-zero player in your extras. So, if you have a handful of guys who score reasonable points each week not playing, you will be set – as long as you don’t also have minor bit players. Having someone who plays just 10 minutes and scores six points could in fact hurt you if he is forcibly drafted in as an emergency. Sometimes it pays to have players who don’t play first grade over those who play minimally, to ensure your emergency is one of your ‘better’ reserves.<br><br>Now on to the housekeeping.<br><br><b><a href="http://www.nrl.com/news/news/newsarticle/tabid/10874/newsid/57797/round-one-team-lists/default.aspx">Click here for the Round One Team Lists.</a></b><br><br><b><a href="http://www.nrl.com/telstrapremiership/casualtyward/tabid/10247/default.aspx">Click here to see our updated Casualty Ward.</a></b><br><br>Anyway… good luck all! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter during the season. If you don’t mind a chat, my Facebook fans have built a great range of discussion groups. If you have a question, there's a good chance it's been answered. I think my fans might just be more addicted than I am! <br><br>Also, remember you can draft me into your league if you want to… but no tears when I beat you! <br>