Lone Scout: What to do about late pull-outs?

I don’t know about you, but I certainly found myself checking the live scores even more this past weekend, now that the head-to-head competition has begun. <br><br>Plenty of you who have included me in your leagues have posted victory rants on Facebook – but I know my respectable 685 score would have taken a few of you down! Typically, those of you who have been humbled by the Scout aren’t up on your soapboxes! <br><br>With more scores posted a few more players have made some money – obviously Trent Hodkinson is a big mover this week (up $71,800) and should continue to be so in the future. Are you ready to make your trades to get some of the bargains we talked about last week?<br><br>(And, hey – while we’re on the subject of those players… I have decided to stop holding out hope for Greg Bird and have axed him. He had the perfect chance to shine without Scott Prince – but he did next to nothing. Also, while I said it was time to get ready to trade Ryan Hinchcliffe, he has been selected to start at lock again this week, so keep him while his averages allow his price to keep rising.) <br>But back to the week that was, and the biggest issue for me, and plenty of you – late pull-outs. <br><br>It was Ben Smith over at Parramatta who had me scrambling to my reserves list to see who my lowest scorer was going to be. As you should all be aware, if a player you select does not play and therefore gets zero points, your lowest scoring non-playing player will be drafted into the squad at the end of the weekend to ‘boost’ your tally. This can only be done once each week, so if you have two or three late pullouts you are in some serious trouble. <br><br>With Anthony Laffranchi another player to pull out after the lockout, some frustrations were being vented by a lot of you (and me) online. For me, it was Corey Norman’s six points which came into play – certainly not the bigger numbers I was expecting Ben Smith to score. With no reports from the clubs or media in the lead-up, you would have needed to be Nostradamus to know to bench these guys before the round. But I did warn you all this could happen, and for you to select your teams accordingly. Sometimes it is better to have guys who might never play on your bench than it is to have guys who could score very low for this reason. <br><br>Now, there have been a few suggestions online – some valid, some not as valid – as to what might be done in the future. Bear in mind the Dream Team gurus always re-evaluate things after every season, but as it stands the rules we have in place are the rules everyone is abiding by, so fairness can’t be questioned. <br><br>Some of the more interesting debate has been definite food for thought…<br><br>This from Simon Piccini: “You should be able to nominate your emergency reserve. I agree that some might manipulate their team to include only high scoring players, but it is still unjust when we lose 3-4 players each week who are nominated to play and are late scratchings. A real coach in the NRL doesn’t get told whom he can have play! Yeah, I know I am a sook…”<br><br>Simon, some might agree you are a sook – but you make a valid point, one worthy of discussion. Last season the same idea was raised but not developed. Maybe the time has come for further discussion. <br><br>Adrian Buttery continues this thought, with a twist: “You should get a nominated 18th man – but restricted so that it can only be used five times over the season. Once you've used your 18th man five times you just get your lowest-scoring emergency. Generally speaking, five times for the season should be enough. Or maybe they could make it seven?”<br><br>Ross Simpson says: “Perhaps you should be able to have as many emergencies as necessary, starting from your top point-scorer – but they only get half their score?”<br><br>Moey Arja has looked internationally to get his ‘moment of Zen’ thought: “Fantasy sports here in Australia should be done like in the USA. There is no weekly lockout. Every player is just locked out during his game. So, for instance, when Laffranchi pulled out, you’d be able to replace him with someone else in your squad.”<br><br>Do you have better ideas or comments? It would be great to hear from you all with your thoughts on how this competition could be improved in the future… BUT, perhaps we are getting worked up over nothing and we are forgetting the true nature of competitive endeavours: to have fun!<br><br>As Jay Hartcher surmises: “Ha-ha! Why all the whingeing? To start with – if you want to pick an injury-prone player, then deal with the consequences that come with it. Secondly – everyone plays by the same rules and is given the opportunity and plenty of time to pick whatever side they want. Thirdly – it's just a game: don't stress over it; enjoy it! Easy!”<br><br>Well said Jay.<br><br>Keep those comments coming on Facebook, Dream Teamers!<br>