This year, for the first time, there have been eight teams undefeated after two rounds, and eight winless teams.
There’s a few surprises in there. Essendon, Richmond, and Melbourne are undefeated, while Sydney and Hawthorn are winless. But it’s still early, and lots of things can still happen this year.
Richmond v Collingwood
For just the third time in twenty three years, which tells you how mediocre Richmond has been, they’ve started the season 2 and 0. Nathan Buckley hit a wall with frustration, but didn’t go full Clarkson and break it. Dustin Martin kicked two and had 25 touches, playing on with a black eye. Ben Griffiths, the Tigers’ helmethead, had a concussion, however. Richmond 14.15 (99) d Collingwood 11.14 (80)
W Bulldogs v Sydney
The Grand Final rematch played out similarly to the Grand Final. Sydney took the advantage early before the Bulldogs ran away with it near the end of the game. Angus Abbey and Doug Hawkins unfurled the 1954 flag, Sam Reid and Buddy Franklin kicked ten out of thirteen between them, and Callum Mills got pinged for deliberate, causing complaints from the Internet. W Bulldogs 16.14 (110) d Sydney 13.9 (87)
Hawthorn v Adelaide
For the first time since 2011, Crows have held superiority over Hawks. Hawthorn got the start, kicking five of the first six, but Adelaide would end up taking the ascendancy for the rest of the match. Eleven goalscorers for Adelaide. Sheils, Smith, and Birchall were all injured, and Hawthorn’s 0 and 2 for the first time since 2009, when they last missed the finals. Adelaide 16.17 (113) d Hawthorn 13.11 (89)
GWS Giants v Gold Coast
GWS were upset by Adelaide last week, and struck back with the biggest win and highest score in their history. It might have ended up being merely a large loss for the Suns if they didn’t fall away in the last quarter, kicking one goal to eight in it. Jeremy Cameron kicked six of the goals to go second in the Coleman. GWS Giants 24.16 (160) d Gold Coast 8.10 (58)
Brisbane v Essendon
The two least successful teams of 2016 went head to head on Saturday night for a chance at an undefeated start. Essendon had a comfortable lead at half time and a comfortable lead at the end, but Brisbane impressed, snatching a last-term lead despite being 42 points down at one point. Orazio Fantasia, as well as being excellently named, kicked five goals. Essendon 17.9 (111) d Brisbane 12.12 (84)
West Coast v St Kilda
St Kilda was in the lead for the first three and a half quarters, and there was a very realistic chance of a boilover in Perth. However, two things swung the result the way of the Eagles: Josh Kennedy kicking three goals in the last quarter and wasteful kicking from the Saints – at half time, the Saints lead by nine behinds only. West Coast 18.8 (116) d St Kilda 13.19 (87)
Geelong v N Melbourne
Geelong led for two minutes and five seconds this match – the last 2:05. The Kangaroos had a four goal lead at three quarter time, but kicked just one goal for the final term. The famed ‘Dangerwood’ was up and about again, with a combined total of sixty three possessions, twenty two in the crucial last term. Late inclusion Preuss rucked excellently. Geelong 17.10 (112) d N Melbourne 17.9 (111)
Melbourne v Carlton
For the first time since 2005, Melbourne are undefeated after two games. However, their second win wasn’t the cleanest in both senses – they were scrappy throughout the match, with Carlton never being out of the hunt; and Jordan Lewis got a three game suspension for an off the ball hit on Cripps. Six last quarter goals won the match for the Demons. Melbourne 13.8 (86) d Carlton 9.10 (64)
Pt Adelaide v Fremantle
Pt Adelaide have set up what could be one of the best Showdowns in history, for the 20th anniversary clash no less. Robbie Gray had thirty touches and six goals, Pt Adelaide kicked the first six of the match, and half the team kicked a goal as they won by 89 points over a terrible Fremantle side to go atop the ladder. Pt Adelaide 22.13 (145) d Fremantle 8.8 (56)
I got eight of the tips right last week.
Sydney v Collingwood
This will be the first time either side has started a season 0-3 since 1999, and neither side wants that. Just two Sydney players, Franklin and Reid, have kicked more than one goal for the year, while Collingwood losing again will turn the pressure on Nathan Buckley to the maximum. Neither side’s been that good this year, but Sydney has more talent. Sydney by 34.
N Melbourne v GWS Giants
The first game in Tasmania for the season sees a North Melbourne that should have won last week take on a Giants team that won by an awful lot. However, there’s a big gap between Gold Coast and Geelong, their opponents, in quality. This match should be a GWS win, but it won’t be by too much, and North will impress some. GWS Giants by 23.
Richmond v West Coast
Pre-season, we would have chalked this up as an easy win for the Eagles. Now, with Richmond’s impressive form, we’re not so sure. While Richmond, and Dustin Martin, have gotten off to a good start, West Coast is also undefeated. The battle between Josh Kennedy and Alex Rance could be pivotal in this game, but Kennedy isn’t a Coleman medallist for nothing. West Coast by 28.
Geelong v Melbourne
Whatever hopes Melbourne had in this game have been dashed by key players Jesse Hogan and Jordan Lewis getting suspended. Melbourne has beaten Geelong once since 2007, the average margin since then is a 66 point loss, and it’s at Docklands Stadium. While Geelong weren’t that good last week, and Tom Hawkins copped a spray from Brad Scott, they should win easily. Geelong by 47.
Pt Adelaide v Adelaide
In April 1997, Pt Adelaide won the first Showdown in an upset over Adelaide. 20 years later, the 42nd Showdown is between two teams on top of the ladder, the two highest scoring teams in the AFL in 2017, and teams with an almost even record against each other. This game is practically a toss of the coin, and will be awesome. Adelaide by 2.
Fremantle v W Bulldogs
The last time the Bulldogs beat Fremantle in Perth was 2009, when the Bulldogs were reigning preliminary finalists and Fremantle finished fourteenth. The Bulldogs return after being upset in Pavlich’s last game last year, and will not lose again. The Dockers have been absolutely terrible so far this year, and should be easy pickings for a Bulldogs side easing in to 2017. W Bulldogs by 54.
St Kilda v Brisbane
Both teams had good and bad points last week – St Kilda were on top against West Coast, and Brisbane took a lead against Essendon after being 42 points down. However, St Kilda’s wasteful kicking cost them the match, and Brisbane played poorly to get 42 down in the first place. St Kilda will hope to break their duck for 2017 by winning. St Kilda by 16.
Carlton v Essendon
A match between these two traditional rivals would have been scrappy and dull last year, and now it’s only going to be half so. Essendon are a very good chance of being a surprising 3-0 start to 2017, and Carlton has played poorly so far. While Essendon may fall away later in the season, I’m backing them to take the match here. Essendon by 22.
Gold Coast v Hawthorn
I didn’t predict either team to go 0-2 to start the year. However, Gold Coast has lost by two and 102 points this year, and Hawthorn has lost to Adelaide and Essendon. The match will be interesting for Jaeger O’Meara, coming up against the club he wanted out of, and Gary Ablett, who everyone is watching to see if he jumps ship. Hawthorn by 31.
FADR got seven right, missing the first two games of the round. It and me are now tied up, with twelve tips right throughout the year.