At last, another NRL season is almost upon us. Jamal Idris has moved to the Panthers, Ben Barba has become a Bronco, Will Hopoate is lining up with the Eels and I, the Lone Scout, have teamed up with Holden NRL Fantasy, the newest, best and only official fantasy game of the National Rugby League.
It's the game you know and love from seasons gone by, only better. The scoring system is essentially the same as it was in 2013, with two key differences that reflect the growing importance of fullbacks in the modern game: try saves will now be awarded with five points, and defusing a bomb or a grubber will now earn a player one point. Apart from some other minor tweaks the scoring is otherwise the same as it was last season.
The game will launch in one week, on January 24.
If you're new to fantasy footy, here's how it works. You sign up for free and pick a 25-man squad, staying under the salary cap. Every player is allocated a price, based on how they are expected to score each week. Points are allocated based on how each player performs – they are awarded points for things like tries, try assists, tackles and run metres, and lose points for errors, penalties and sin-bins. Players score points for your team, and you can make trades during the season to improve your squad.
You can play in a head-to-head league against colleagues, friends and family – taking on a different rival each week in a bid to make your league's finals series at the end of the season. You can also play in an unlimited competition against as many people as you like, and battle against every other player in the game for cash prizes.
The overall winner takes out $20,000 in cash thanks to Holden plus an NRL Grand Final experience, while there are also $500 weekly prizes, club champion prizes, Test and Origin mini-games and more.
The new game looks slicker and is easier to play than ever before. You can now pick your starting squad and play the entire game on your smart phone thanks to the official NRL Fantasy App. You can shuffle your dual-position players as much as you like when trading, making full use of your utility players. And the game has the official approval of the NRL – complete with player headshots, club logos, and integration on NRL.com.
What else is new in NRL Fantasy this season:
- Play in an unlimited number of NRL Fantasy Classic leagues
- Play in multiple NRL Fantasy Draft leagues
- Players can be allocated a second position during the season, to match the position they play at club level
- Your captain and vice captain must be locked in at the start of a round – ending last season's "captaincy loophole"
What extras are available to Fantasy Coach subscribers:
- Get break evens and predicted scores for every player, every week
- See the most popular trades each week
- League creators with NRL Fantasy Coach can change the number of teams in their head-to-head leagues, and choose which week to start their league on and whether to play on bye rounds
- Create up to five NRL Fantasy Draft leagues
2014 Holden NRL Fantasy scoring system
- Try: 8 points
- Goal: 2 points
- Field Goal: 5 points
- Try Assist: 5 points
- Line Break: 4 points
- Line Break Assist: 2 points
- Tackle Break: 3 points
- Offload: 2 points
- 40/20 kick: 4 points
- Tackle: 1 point
- Try Save: 5 points
- Kick Defused: 1 point
- Missed tackle: -2 points
- Penalty conceded: -2 points
- Error: -2 points
- Metres Gained: Total metres run divided by 10
- Kick Metres: Total Metres gained kicking divided by 20
- Sin-Bin: -5 points
- Send-Off: -10 points