The wrap – round 1

As part of weekly AFL reports, I’ll be reviewing each round and previewing the upcoming round.

Here’s Coopsy’s Footy Wrap for Round 1

THE RESULTS

Carlton def. Richmond by 20pts

Geelong def. St Kilda by 1pt

Collingwood def. Port Adelaide by 75pts

Adelaide def. Hawthorn by 20pts

Fremantle def. Brisbane by 2pts

Essendon def. Western Bulldogs by 45pts

Melbourne drew with Sydney

West Coast Eagles def. North Melbourne by 4pts

What have I learnt so far?

CARLTON V RICHMOND, Thursday Night Football at the MCG

CARLTON – the Blues will need their best side on the park to win a final. Defenders Michael Jamison and Paul Bower, ruckman Matthew Kreuzer, forward Lachie Henderson, midfielders Brock McLean and Ryan Houlihan were solely missed on Thursday night. Setanta O’hAilpin is another on the sidelines. Debutant Ed Curnow came off the rookie list to make his debut and was very impressive, Mitch Robinson was another, Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs were very good as well. The Blues will need all of Jamison, Bower, Kreuzer, Henderson, McLean, Houlihan and O’hAilpin in the side to win a final.

RICHMOND – the Tigers are an up and coming side with quality youngsters coming through. Jack Riewoldt was outstanding with 6 goals and for mine, he is the best one on one forward in the competition. He’s a tough match up because he’s got great hands overhead, is an accurate kick for goal, athletic and very good at ground level. Mitch Morton is a great talent, he’s strong overhead and knows how to kick a bag of goals. Reece Conca, Jake Batchelor, Brad Helmig, Bachar Houli and Shaun Grigg all debuted and look very good. They have a super midfield on the rise – Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio, Dustin Martin, Nathan Foley as well as newcomers Conca, Houli and Grigg. Deledio needs to play permanent midfield, get him out of defense. The reliance on key forward Riewoldt isn’t healthy either, they must have alternative options. Brad Miller and Morton spring to mind.

GEELONG V ST KILDA, Friday Night Football at the MCG

GEELONG – the Cats are still top 4 material, even without Gary Ablett and former coach Mark Thompson. New coach Chris Scott has done a fine job since taking over, bringing a new game style and introducing young kids into the side is a great thing for this footy club who’ve been the best of the best the past 5 years. The Cats need to unearth the untapped talent on their list, the likes of Daniel Menzel, Cameron Guthrie, Dawson Simpson, Mitch Brown, Marcus Drum.

ST KILDA – The Saints lack genuine leg speed and potency up forward, but their defensive setup is still impressive. Along with Collingwood, the Saints are the best defensive side in the competition, but their lack of ability to kick goals when it matters is a big concern. They need someone to step up and help out Nick Riewoldt. When Justin Koschitzke comes back, throw him in the ruck. Leg speed is also an issue the club has denied for too long.

COLLINGWOOD V PORT ADELAIDE, Saturday Afternoon Football at Etihad Stadium

COLLINGWOOD – The Magpies are still the team to beat in 2011. A super team, Port Adelaide were no match for the 2010 premiers. The recruitment of Chris Tarrant is timely, given the injuries to key backs Nathan Brown (knee – season) and skipper Nick Maxwell.  Chris Dawes has become their most vital key forward, he demands the ball, marks well and kicks well. Difficult to see many challenge the Pies and win this year.

PORT ADELAIDE – the Power are rebuilding under Primus. The knee injury to key forward Jay Schulz is a big blow, and they will struggle without their 2010 leading goal kicker. They’ve got some quality young kids and would’ve been pleased with the efforts of first gamer Jarrod Irons and Matt Thomas. Long way to go.

