Early Season Help




Working your way through the early rounds


You are advised to read “Pre Season analysis” in this same section first.

Having done that, you should have arranged your teams in order of ranking.


Part 1: Your tipping profile

Part 2:  How to survive the first few weeks


Part 1: Your tipping profile

Now you need to consider briefly what type of player you are.

Footy tipping is a game of risk and reward.  Do you just want to be as high up as possible at the end of the year (picking boring, predictable results)?  Would you like to be a hero and pick a huge outsider and be correct?  Do you select your own team each week?  And how tough is it is face the maddening crowd (Simon, Justin + othersJ) of your tipping comp when you do badly?  Answer these questions and you may know what type of tipster you are.


1.  Picks own team each week.

These tipsters tend to do badly.  They are the most likely also to have huge biases against per hate teams (EG pick Port to win and Crows to lose every week).  Generally, these tipsters don’t win the end of year prizes (unless they were Saints fans in 2009).  However, when there is a tasty weekly prize and the tipster’s team is lowly rated, something strange can happen.  They continue to pick their own team and, one day, they cause a huge upset (like the Eagles beating the Dogs in Melbourne last year). When this happens, they have a big chance of scooping the weekly prize.


2. Predictable tipster who goes for favourites.

These ones tend to finish in the upper echelon of the tipping comps. They generally tend NOT to win weekly prizes – because when they pick eight winners so does scores of other tipsters.  But if they are in it for the long haul, it is generally a good strategy.  Their nerve often gets tested late in the season if they are a few games off the pace.  Do they continue to go conservative?  Or try to catch up?


3. Workplace hero tipster.

Generally likes to talk about footy (don’t we all?) and wants to call the big upset correctly. These tipsters look like a hero occasionally and like a goose at other times (not that there is anything wrong with geese).  Expect this tipster to be rarely in the top section of the footy tipping comps.  But they have a higher chance than most of getting a weekly prize.


4. Don’t care too much tipster.

When one of these wins something, the “real” tipsters are seriously peeved!  These tipsters may be smarter than they realise.  They tend not be hugely biased and are less likely to cry over a bad round of tipping.  The down side is that they may miss something obvious (Judd is out suspended and Fev has left the club, for example) which may cost them.


5.  The genuine analyst tipster.

This is the one best suited to reading this website.  Closely aligned to the workplace hero tipster but tries to strike a balance between the outlandish and the boring.  It may take years of study and understanding to succeed at being an analyst, but the rewards at the end can be most satisfying.


Next, know your footy tipping comp (refer explanations of AFL, Herald Sun and The Age tipping comps in the Footy Analysis Wisdom section) so that you can adjust your methods to suit the game.


Having identified yourself as one or two of the above, you now need to learn to live with yourself, or commit to changing yourself to a better type of tipster.  Or, as the writer does, you can take one approach in one tipping comp and another approach in a different comp.  You can tip one margin in game one for one comp and a different margin in the other comp.  The choice is yours.


Part 2: How to survive the first few weeks

The early season tipping (about weeks 1 – 6) is a bit different from later on.  There is no ladder initially.  The ladder only begins to take shape from week 7 onwards.  Weird results can be harder to understand.  Let’s say that the Eagles beat the Lions in Brisbane by 10 goals in round 1.  Are the Eagles good?  Or the Lions bad?  Or was it a one-off event like the flu or some game plan that went horribly wrong?   Now let’s put that into round 21 this year.  By then, you know the teams and how they are travelling.  If the Lions are secure in 4th spot on the ladder and the Eagles 12th, it would be clearly treated as a one-off event.  Perhaps the Lions are resting players for the finals.  They may have been due for a loss etc.


8 rules for early season:


1.  In tennis, you can lose a grand slam in week one.  Not so in Footy Tipping.  Don’t panic because of one bad week.  No need to do anything drastic.  Keep calm.  If you are a good tipster, a deficit of 3 or 4 is not so bad.  In round 22, a deficit of 3 or 4 is a big deal!!!


2. Know how each team is placed regarding injuries beginning round one (see 2010 team previews section).


3.  Rank your teams by goal difference.  As a guide, the best team would be ranked (on neutral territory) as up to 10 goals better than the worst.  My early season rankings (taking into account injuries) is as follows:


Saints              10

Dogs                10

Pies                  9

Cats                 8

Lions               7

Blues               7

Port                 7

Dons                6

Eagles              6

Freo                 5

North               5

Hawks             5*

Crows              5*

Swans              5

Tigers              4

Dees                1*


* marked lower due to injuries


So, given all else is equal, you may expect the Saints to beat the Swans by 5 goals in round 1 (this does not take into account home ground advantage).


4.  A lowly ranked team that gets flogged in round 1 is generally destined for a shocking year (EG Tigers in 2009 – 83 point loos to the Blues and then finished 15th; Melbourne in 2008 – 104 point loss to Hawthorn in round 1 and then won the spoon).  So keep tipping them to lose – at least early on.


5.  One Swallow does not make a North Melbourne team.  And one good win should not cause you to overrate a team.  If a team has genuinely improved, your pre season homework should have picked that up.


6.  Don’t be too quick to re-rank a team.  Wait until week 4 at least and then amend your rankings.

7. Keep an eye on injuries.  Does a club that is having a shocking run suddenly have heaps of injuries?  Or an improving club had a few stars come back in and start doing well after a game or two under their belts?


8. Be prepared to admit it when you make a mistake.  If you don’t rate a team but they keep winning, don’t be stubborn.  The best tipsters will do this from time to time.  If you don’t admit a mistake, your season can be looking grim by round 7.