One of the many tragedies of the American Civil War was that it often pitted brother against brother, as the issues that divided our Union also split many a home asunder. Now some 144 years after the events at Appomattox began to re heal the nation a new rift has formed. This time rather than slavery (or "state's rights" if you still own a Dixie flag) it is footy that is pulling a household apart.
Inky and I are playing in the same DreamTeam league this year, which is a lot like fantasy football in the US. The Aussie version is run more like the stock market than a sports franchise, however, with each owner being able to pick from a full list of players. Rather than a whole league picking players one by one, each team can assemble any roster they like, as long as they keep their total salary below the cap. Then, as the season progresses, the players value fluctuate in accordance with their production on the field. If they have a great game their value ticks upwards. If they stumble than so too does their price, meaning you get less for them if you drop them for another player.
Now that you have the basics of the game you can understand why this weekends battle is so important. My squad, Footy Pajamas, will take to the virtual field against Inky's team "Ranga Management" starting at about 5 AM tomorrow morning. Since Inky and I have followed footy together since our first trip to Oz in '05 we generally speaking know the same thigs about it. So as it turned out, we made a lot of the same choices when it came to picking our teams. Out of a roster of 30 players, Inky and I have 11 in common, many of which we will select for our starting 22 for this weekend.
That means that no matter how well Gary Ablett Jr does, he will be benefiting us both and there will be no impact. As it turns out, he is the #1 scoring player in the league this year, and just so happens to be a Geelong Cat too. This game will be won or lost by players like Brownlow winners Jimmy Bartel and Chris Judd who Inky and I field respectively. And what a battle it will be, even though Inky will try to tell you I have a leg up.
Sure, I am in 3rd place while Inky is in 5th, but we are both 2-0. I have 3618 points to Inky's 3580 for a difference of just 38 overall. That adds up to 19 handballs, 38 Hitouts or 6 goals and 3 behinds. Or, in other words, not much at all. It's a fair and level fight and the winner will remain unbeaten for one more week. Or who knows, maybe with all those players in common, we'll tie!