ADELAIDE V HAWTHORN, Saturday Night Football at AAMI Stadium

ADELAIDE – The Crows are a very disciplined, structured team with great ability to go deep into September. The season ending shoulder injury to Jason Porplyzia will hurt them up forward but Kurt Tippett will return shortly. Their midfield is underrated – skipper Nathan Van Berlo, Bernie Vince, Scott Thompson and Patrick Dangerfield have formed a very solid engine room. Dangerfield has X-factor about him, looks like the next skipper and got them over the line against the Hawks when they were struggling early.

HAWTHORN – the Hawks need their best 22 on the park every week to be competitive against the top sides. Jarryd Roughead and Lance Franklin need to fire, but so does the rest of the team. No Luke Hodge hurt them badly against the Crows so they’ll be eager to get him back. If the Hawks are going to challenge for top 4, they’re going to need to lift. Disappointing result given they dominated the first half but couldn’t get the 4 points.

BRISBANE LIONS V FREMANTLE, Saturday Night Football at the Gabba

FREMANTLE – the Dockers are a quality side when they get the ball rolling. They shouldn’t have beaten Brisbane, they trailed at every change but got infront when it mattered. A few question marks but coach Mark Harvey would be happy with the four points.

BRISBANE LIONS – the Lions are lacking depth but have quality kids. Very much a developing year. Losing skipper Jonathan Brown and Brent Staker for 3 months will really hurt. Youngsters will be given opportunities. Ryan Lester and Rohan Bewick were impressive on debut, as was WA product Daniel Rich. Expect Voss to play the kids.

ESSENDON V WESTERN BULLDOGS, Sunday Afternoon Football at Etihad Stadium

ESSENDON – the Bombers, fresh after one of their best pre-seasons in years, were outstanding. They blitzed the Dogs all over the ground. Their defensive efforts were terrific, and they took on the game with speed and flair. Really liking the use of David Hille and Paddy Ryder, with both being used in the ruck and resting up forward. They’ll make finals in their current form.

WESTERN BULLDOGS – Very disappointing against the Bombers. They were missing Brian Lake, Ryan Hargrave and Lindsay Gilbee but aside from that, they have no excuses for those performances. Barry Hall lost his cool and several other Bulldogs were exposed and poor. They can’t afford a poor start with consecutive losses to the season.

MELBOURNE V SYDNEY SWANS, Sunday Afternoon Football at the MCG

MELBOURNE – Dean Bailey finally has a team capable of winning games off their own right. They were terrific against the Swans, particularly after their opponents looked like running away with the game. They fought back in it well. Brent Moloney, Jamie Bennell and skipper Brad Green were my standouts.

SYDNEY SWANS – Love how the Swans play and what former coach Paul Roos has done with reinventing this team with talent from the draft and giving opportunities to recycled players. Adam Goodes is really dangerous up forward, but they’re missing Daniel Bradshaw. Jesse White isn’t quite there. Recycled agents Shane Mumford, Josh Kennedy, Ben McGlynn and Andrejs Everitt look set for big years. Swans supporters would’ve been very excited to see the skills and pace of Lewis Jetta and Gary Rohan. Plenty to like about the Swans. New coach John Longmire is ready to make his stamp.

WEST COAST EAGLES V NORTH MELBOURNE, Sunday Night Football at Patersons Stadium

WEST COAST EAGLES – the Eagles were good enough to get over a gallant North Melbourne but the 8-10 week groin injury to key forward Mark LeCras isn’t good. Highly rated midfielder Chris Masten will miss 6 weeks with a knee injury as well. Both will be missed badly. The Eagles were infront all day and got the 4 points, great start for John Worsfold and his young team.

NORTH MELBOURNE – Brad Scott has impressed me since replacing Dean Laidley at the end of 2009. They have some quality kids – Jack Ziebell, Liam Anthony, Nathan Grima, Lachlan Hansen – and three more made their debuts against the Eagles, Shaun Atley, Cameron Richardson and Cameron Pedersen. Former Eagle Ben McKinley also played is first game for North. North are still developing but showed great signs against the Eagles that fans would be pleased with – travelling to Perth to face West Coast in Round 1 is a daunting task for any club.

Lots to like.. but most of all, great to have the footy back!!

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