There is one part of the AFL Supercoach season that every competitor dreads: the bye rounds.
For four consecutive rounds in June, the 18 AFL teams will each have one match off – meaning you will likely be missing a chunk of players when selecting your squad.
However, with the rules slightly adjusted for these rounds, you can develop a strategy that allows you to excel during the byes and get the jump on your less-prepared opponents.
Sporting News takes you through the bye rounds, adjusted rules and how to prepare a successful strategy.
What are the AFL Supercoach bye round rules?
During rounds 12, 13, 14 and 15, each AFL team will have a bye once over the period – meaning up to six sides a week will be missing from action.
In usual Supercoach weeks, your ‘best 22’ of your squad of 30 will score points – but during the bye rounds only your ‘best 18’ will score, making it easier to field a team despite the player absence carnage.
Every Supercoacher is given 36 trades to use across the season – of which two can be used each week – except during the bye rounds, you’re allowed to use three to help with your bye strategy.
However, up to five times during an individual round per season, you can activate a ‘Trade Boost’ which will allow you to use an extra trade that week.
This means you can use three trades in weeks you usually have two, and four trades when you usually have three in bye rounds – but all trades come out of your 36 total.
How to prepare a bye strategy?
Having a successful bye period can make-or-break your season and there is a good chance many of your opponents won’t think about this period until it’s much closer.
When you pick your squad to start the season, you will select premiums to be your top individual scorers for the whole season.
This is where you can get an advantage – by ensuring that you spread your premium selections out among the teams as much as possible and also try not to pick too many from the same bye period.
A balanced selection strategy of premiums prior to the season starts will also mean it will be easier to trade in any premium once the season starts because your won’t upset your distribution of players across the bye period too much.
You don’t need to take this into consideration too much when selecting your rookies and cash cows in pre-season but as the game progresses closer to the byes, you must ensure you don’t unbalance your team significantly.
It’s worth noting that the 12-to-16 trades you can use through the bye period do allow for surgery to ensure you can field enough players. These trades can be used strategically to bring in premiums once they have already had their bye.
However, the less trades you need to use to fix your team, the more you can use to make your squad stronger for the latter stages of the season.
We’ll examine when teams and key players in the game have their bye below.
Round 12 bye – Brisbane, St Kilda, Sydney and Fremantle
- Brisbane: Lachie Neale, Hugh McCluggage, Daniel Rich, Josh Dunkley
- St Kilda: Jack Sinclair, Jack Steele, Brad Crouch, Rowan Marshall
- Sydney: Callum Mills, Luke Parker, Isaac Heeney, Chad Warner
- Fremantle: Andrew Brayshaw, Sean Darcy, Luke Ryan, Nat Fyfe
Round 13 bye – Gold Coast, Geelong
- Gold Coast: Touk Miller, Jarrod Witts, Noah Anderson
- Geelong: Tom Stewart, Mark Blicavs, Cam Guthrie, Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron, Patrick Dangerfield
Round 14 bye – Adelaide, Collingwood, Hawthorn, Essendon, Melbourne, West Coast
- Adelaide: Rory Laird, Jordan Dawson, Ben Keays, Reilly O’Brien
- Collingwood: Scott Pendlebury, Nick Daicos, Jack Crisp, Jordan De Goey, Tom Mitchell
- Hawthorn: Karl Amon, James Sicily, Dylan Moore
- Essendon: Zac Merrett, Darcy Parish, Mason Redman, Jordan Ridley
- Melbourne: Clayton Oliver, Max Gawn. Christian Petracca, Brodie Grundy, Angus Brayshaw
- West Coast: Shannon Hurn, Nic Naitanui, Luke Shuey, Dom Sheed
Round 15 bye – Carlton, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Western Bulldogs, GWS Giants, Richmond
- Carlton: George Hewett, Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh, Sam Docherty, Adam Saad
- North Melbourne: Luke Davies-Uniacke, Aaron Hall, Todd Goldstein, Jy Simpkin
- Port Adelaide: Connor Rozee, Oliver Wines, Travis Boak, Dan Houston, Zak Butters
- Western Bulldogs: Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae, Tim English, Tom Liberatore, Bailey Dale, Bailey Smith
- GWS: Josh Kelly, Stephen Coniglio, Tom Green, Isaac Cumming
- Richmond: Dustin Martin, Shai Bolton, Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, Nick Vlastuin, Tom Lynch, Daniel Rioli
Final word on the byes
Don’t panic. There is only so much planning you can do.
But by being aware of your team structure heading in the bye periods, it can give you a significant advantage over others who don’t have a plan.
And that could make all the difference for the success of your season.