Richmond won comfortably against Carlton as many expected they would and while it may not have been easy all the way through, their big names stood up towards the end. Tom Lynch kicked three on his debut which will please Tiger fans. However, the loss of Alex Rance to an ACL injury may be tough to deal with. While the Tigers may be able to cope without the five-time All-Australian, replacing his consistency and leadership at the back could prove difficult.
- West Coast
The reigning premiers were soundly beaten by a promising Brisbane side up at the Gabba and while that could be a concern for a team looking to go back-to-back, there are several things to consider. The Eagles were missing the suspended Andrew Gaff and injured duo Nic Naitanui and Josh Kennedy, but also got promising performances from the likes of Oscar Allen and Dom Sheed. Their next match against GWS in Perth will be a real test of character.
A case of missed opportunites for Collingwood as they went down to Geelong. A number of their superstars had underwhelming games that will want to bounce back from immediately. However, Jamie Elliott and Darcy Moore were both good in their return to the side and both will be looking to string together several decent showings. Improvement will come from the Pies.
No matter how many of their stars leave, the Giants always seem to be an excellent side. They dominated Essendon from start to finish behind the classy showings from Stephen Coniglio and Tim Taranto, who may have played the best game of his short career. Add to this the fact that they were missing Josh Kelly and Callan Ward and suddenly GWS are looking very dangerous.
You could have been forgiven for thinking that Hawthorn’s midfield would suffer with the loss of Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell. The Hawks’ performance on the weekend showed that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Jaeger O’Meara and James Worpel played starring roles in the comfortable win over Adelaide. A win that could have been much bigger if it weren’t for inaccuracy in front of goal.
After kicking the first four goals of the day Melbourne were thoroughly outclassed by Port Adelaide. They often looked tired and a few of their stars were poor. Max Gawn was roughed up early and failed to respond to the treatment he was given by the Port midfield, something he will undoubtedly learn from. With Steven May returning next week, their backline will be reinforced.
Geelong blooded six new players against Collingwood, and it paid off in a big way. Luke Dahlhaus, Charlie Constable and Jordan Clark were particularly impressive. Meanwhile, the old guard was as strong as ever, with Ablett, Selwood, Duncan and Dangerfield all hitting the scoreboard and racking up at least 19 touches each. A win over Melbourne next week could see them move further up the rankings.
Adelaide’s second half was reminiscent of their disappointing 2018 campaign and an immediate response will be demanded of them by the fans. Despite the loss, there were positives for the Crows. Matt Crouch was a ball magnet with 40 disposals, Rory Sloane set up his season with 36 and a goal and Brad Crouch returned for the first time since the 2017 Grand Final with 28 touches and two goals. The pieces are there for Adelaide to be a contender, but they need to put it all together once again.
Sydney almost stole the win against the Bulldogs before going down by 17 points, a margin that flatters the Swans. Franklin was unsighted until the last quarter in one of his poorer games, while the likes of Luke Parker and Josh Kennedy had a lot of the ball, but were inefficient. The Swans will have to improve against Adelaide, another side that has a point to prove.
- Brisbane Lions
No one really knew what to expect from Brisbane this year, but very few could have imagined the beating they gave to the reigning premiers. After going behind early the Lions fought back hard and never looked back. Their recruits were outstanding with Lincoln McCarthy kicking four, Lachie Neale having 29 touches and Jarryd Lyons 26.
To say Fremantle were dominant would be an understatement. They put North Melbourne to the sword with a high pressure game that resulted in constant turnovers. Fyfe was at his usual best with 32 touches, while Cam McCarthy starred with five goals. There were really no weak links in the Dockers win as they racked up a score higher than anything they managed in 2018. With Gold Coast coming up this week, Freo will fancy their chances at going 2-0.
- Port Adelaide
A new era in Port got off to the best start possible as they beat Melbourne by 26 points with four debutants in the side. Drew, Butters, Rozee and Duursma all showed excellent promise in their respective positions. Tom Rockliff, now injury-free, had 44 touches and Justin Westhoff kicked five to be among the best. With Carlton up next at home, Port will be another side looking to be undefeated after two rounds.
- Western Bulldogs
It felt like watching the 2016 Bulldogs this past weekend. They dominated Sydney for the majority of the game, leading by as many as 40 points. Marcus Bontempelli had an excellent game capped off with a crucial goal in the final term. Jack Macrae was everywhere, while Sam Lloyd and Taylor Duryea showed promise in their Doggies debuts. If the Bulldogs can maintain this kind of form then we all know what they are capable of.
The Bombers couldn’t have been more of a letdown in the opening round. Tipped for a top eight finish, Essendon resembled a side that didn’t know what it was doing and as the game against GWS wore on they seemed to get worse and worse. Andrew McGrath showed that his move into midfield will be worth it with 23 touches, but there was very little else to get excited about. The pressure is right on the Dons and a win against St Kilda is a must.
- North Melbourne
Another team that promised good things this season that failed to deliver in round one, North Melbourne were sloppy against the Dockers. The Roos’ defence was weakened early on with the injury to Ed Vickers-Willis, but that’s no excuse for the ease with which the Dockers had shots for goal. Jared Polec and debutant Bailey Scott were the only real positives for North on a day they will look to forget.
- St Kilda
A win was what St Kilda and Alan Richardson needed and a win is what they got… just. They may have had to scrap to get over the line, but they won’t care. Debutant Matthew Parker showed plenty of pace on his way to two goals, while all six of the Jacks playing got over 20 disposals. The fixture for the Saints only gets harder from here, but with Essendon having been soundly beaten in round one, St Kilda might just fancy their chances.
There was a lot to like about Carlton’s round one performance. From Sam Walsh’s debut to Patrick Cripps again showing that he is a star of the league. However, there’s still a lot they need to do in order to climb back up the ladder. Charlie Curnow was barely sighted and needs to find some consistency, while Alex Fasolo had an underwhelming first game in navy blue. A trip to Adelaide will be a real test for this young side, but the signs of promise are well and truly there.
- Gold Coast
It will tough to get a real read on Gold Coast until they have played a few more games, but they performed admirably against St Kilda and arguably didn’t deserve to lose. Alex Sexton kicked four, while recruits Anthony Miles and George Horlin-Smith showed that they can still perform at the AFL level. Concern comes from the performances of Sam Collins and Chris Burgess, both of whom really struggled to get into the game. Fremantle will be a tough test for the Suns next week.