Saturday, 25 June 2016

AFL Supercoach

If you've just arrived in Australia, like me, a good way of getting into AFL is to get into its Fantasy League - Supercoach:

I came in incredibly naive and so am doing very badly. So, here's an idiot (me) giving my thoughts on how to be competitive. This is not designed to be comprehensive or useful, just stuff I've learnt because I only understood this stuff halfway through the season!

- $10m to pick 30 players
- 8 defenders, 11 midfielders, 3 rucks, 8 forwards
- 22 of your players will play every week, the rest will be on your bench. You also pick 'emergencies' from your bench who will play if players in your team don't play.
- you pick a captain every week, they score double points. You also pick a vice captain who will get double points if your captain doesn't play
- 30 trades a season
- very broadly points are allocated by involvement in the game. It's not number of goals (though that does help).
- you can change your team within a week, however, when they play, they are locked in.

Note, this is not the best strategy, but it is one which will get you competitive:
- do your research. Look up websites for who the best players.
- pick 10 or so high priced players ($500k+) which websites are recommending. These are 'play 'em and leave 'em'. Spread them across the positions.
- pick 5 or so players that you 'just like the name of' at around $300k - after all, it's your team!
- pick 5 or so mid-priced players which websites are recommending for cash generation (see below).
- the remaining 10 players, make them cheap ($100k-$200k) but also make sure they start in round 1. Or they start in the future, as only 22 make it in your team. It's okay if you have money remaining.
Think about 'Dual Position Players' (I.e. Eligible for more than one position) - this gives you flexibility, as you can only pick a certain number of players in one position.

- the aim for the first half or so of the season is to make as much money as possible. Your aim is to increase that starting group of 10 high priced players to 15 or so. To do that you are doing a series of 2 trades - one downgrading a player who's just made you lots of money, then using that money to upgrade a mid-priced player to a high priced player. That will use 10 of your trades up to week 10 or so.
- you will also be dealing with your issues i.e. injuries. Expensive players who are injured for a decent length of time are worth downgrading. This will use 5 or so of your trades at the start.
- in the middle of the season there is a series of 'bye rounds'. Lots of teams won't play, but your top 18  will count. You get 3 trades a week to help navigate these, use them if you need to.
- that will leave you with around 6-8 trades left. Use them only if teams rest players for the end of the season.
- look at other teams for ideas if you wish - obviously they're more experienced than you!
- don't worry if a player doesn't get picked - rotation is common. If he's just dropped - that's a problem.

- you can decide to be put in a head to head league with your mates. Do it, but don't worry about being tactical about it. Just see if you get more points or not.
- it's a 18 team league, top 16 qualify for the finals. Don't worry too much about it, you're just getting started.

This is the only frustrating thing about Supercoach. It's fine if teams win because they have better players, but the loopholes are frustrating if you don't know them. Here are the two worth knowing:
1) The Captain Loophole.
Put your Captain as someone good playing late in the week, and your Vice Captain as someone who
is playing early in the week. If your Vice Captain gets 120+ points, change your Captain to someone on your team who isn't playing, then your Captain becomes your Vice Captain.
2) The Bench Loophole
Put someone who isn't playing, but playing NOT EARLY in your team, have someone playing EARLY in the round as an emergency in the position on the bench, and someone playing LATE in the round on the bench as well. If your bench player does well (around 80 points+) do nothing and he will score. If he doesn't do well then bring your other bench person on, and he will get the points, not the bench player,

Have fun! It's great to cheer for certain players.


Just a short note on the Brexit - the biggest move in a generation.

I am in the Remain camp, and was very proud when my parents voted Remain. However, I understand why the Leave camp won. Certainly since the GFC, things have not been great economically in the UK. And we've been consistently told by the government it's because of immigrants. The opposition is also saying immigration is a problem.  And no doubt leaving the EU will impact immigration. Whether it's good or bad, it is a change which may be good. We've also continually been told that the EU is the fault of a lot of things. You can't change that overnight.

It has highlighted the divide between London and the rest of the regions, which was always there but never depicted so starkly. The 'London bubble' needs to be spread more around the UK.

Politically, we're in a bit of a mess. We now will have a new PM which half of the population will blame for this. The opposition leader will never win the election due to the same infighting which caused the referendum in the first place - let's be clear, none of the electorate was interested in this vote, just a few right wing politicians. It was such a complex topic it should never have come to a vote - certainly not this way. There is criticism of the lukewarm Labour campaign - but frankly I'm not surprised, this was hardly a decision of their making. And the rest of Europe is ready to pounce.

So, what of the silver linings? Let me offer a few:
- it MIGHT have been the right decision. Like when you put a bet on a casino, it may turn up red. Unfortunately we will never be able to say for certain as wherever we go, we may be better in Remain - and however bad it may get, the Leave backers could say it would be worse in the EU. The subsequent impact on the EU will only prove to Leave backers that they were right. There is certainly tunnel vision on both sides of this;
- clearly there were a lot of lies spread around this. Perhaps this will result in a new, truth based politics. Hopefully there will be a push for politicians to be more formally more accountable for their actions and promises.
- social media was very prominent in this decision and the debate. This will cause a lot more people to be interested in politics, and a new wave of young politicians against this 'old boy' politics.

