Well the footy’s back. And back with a bang.
It was a ripper of a first round with some enthralling games mixed in with some embarrassing blowouts.
Five things that we learnt from Round 1:
- Melbourne and Richmond will finish 15th and 16th. They are the two worst teams in the competition and it will be a battle to avoid the wooden spoon. The Tigers lost by 56 points and looked totally out of their depth against a Carlton side missing their best player in Chris Judd. Melbourne weren’t too much better, in fact putrid, going down to a Hawthorn side missing a quarter of their best line-up, by the same margin. Both the Demons and Tigers lacked any presence up in their forward line. It’s going to be a long year for them both.
- Michael Barlow can play. The 22-year-old from Werribee showed just exactly how good he is in a dream debut for Fremantle during its thrashing of Adelaide. Barlow gathered over 30 touches and kicked two goals in his sides upset win. He was originally on the Dockers’ rookie list, meaning he couldn’t play in the senior side. But when Tim Ruffles was placed on the long-term injury list, Barlow was elevated to the senior list. And he hasn’t disappointed.
- Brendan Fevola and Jonathon Brown can work as a duo. The twin towers kicked half of Brisbane’s score (8.9) in their team’s gutsy 32-point win over West Coast. Brown kicked five goals mainly playing at centre half forward and Fevola kicked 3 goals playing in the traditional full forward position. There won’t be too many teams with two quality defenders that will be able to stop these two giants.
- Collingwood are the real deal. They defeated the more fancied Western Bulldogs by six goals, dominating the Bulldogs all over the ground. Harry O’Brien and Heath Shaw were outstanding out of defence while Dane Swan and Sharrod Wellingham had ripper games in the midfield. They are primed for finals action again this year. All they need to do now is get to September and win some games for once.
- Hawthorn are back. Despite missing Lance Franklin, Cyril Rioli, Chance Bateman, Brad Sewell and a whole heap of other names, they came out firing against Melbourne and thrashed them. Luke Hodge has returned to the midfield and he played one of his best games of his career. If he continues that form for the remainder of the season, he could easily win the Brownlow medal.
What to look forward to in Round 2:
– It is the game that everyone has been talking about for the entire pre-season. Carlton versus Brisbane at the Gabba. Or Carlton versus Brendan Fevola at the Gabba. Take your pick. Michael Jamison will be given the tough task of manning up Fevola as he takes on his old club for the first time. But while all the attention will be on Fevola, Jonathon Brown could have an absolute field day. Watch for him to dominate.
– Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin will return from his suspension this round. He has had probably his best pre-season to date and is raring to get back into the action. We will really truly know if Hawthorn is back after they have taken on Geelong on Easter Monday at the MCG. These two teams always seem to put on a spectacle, highlighted by last year’s thrilling match in round 17. I can’t see why Monday’s match will be any different.
– After struggling in his first game for the Western Bulldogs, Barry Hall is set to have a massive game when his team takes on Richmond at the MCG on Sunday. Collingwood’s Simon Prestigiacomo literally blanketed Hall last Sunday, restricting the big man to only three goals from limited opportunities. But Hall will have a much easier opponent this week in Will Thursfield. Poor Will. The Dogs will be determined to make amends for last week’s loss, so expect a hiding.
My Tips for Round 2:
Brisbane to beat Carlton
Collingwood to beat Melbourne
West Coast to beat Port Adelaide
St.Kilda to beat North Melbourne
Adelaide to beat Sydney
Essendon to beat Fremantle
Western Bulldogs to beat Richmond
Geelong to beat Hawthorn
Tally for the year so far: 5 out of 8
Ben Waterworth is in his second year of a Bachelor of Journalism. You can read more of Ben’s work at A short sport thought, or watch him on the podium during the final session of the Sport Journalism Symposium being held at La Trobe University on April 8.