Tips and Fantasies

“Oh Mother say a prayer for me, footy’s back in town it won’t be easy”                                                       (with apologies to Carly Simon).


This past week, I reached a fork in the road. It was a watershed moment in my life, a decision I had agonised over. And, as such, I am finding it most difficult to put it all into words.

But, after years of addiction, and slavishly adhering to Melbourne’s winter obsession, I have decided to make that break: I will not be partaking in any form of footy tipping or fantasy competitions this year.

To the organisers of said competitions, please understand that I do not wish to offend, so do not take it personally if you feel slighted. It’s not you, it’s me. Really.

No Dreamteam and Supercoach selections to agonise over. No weekly tipping deadlines to meet. No points margins to wrestle with. Suddenly I feel like Phil Connors, when he awakes to find “I’ve got you, babe” is not playing on the alarm clock. Liberated. Free! I am feeling more relaxed just thinking about how much extra time I will have on my hands. For many a winter, how my brain has swirled from one week to the next – befuddled with questions: Can I squeeze Pendlebury into my dream-team? Which roughie do I select in an effort to make up that 6 point break on the leading tipster (and it’s only round 3)?

Although maths was never my strong suit, by my reckoning I was involved in 7 tipping comps last year. As well as three Supercoach and two Dreamteam leagues. All seemingly designed to prove how woeful a tipster, and how clueless a fantasy coach, I really am.

It has been momentously wrenching for me, but somehow I know that my inbox will feel liberated, and that my internet usage will drop. Huge plusses in the steps toward uncluttering my life.

But, but…

How can I not be involved in the tipping comp at the pub? And not engage in the Friday night banter, despite the fact that, for a fee of $25, I regularly miss the 7pm deadline and get given all the “away’ teams?

And what of my work tipping comp – what kind of tight-arse doesn’t fork out their 10 bucks just for the privilege of filling out their tips a full season in advance and then spending six months bemoaning their selections?

Do I really want to forego the opportunity to have ” 2015: Smokie” engraved on the perpetual pewter that my mates and I organised for our Dreamteam comp all those seasons ago? And the annual get-together we have to dissect the season?

How can I not root for that gun player in the opposition team who is racking up the handball receives – he is my Dreamteam captain this week! (Actually, on reflection, barracking for opposition players is one thing I can quite easily do without, thank you very much).

Surely I cannot let down my wife and sons, by not giving them the yearly September stage on which they harp on about my inferiority in the family tipping comp?

And, of course, the Almanack and its myriad competitions. How can I not be involved with my fellow members of the Knackery? Along with Gigs’ brilliantly constructed ‘Ladder-Ladder’ comp – an essential part of the footy season.

I think I will be taking a ‘sickie’ on Monday to get organised.

Roll on footy season. Roll on.


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About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Smokie, I gave them all the flick a few years ago. Stops conflict barracking.

  2. Same as Crio for me. It was tough, but I eventually weaned myself off footy tipping.

    Getting your Friday night tip wrong was like dropping the opening leg of your quaddie at Flemington on Saturday.

    Mind you, administering an office tipping comp for five years (pre tipping websites) will also have adverse impacts.

  3. Smokie – you have to at least go in the Almanac tipping comp. Compulsory. And remember that JT Harms is working on a whole table of Smokie Dawsons for this year’s grand final lunch. How many Smokies will have won their 2015 tipping comps on that table? Do you want to be the only one left out?

  4. I ran a family cum extended family & friends comp from primary school age until about 4 years ago. Gave it away, it was a drain – as was Supecoach. Don’t miss either one iota.

  5. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    I’m with you Smokie. Have had an acute case of tip and fantasy fatigue since the great leap backwards (Gold Coast and GWS).

  6. GWS & GC were the tipping point (pardon the pun) for me too Phil. My interest in AFL diminished significantly since their cynical money driven inclusion.

  7. Neil Anderson says

    I’ve gone the other way. After about five years of not tipping ( I think there’s a connection with my own team letting me down consistently ) I got back on the horse last year. A very well-run competition was offered to me where I didn’t have to leave home to put in my tips. I just had to email them within one hour of the first kick-off. What could go wrong?
    I fell into the trap of picking my own team if it was a fifty-fifty proposition and just couldn’t pick a couple of teams I really hate and then I remembered why I gave up tipping.
    The best part is, if you get seven or eight and maybe Collingwood loses on the weekend, is to wait by the letterbox on the Monday for the postie who is a Pie supporter and a keen tipster.

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