Melbourne-based gym manager Blake Young came within a whisker of last year’s SuperCoach BBL top 10 and the elusive $1,000 cash prize, falling short in 11th. He explains how he did and what went wrong at the end.
He was left ruing his decision to overlook an obscure Melbourne Stars player. That shouldn’t detract from a well-planned and executed SuperCoach campaign from 25-year-old Blake who loves a spreadsheet.
A serial fantasy player across all sports including AFL, NRL, Racing, NBL, NFL and EPL, the Melbourne Stars fan and Kew resident was willing to reflect on his near-top 10 finish and share his philosophy with Honeyball.
HB: Firstly tell us about your 11th place finish last year?
Blake: Going into the Grand final I was sitting around 13-14th on the overall table and we weren’t even sure if the match was going to go ahead because of heavy rain forecast. I was at a mate’s engagement party in a pub beer garden cheering on every run and ball with a few of my mates who knew how much I had on the line. The player who I should have selected in the semi-final and Grand Final was Nick Larkin (I dubbed him ‘F**kin Larkin’). I was too stubborn in my approach and don’t really like to select batters who bat at number four to six and don’t bowl. He was heroic for the Stars in their finals series and costly for my SuperCoach season when I fell about 12 points short of 10th place and a $1,000 prize.
HB: Cruel to fall short! Were you up the top from the start too?
Blake: I was up near the top of the rankings for most of the season. By about Round 5 I was in the top 100. In Round 6, through pre-planning, I had Marsh, Livingstone and Inglis on a Scorchers double game round and they delivered so I moved up 84 placings to number nine and then for the rest of the season I was floating around the top 10-50 rankings for the majority of the season. Having that high ranking early on gave that extra motivation to keep focused on my SuperCoach team for the whole season. Some people thought the season was too long but gee I loving every match because I always had someone playing from my team.
HB: What do you think went right for you? Luck/strategy?
Blake: One move which paid off early was not selecting an expensive Marcus Stoinis to start. There was news that he wasn’t going to bowl and for me this meant that he really had to perform with the bat and at that price it was too risky. I picked him up much cheaper right as he started bowling again and he produced some big scores.
HB: Any other success story in terms of trades you made?
Blake: The main moves I made that paid off for the majority of the season was having the gun all-rounders in my team at the right time, players that were strong in one area of the game but also chipped in for some extra points, even players like Sean Abbott, Mitch Marsh, Tom Curran and Daniel Sams were taking catches or making runs as well as taking wickets late in the game. Once I could afford to have them all they stayed in my side for the most part of the season and I filled in the gaps with quality international players and double game round players.
I did like to select players that bowled in the final overs in particular because even though their economy might of taken a hit, they were always bound to take a wicket or two with the batsman playing risky shots or tail enders to mop up. The introduction of a few new rules might change my strategy a bit for that approach.
I got pretty lucky with my Melbourne Stars players. I got Rauf and Hilton Cartwright early at bargain prices and they played important roles for my cash generation and points throughout the season.
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