The first installment of Zero Hanger’s power rankings are here after a very eventful first round of AFL action.
Ladder position: 1st
The Crows were the most impressive team over the opening weekend, as they piled on 22 goals against premiership favourites GWS without their captain Taylor Walker. Adelaide Oval is going to be a fortress this season.
Ladder position: 2nd
Geelong impressed in Perth in a potential danger game for them, as Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood led the way, but the Cats will be more impressed by Mitch Duncan (30 disposals, one goal), Lincoln McCarthy (three goals) and Steven Motlop (18 touches and three goals).
3. West Coast
Ladder position: 4th
Ladder position: 8th
Collingwood gave the reigning premiers a scare on Friday night, but the Bulldogs were strong enough to hold on and start their season off with a win. The biggest story line for the game however was the injury to Dale Morris, as the defender will now spend up to two months on the sidelines with a spiral fracture in his leg.
Ladder position: 18th
Maybe it’s not going to be as easy as everyone thought for the Giants this season. They were outplayed and out-muscled by an impressive Adelaide side, and must bounce back strong against Gold Coast this weekend.
Ladder position: 14th
Sydney were quite inefficient against Port Adelaide on Saturday, managing just 12 goals from 61 inside 50s. They didn’t lead at any stage during the second half of a game they should have won, and now face the Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium in a grand final rematch to avoid an 0-2 start to the season.
Ladder position: 6th
It was an impressive performance from the Demons on Saturday, as they kicked 10 goals in a row at one stage to cruise to a 30-point win. Nathan Jones, Clayton Oliver and Jordan Lewis all led the way for Melbourne, as they collected 103 disposals between them.
Ladder position: 7th
The returning Bombers took the MCG by storm on Saturday night, blitzing the Hawks to come away with a 25-point win. New captain Dyson Heppell led from the front with 34 touches and three goals as the gang finally got back together again.
9. Port Adelaide
Ladder position: 5th
The Power won their first match away to Sydney since 2006 and silenced the doubters, even if it’s just for the time being. Debutant Sam Powell-Pepper was enormous, booting two goals and collecting 19 disposals in his first game. Chad Wingard and Aaron Young led the way with three goals, while key forward Charlie Dixon added two.
Ladder position: 12th
The new look Hawks might need to take some time to get used to each other. Tom Mitchell impressed on debut with 37 touches, but Hawthorn just looked that step slower all night, and will have a tough time avoiding an 0-2 start as they host a rampant Adelaide this weekend.
Ladder position: 3rd
The Tigers opened their season with a strong win over Carlton, leading from start to finish in a 43-point victory. Dustin Martin starred with 33 touches and four goals, while new recruit Dion Prestia (28 disposals) and debutant Dan Butler (19 disposals, two goals) also impressed for Richmond.
Despite falling short of the Bulldogs on Friday night, the Pies would have been pleased with their efforts for most of the game. The leaders all stood up for Collingwood, although their forward line will need some work if they’re to push for the finals this season.
13. St Kilda
Ladder position: 13th
Possibly the biggest losers from the round, as the Saints were expected by many to feature alongside Melbourne in the finals this season, but St Kilda just weren’t up to it on Saturday. Nick Riewoldt’s injury means the next few weeks are crucial for St Kilda, as they simply can’t afford to start the season 1-3 or 1-4 in their quest for a finals appearance.
Ladder position: 9th
It was an impressive first half by the Lions as they raced to an 11 goal to three half time lead before holding on to beat Gold Coast by just two points. Tom Rockliff (37 touches), Dayne Zorko (23) and Dayne Beams (28) all paved the way for the Lions, as the result will surely give them confidence for what looms as a tough season ahead.
15. Gold Coast
Ladder position: 10th
The Suns will be praying this isn’t the way of the future once again, but they didn’t look up to it against Brisbane on Saturday night. Trailing by as many as 47 points at one stage, Gold Coast to their credit did fight back to level the scores in the last quarter, but just couldn’t get over the line in their narrow loss.
Ladder position: 17th
Fremantle looked miles off the pace against Geelong on Sunday, with error after error gifting the Cats a 39-point lead at half time. The Dockers’ supporting cast didn’t stand up at all during the match, and their forward duo of Cam McCarthy and Shane Kersten didn’t have an impact at all.
17. North Melbourne
Ladder position: 15th
Slightly tough given the quality of their opposition, but North Melbourne didn’t show a whole lot throughout their 43-point loss at the hands of West Coast. Jarrad Waite struggled kicking just 1.7, while their ineffective disposal by foot was clear for all to see.
Ladder position: 16th
It’s a position the Blues may find themselves in at the end of the season, although that’s not through a lack of effort. Matthew Kreuzer and Jacob Weitering both impressed for Carlton on Thursday night, but the sheer youth and inexperience of the side will see them lose far more games than they win in 2017.