We are now a week out from the first Team List Tuesday and among the wreckage of preparing version 2,098 of your fantasy team you might have missed some important news on TLT announcements this season. If you didn’t miss it, still read on because we’ll talk about how it might impact fantasy this year.
The news was first mentioned by Roy Marsters in the Sydney Morning Herald a few weeks ago, but it was although it gave the broad outline it lacked some specifics and was enough to send the heebie jeebies through some fantasy coaches (ok, just me). But this week David Riccio at the Daily Telegraph filled out the gaps. Here’s what TLT and team announcements is going to look like:
- On a Tuesday every side will name a squad of 21 players;
- This 21 man squad will contain 17 players in named positions (this was the past omitted in the SMH story) and up to four further reserves;
- Coaches will be permitted to cut their squad back to 19 players 24 hours prior to kick off (I’ve stressed the word permitted because that word suggests they don’t have to);
- The final 17-man run-on side will be announced one hour before kick-off consistent with prior years;
- Any players outside of the named 21 are ineligible, although an exemption can be granted by the NRL, if for example a side has numerous injuries picked up in training. And further exemptions exist around State of Origin time.
The change is primarily a response to allegations that late team changes were screwing with betting markets, personally I couldn’t care less about betting markets and I think the issue was somewhat over blown. However, the changes should be of benefit to NRL Fantasy coaches and they let us keep our treasured and time honoured tradition of Team List Tuesday. So it is probably a win for everyone.
In round 1 last season three teams that ran out 1 through 17, three more played the same 17 named on TLT but shifted round one player from the bench to start, seven teams played someone named outside the top 17 and three teams played two players outside of the top 17. Extending the squads to 21 still allows all those scenarios to occur but the main benefit is we at least get to narrow down the pool of potential players that can come into the squad. If only one hooker is in the named 21, you can be fairly certain he’s running out come game time.
Although teams don’t have to name 21 players it is in their best interest to so they will. Naming 21 players didn’t happen frequently last season, and it was rare that teams would name four players outside their original 17 (scanning through I couldn’t see any instances last season) so it is possible that this could led to match day 17’s looking less like the TLT 17 then they have in past years but at least you’ll have an idea on where those changes might come from. In the past you could easily have been blind sided.
After a few weeks we’ll probably have a fair idea on how coaches are using this in practice but a couple of points to consider:
- A debuting rookie in the named 17 will more than likely play. With the media responsibilities and other surrounding hype coaches have always been loath to name a player for a debut and not play them. But the reverse can also be true. There were a few players last season that debuted from outside of the TLT 17.
- Players with uncertain roles that play in the Sunday games are risky, although that’s always been the case – if you had Richie Kennar last season you would have been screwed when he was replaced by Cam Munster an hour before kick-off. In round 1 this year the Sea Eagles and Eels are the last game and both have potentially uncertain hooker spots that have potential fantasy appeal. Don’t get caught out guessing here, if there is reliable information then sure, but you’re taking a risk.
- It should go without saying but don’t get excited by the youngsters named in jerseys 18-21 until you see that side an hour before kick-off. In round 1 in particular this will be ghost cow central.