The first round of AFL is done. Eight games over five days. Crowds were down. But you could still go to a game if wanted to. Though the only way to watch them all was on the introduced animal network. Which I did, with the exception of one.
West Coast Eagles12.8 (80) v Gold Coast Suns 16.11 (107)
The Sunny Boys are flying high. Big win over a depleted West Coast. Sixteen players were not available to play in the blue and gold, covid. Not that this was an Eagles team full of second stringers. Natanui, Rioli, McGovern, Kennedy, Waterman, Gaff, Petruccelle stood in defiance of the Suns rising to the task.
Though rise they did. Took, Rowell, Witts, Lukosius, Rankine, Ballard. Adding Mabiol Chol and Levi Casboult to this team appears to have covered the loss of Ben King to an ACL. When Ben King gets back Suns could soar to new heights.
Melbourne 14.13 (97) v Western Bulldogs 11.5 (71)
The Grand Final replay was the same result as before. And was the game I did not watch. Why? Well um…. I do not watch free to air television any more. There was no hype or adds to tell me. I had no clue that the first game of the 2022 season was going to be on a Wednesday night.
Melbourne the reigning Premiers won by a decent margin. They looked good. Luke Beveridge blasted one of the footy journalists. Beveridge apologised later. The new kings of AFL are still the Kings, and the Western Bulldogs have work to do.
Carlton 14.7 (101) v Richmond 11.10 (76)
Who was surprised with this result. The fans of these two clubs. Richmond have been the leading club for such a long time you expected them to walk away with it. Carlton have been strugglers for a very long time. However when the game need to be won Carlton stepped up and took it.
Winning by 25 points in the first game of the season is a good start. Especially when your opponent outscores you four goals to one in the first quarter. Michael Voss begins his second stint at coaching with a win. Carlton fans are up for finals. High hopes so early in the season are easily dashed.
St. Kilda 12.13 (85) v Collingwood 15.12 (102)
Two Daicos’, Pendlebury, Lipinski, Nobel, Mihocek, Adams. Another new coach with a win in round one. Collingwood are following the script. So far so good. St. Kilda need more from their players than what was shown on Friday night.
Was it an arm wrestle, yes. Did the Saints hit the lead and come back a few times. Yes. Yet Collingwood led at every change and when the siren sounded. That’s how you play the game. If you get a chance to watch Collingwood this season try and count how many times Pendlebury passes to young Nick Daicos. A Magpie fan who was at the game noticed this. Interesting.
Geelong 20.18 (138) v Essendon 11.6 (72)
If this game was held in Geelong and not the MCG can you imagine the score? Geelong showed up for what reads as a total disaster for Essendon fans. Good news for Bomber fans, there’s more games to go. If this is the lowest point of the season there is only room to rise and improve.
I did hear an Essendon fan early that morning comment that all Essendon had to do was run. Hmmm…. They were running all right. After the ball because Geelong outclassed the Bombers. If you look hard enough Bombers you might find a silver lining, somewhere.
GWS Giants 13.14 (92) v Sydney Swans 17.10 (112)
Of all the games this week, this game changed. Sydney came back from a half time deficit to win by twenty points. Of course the big topic was ‘Can Buddy Franklin kick his 1000th goal’. Answer, not this week. But he did kick one. Four more to 1000.
Before the fourth quarter started you thought this was going to be a tussle. Both teams had a good chance of winning. Sydney kicked the Giants out of the game. Goals came thick and fast for the Swans. The issue was accuracy 13.14 (92) to 17.10 (112) and it put pressure on the Giants. Scoreboard pressure works.
Brisbane Lions 11.14 (80) v Port Adelaide Power 10.9 (69)
How did the Lions win this one? By the third quarter the score suggested Port’s win was without doubt. Injuries regretfully are part of the game. Especially a contact sport played this quickly. Trent McKenzie (knee), Xavier Duursma (collar bone), Aliir Aliir (knee), Robbie Gray (knee) and Conner Rozee (ankle) all injured.
There is an injury substitute which introduces one new player replacing the injured player. That is all. In AFL there is are four extra substitution players each game. However with five players injured that left Port no interchange. For a game with four twenty minute quarters on a field over 150 meters long, that equals very tired players for one team. Lions sneak a win.
Hawthorn 11.12 (78) v North Melbourne 8.10 (58)
Much like the Swans v Giants this game was decided in the second half. Only a goal the difference between the two teams at the last break. Unfortunately like Port, North Melbourne were hit by injuries. It was mentioned that there were two players not 100% out on the ground in the fourth quarter.
Silver linings do exist for North Melbourne as number one draft pick Jason Horne-Francis gave a glimpse of what could be. Hawthorn gave their new-ish coach Sam Mitchell a win. A good win that highlighted a potent team with plenty of options that could become a new dawn the Happy team.
Adelaide Crows 12.10 (82) v Fremantle 11.17 (83)
One point. Fremantle fans know this song. It was the mantra of former coach Ross Lyon. You only have to be ahead at the final siren. Full disclosure I am a Fremantle fan. Freo born and bred. I could not watch the second half and chose to listen outside the house.
How did the Crows loose this? What reset enabled them to kick six goals to none in the third quarter? In the fourth quarter the Crows only kicked one goal and seven. Adelaide led by 19 at the 12th minute mark. Of the last seven scoring shots only one was for the Crows, a behind to James Rowe. I was listening to it and I was amazed.
That’s enough for now. See you all later.
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.