One down, 22 to go.
The first eight games of the 2021 AFL season didn’t just provide us with our initial set of winners and losers, it raised another series of questions.
With each of the league’s 18 clubs set to do battle again this weekend, we attempted to answer the major issues facing their playing lists and coaches alike.
Can their heroics be repeated?
If you tipped the Crows to topple the Cats last Saturday, there is a high chance that you are either a paid-up member, a value punter or employed by the Adelaide Football Club.
Despite the clash eliminating the vast majority of tippers chances at a nailing nine from nine, if you did manage to boost your chances of remaining perfect after the season’s first week, kudos to you.
Congratulations must also be extended to Matthew Nicks and the 23 Adelaide players that not only stood up to a seasoned Geelong team, but bettered them in many facets of the game, not least on the scoreboard.
The Crows led the Cats for kicks, contested possessions and total possessions across the four-quarter contest, so any excuses about their ability to find the football should fall on deaf ears in the future.
Despite being bettered at clearance time, Nicks’ murder managed a further pair of scoring shots, as they were also cleaner heading inside 50.
The raw numbers from this Round 1 contest point to one thing – last year’s wooden spooners do not lack effort. However, for a side that entered the season with the equal youngest list (23.7 years of age) as well as the second least games experience (56.6), finding consistency across a marathon season is always going to be a tough ask.
Be that as it may, it is still astounding that even though their list entered 2021 noticeably weaker from their three-win 2020 campaign, they were able to beat a Premiership fancy to open their season.
With an effort-based benchmark now set, even if the darkness of last year rears and consumes the Crows across this new calendar, they will have a belief that they are equipped to find the light switch swiftly.