Zero Hanger’s top five talking points from Round Two.
1. The Premiership is not a one horse race.
After a Round One drubbing of Geelong, many pundits had Hawthorn as almost a lock for a three-peat. But Round Two showed that a number of teams can push for the flag with some brilliant team performances. Firstly, Hawthorn suffered an upset loss to a brilliant Essendon side finally able to play without the ASADA drugs saga hanging over the players’ heads. Hawthorn is clearly beatable and now every other side in the competition will be lining up to watch the match tape and see how the Bombers did it. Essendon’s win not only shows that the Hawks are not invincible but also shows that the Bombers may actually be a genuine Premiership chance.
Adelaide showed that its ruthless and attacking brand of football that tore North Melbourne apart last week was no fluke, brushing Collingwood aside by 27 points. The Dockers took their second big scalp in as many weeks, defying the critics who suggested they were a spent force. Fremantle beat last season’s Preliminary Finalists Port Adelaide in Round One in a thriller and this week handed out a belting to Geelong at Simonds Stadium. Fremantle’s win also has experts questioning Geelong’s finals credentials for the first time in almost 10 years.
2. How good is it to see big bags of goals being kicked again?
Just when we all thought the days of a big full forward scoring over 100 goals in a season were long gone, Round Two has given us a flicker of hope. West Coast’s Josh Kennedy kicked 10 goals on Friday night, North Melbourne’s new recruit Jarrad Waite kicked seven goals on Sunday and St. Kilda’s Josh Bruce scored six goals against the Gold Coast on Saturday night. With the last three Coleman medal winners all scoring under 70 goals, it may be a long shot to suggest we’ll see someone kick close to 100 goals in a season in the next few years, but we can dare to dream.
3. Just how good can Nat Fyfe get?
It’s hard to believe Fyfe is only 23. The Fremantle superstar was clinical against Geelong on Sunday. Not only did he amass an incredible 36 disposals but he also slotted three goals, all of which were a marvel to watch. Fyfe is an elite midfielder, yet also an incredibly good overhead mark. Yesterday he out-marked Geelong ruckman Mark Blicavs on the wing with an ease that had to be seen to be believed. His movement is first class. The best example yesterday was when he gathered a loose ball just inside 50, broke three Geelong tackles and snapped truly. Fyfe is now one of the Brownlow favourites and if he can keep improving there’s no reason why he can’t take home multiple Brownlow medals in years to come.
4. Where to now for Carlton?
Prior to Round 1, Mick Malthouse sensationally declared that he was finding it difficult to see a game that Carlton could lose this year. But two rounds in, it’s hard to find a game Carlton can win. The Blues have been well beaten by their opposition in the opening two rounds. On Friday night they lacked aggression and genuine ball winners at the contest. But perhaps the biggest problem is figuring out where all the goals will come from. Carlton has lost Waite, Betts and Garlett in the past two years. Three years ago these three forwards were the main goal scorers at Carlton. Waite yesterday kicked seven goals for North melbourne, Betts had a great year last year for Adelaide scoring 51 goals in 22 games for the Crows, and Garlett lit up the MCG last weekend in his debut for Melbourne kicking two goals. Unfortunately for Carlton, the players earmarked to replace these men in attack have not flourished. Levi Casboult has tremendous marking ability, however struggles to kick a set shot. Tall forward Liam Jones was recruited from the Bulldogs in the offseason, despite struggling to get a game at the Kennel. Hopefully for Mick’s sake, his charges can turn it around, but the task doesn’t get any easier this week against an in-form Essendon.
5. Will the Gold Coast live up to the hype?
There’s no arguing the fact that the Gold Coast Suns have one of the most talented lists in the competition. After coming agonizingly close to a maiden finals birth last season in their fourth season in the competition, big things were expected of the Suns this season. The Suns felt that a new coach, in experienced campaigner Rodney Eade was the final piece in the puzzle to see the them reach the heights so many expected. However a 0-2 start to the season against two of last season’s cellar dwellers is a step in the wrong direction. It’s not panic stations just yet, as Gary Ablett is still not at full fitness and they have a host of first team players still to return from injury. On top of this, the Suns are no doubt still adjusting to new coach Rodney Eade’s game plan, which is understandable. The sky is the limit for the Gold Coast’s young list, but they need to improve dramatically on the first two rounds.