Expert Q&A: Reigning SuperCoach champion Emily Challis on building your starting line-up

Bannockburn-based mother-of-three Emily Challis made SuperCoach history as the first female winner in 2021, and she achieved that by some margin. She said her starting line-up when a long way to setting her up for victory.


Emily, commonly known as SuperCoach Mumma, has previously had high rankings in SuperCoach but 2021 was obviously her standout year aided by nailing her starting squad.

She asked herself concerted questions on players in her starting line-up throughout pre-season, setting her up to not need to burn trades, remarkably holding one until the final day of the season.

You can also read the full Q&A with Emly in the 2022 Honeyball season guide magazine for only $9.95 via this link.

HB: Let’s focus on your starting line-up; what was the strategy behind that?

EC: As I have said before I made my team a lot slower than previous years and every player in my team had a purpose. For each player, I would mentally ask these questions.

Do you plan to keep them or are they simply a cash cow? Have they got a good role that’s SC friendly? For example, if they are a defender, do they take the kick-ins? Are they a good intercept marker? If they’re a forward do they have some mid-time minutes, some centre bounce attendances, do they kick goals? These are things that rack up the SC points. Do they have good job security? What is their injury history? Some players have a reputation of being an ‘injury prone’ player, however once you look deeper you find out there where other reasons for missing games. Is it a new club where they might get more opportunity, or is it a contract year?

Many SuperCoaches ask these questions, but before I would add players because they were popular without thinking too much about the ‘why’.

HB: In more detail, did you avoid any high-priced premos?

EC: I avoided starting Lachie Neale and Jake Lloyd which helped field a strong team. I also decided to start Sam Walsh as my M4 who was slightly cheaper than other midfielders and decided to pick Tim Taranto who was $450k.

I didn’t start Lloyd because he had some injury concerns as well as Jordan Dawson possibly taking points. Luckily Lloyd’s average dropped 15 points from the previous year to only 107 which was the same as Tom Stewart’s. Not selecting him meant more value picks which worked out ok during the year and I got one less donut when he missed a game in Round 22.

HB: Did you avoid mid-pricers?

EC: I am very selective with my mid-pricers. I avoided the Patrick Cripps and Matt Rowell picks. When I first select a side its usually very guns and rookies based, however as the season draws near it becomes obvious that a few mid-prices are required. For example, in 2021 there were not many defender rookies and a lot of value in the forward line.

I did pick a few mid-pricers, Taranto was one who wasn’t a total fail and luckily traded him before his scores dropped. Jordan Clark was probably my worst starting pick unfortunately. Butters was a good pick, however unfortunately got injured quite early. Ziebell and Jarman Impey were a success and I kept Ziebell right up to almost the end and traded Impey at his peak price.

HB: What was important for you when it came to starting rooks who are always tough to pick?

EC: Good question? A crystal ball? I look at the similar things that I mentioned above when talking about selecting players for my starting team. I love a mature age body, or a mature player ideally with a few years in the system. They are usually more ready to start playing Round 1, less likely to get dropped and can have more impact on the field.

Role and job security is obviously very important and usually go hand in hand. Some rookies can be moved around the field and a lot of them end up in the forward pocket, which not ideal at all. Obviously looking at their stats playing in the state run leagues but sometimes this can be misleading, if they switch roles.

You can also read the full Q&A with Emly in the 2022 Honeyball season guide magazine for only $9.95 via this link.

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