I look forward to seeing the new wave of role models coming through, people who are not seen as slimy and dishonest - politicians with integrity.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

One week in Sydney and one week in Melbourne...

So I thought I'd share itineraries (and a couple of thoughts) about things to do in Melbourne and Sydney, inspired by the itineraries I used for my family when they came to Australia. Use these if you wish!


Day 1 : Explore area where the hotel is. Enjoy some of the food!
Day 4 : 1 day trip to Sydney Harbour, taking in the Opera House and the bridge. Go to whatever show is on there!
Day 5 : Sydney zoo -
Day 6 : Explore Darling Harbour, Botanic Gardens and whatever art museums you like
Day 7 : Blue Mountains.

Do Blue Mountains on a Sunday - it takes a while to get to, but transport is maximum $2.50 on a Sunday.
Do a sporting event on a Saturday.


Day 1 : Explore area where the hotel is. Enjoy some of the food!
Day 2 : Take a free city sightseeing walk. They are either in the morning or in the afternoon.
Day 3 : 1 day Great Ocean Road tour. I used Melbourne Coastal Tours - which went well.
Day 4 : 1 day Philip Island tour. I used Little Penguin Bus, this was probably the highlight of the trip.
Day 5 : Neighbours tour. Only do this if you're a diehard fan, it was really pretty poor. Not really engaging (watching a DVD isn't really what you want) and the street is quite disappointing.
Day 6 : Heide museum, it's a lovely day out and has lots of grass. OR Scienceworks for the science in you
Day 7 : Shopping at DFO, South Wharf (for factory prices).


Sunday, 7 February 2016

New York

So here's a 'top 5' New York things based on our experience over Xmas:

1) Whitney - - it's an art gallery, but what puts it above other galleries is the dynamism, the pieces are modern and more exciting.
2) Benjamin's - - it is the best steakhouse in New York, very melt in your mouth!
3) Birdland Jazz - - for a great jazz night out, very intimate.
4) Shoes of Prey - - not for me, and not in New York, but a short bus ride away. Design your own shoes!
5) Plaza Hotel food hall - - there's just lists of yummy options, in particular desserts!

There's lots more, as well as things we didn't enjoy as much. However, the above would lead to a fun and varied trip!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Macedon Ranges wine festival

I went to the Macedon Ranges Wine Festival ( ), and it was great fun! Apart from beautiful views, it allowed me to experience the different types of wine experiences:

1) 'the cellar door' - enjoying wine in the premed is surrounded by the barrels
2) 'the farm view' - drinking wine in some lovely farm gardens
3) 'the mountain view' - picking a lovely spot on the hills to have wine overlooking the city
4) 'the garden view' - like a garden party, with the great atmosphere it attracts as well.

A wine tour is a fun way to experience these, as well as see what tastes you like. A special mention to Holgate Brewhouse ( ) as well, where we went for dinner and was fantastic!

AFL special

So, over September I experienced Aussie rules football, catching the whole finals as well, as well as enjoying my adopted team win the final. Although I still don't quite understand the rules, here's a few thoughts to change things up:

1) Those shorts are just too short. Either make them longer or make them cycling shorts.
3) Double points in the last few minutes - admittedly this be a bit unusual but it's a high scoring game anyway, why not keep people there interested in the result til the end?

That said, the Grand Final week was certainly an experience and people really love it here. I caught the post-match concert which was great fun.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Movie weekend (I-Lived and Umrika)

Last weekend was movie weekend - I decided to try a couple of unusual films and see if I liked them.


Ever had one of those dreams which didn't quite make sense, and then you thought, 'Hey, I'm going to tell everyone about it in a movie?' That's why I thought coming out of I-Lived.

The principle is that the main protagonist an app reviewer. He tries an app called I-Lived which promises to improve your life. You enter your goal and it gives you things to do to achieve it. He gets what he wants and then wants to stop, but then bad things start happening. He realises that 'I-Lived' is 'Devil-I' backwards (not really a spoiler). He realises he's now owned and does the increasingly twisted things. There is a laughable speech at the end.

So there was only 5 people in the cinema for this movie including myself. 2 walked out (I assume because it was so bad). The other 2 guys were saying it was a poor film, but debating the hotness of the girlfriend:

Me? Just didnt get the film.


This is a Hindi movie about a brother who goes to investigate when his older brother, who has travelled to America, stops sending letters back home to India. It is in Hindi with English subtitles.

I don't really want to go into too much more but it is a great movie - very emotional, and going into family and love. It's less than 2 hours as well! It's one of those movies which does show a lot of beautiful scenery as well. Its a good Sunday afternoon movie, there are some surprises as well so it's not a predictable movie.

I found out after that the actors in the movie had also been in big films such as Life of Pi, Grand Budapest Hotel and Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It does show as a well-acted movie, where the emotion and atmosphere does come through. One thing I didn't realise though until 15 minutes in is that 'Umrika' is Hindi for 'America'. That's my fault though.

NEXT TIME: AFL SPECIAL - a Brits' view on the whole thing. And some suggestions on how to improve the sport.