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Plenty of dreaming, but mad scramble shows reality is here

Sydney Morning Herald

Friday March 25, 2011

Sebastian Hassett

IF YOU‚„RE anything like me, the last few hours before last night‚„s season opening clash between Carlton and Richmond were spent frantically making some last-minute adjustments to your Toyota AFL Dream Team. However, for those of you who haven‚„t entered a team, don‚„t despair ‚€ś it‚„s still not too late to enter the competition or even join the SMH league. And who knows, perhaps round one will provide potentialmanagers with all the answers they‚„ll need to build a winning team.Either way, it seemed half the known cyber-world was logging on to AFL.com.au to change their teams and make some final additions. I was certainly one of team, scrambling to bring in several players I wasn‚„t initially expecting to pick.Most crucially, I dumped Gary Ablett. Crazy? Perhaps, but I‚„ve replaced him with Scott Pendlebury and, I confess, do intend to bring him in as soon as he gets some match fitness under his belt. But given Gold Coast miss this first week with the bye, I don‚„t think I was alone in going cold on a couple of Suns players. However, I‚„m sure the rush will be on from next week. There will be lots of nervous players over the weekend watching how their teams will go first up and hoping for a big-scoring start. But don‚„t be despondent if your team doesn‚„t start with a bang.Nobody has led theDream Team competition from start to finish, and even in your own private league, a rusty beginning can be quickly forgotten. Just make sure you monitor what‚„s happening with each of the 17 teams and whether you can claw back some ground.So, some final advice? Choose your captain wisely, for he earns double points. Check each week to see he‚„s fully fit and in the team. Pick a bench that has players who willplay, and think about your three chosen substitutes as if they were playing ‚€ś you‚„ll never know when one is called in at late notice. Be careful of the bye, something wehaven‚„t seen in years, and make sure you don‚„t get burned.

© 2011 Sydney Morning Herald

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