The wrap – round 2

It’s been a great weekend of AFL action for Round 2..

St Kilda 13.17 (95) drew with Richmond 14.11 (95)

Collingwood 21.17 (143) def. North Melbourne 7.14 (56)

West Coast Eagles 16.20 (116) def. Port Adelaide 15.8 (98)

Geelong 13.11 (89) def. Fremantle 10.18 (78)

Carlton 26.15 (171) def. Gold Coast Suns 7.10 (52)

Western Bulldogs 19.9 (123) def. Brisbane Lions 6.9 (45)

Sydney Swans 14.14 (98) def. Essendon 13.15 (93)

Hawthorn 16.26 (122) def. Melbourne 12.5 (77)

What have I learnt so far?

ST KILDA V RICHMOND, Friday Night Football at the MCG

ST KILDA

The Saints couldn’t get a win on the board after a disappointing loss to Geelong last week, drawing with Richmond. Adding to the draw, the Saints will be without Lenny Hayes for the rest of the season after he tore his ACL on his right knee and sustained medial ligament damage as well. Hayes had his left knee reconstructed back in 2006 after a similar incident and came back to play 19 games the following year. Hayes is a big loss for the Saints to cover in the midfield. I worry about the Saints. Nick Riewoldt (3 goals) and Stephen Milne (4 goals) seem to be the only two who look likely to do damage on the scoreboard – which isn’t enough. The midfield lacks genuine pace, and this needs to be addressed by the coaching staff. They won’t make top-4 if they continue to play the way they’re playing. Queenslander David Armitage was their best midfielder with 25 disposals since Hayes went off with injury in the first half.

RICHMOND

Two weeks in a row now, the Tigers have played some fantastic contested footy and got themselves infront, but just like the Round 1 clash against Carlton, they couldn’t get themselves over the line against the Saints. Jack Riewoldt was concussed and was subbed off in the first quarter, robbing the Tigers of their best key forward target. Their endeavour and efforts cannot be questioned but Damien Hardwick’s Tigers must learn to finish off the opposition when they’re in command. New recruit Shaun Grigg (29 disposals) has been terrific since crossing from Carlton while Dustin Martin (3 goals), Trent Cotchin (1 goal), Brett Deledio (29 disposals, 1 goal) and Daniel Jackson (21 disposals, 1 goal) were influential. Ruckman Tyrone Vickery looks set to spend this season at centre half forward and was handy with 2 goals. Tigers are on the right track.

COLLINGWOOD V NORTH MELBOURNE, Saturday Afternoon Football at Etihad Stadium

COLLINGWOOD

The Magpies have started their premiership defence with a bang – beating Port Adelaide by 75-points in Round 1 and following that up with a 87-point thumping of North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on the weekend. Magpie premiership stars Dane Swan (40 disposals), Scott Pendlebury (39 disposals) and Dale Thomas (28 disposals) were outstanding while forwards Travis Cloke (5 goals) and Chris Dawes (2 goals) dominated and tore the North Melbourne defense apart. Chris Tarrant’s return from Fremantle has been timely since Nathan Brown’s season ended with an ACL injury to his knee and they’ve set up 2011 nicely for back-to-back flags.

NORTH MELBOURNE

The Roos had very little to savour after the 87-point thumping, and a very disappointed coach in Brad Scott. Brent Harvey and Brady Rawlings led the Roos’ highest disposal getters with 27, which is a concern. Key position player Drew Petrie made his return, while they got little out of the likes of Jack Ziebell, Aaron Edwards, Lachlan Hansen, Shaun Atley, Ben Cunnington and Sam Wright. The Roos need to keep getting games into their young talent and keep developing. Expect them to bounce back.

PORT ADELAIDE V WEST COAST EAGLES, Saturday Afternoon Football at AAMI Stadium

WEST COAST EAGLES

There’s alot to like about John Worsfold’s Eagles at the moment, after opening the season with two straight wins. An 18-point interstate win where Daniel Kerr (25 disposals) and Andrew Embley (4 goals, 32 disposals) starred is always a good sign, and they were barely troubled in their four quarters against the Power. Centre half forward Josh Kennedy (3 goals) looks ready for a breakout season, while draftees Andrew Gaff (11 disposals) and Jack Darling (2 goals) look like stars in the making. The challenge for the Eagles is to continue on their winning run, and to win the games they’re expected to.

PORT ADELAIDE

After a hyped up pre-season under new coach Matthew Primus, Port Adelaide been very disappointing in the opening two rounds. Their midfield is full of talent but without the injured Jay Schulz (knee) in the goalsquare, they’re going to struggle to kick goals, as many saw yesterday. Robbie Gray (4 goals) and substitute Jason Davenport (3 goals) did very well under the circumstances but it was never enough. This game was one alot of people expected the Power to win but didn’t. Chad Cornes (2 goals) made a welcome return but was far from convincing from the All-Australian form of a 3 years ago. A 0-2 start puts pressure on that they didn’t need.

FREMANTLE V GEELONG, Saturday Night Football at Paterson’s Stadium

GEELONG

The Cats brought back Cameron Ling (29 disposals, 1 goal) and Paul Chapman (23 disposals, 1 goal), which proved crucial in their 11-point win over the Dockers. Forward James Podsiadly returned, but looked out of sorts, while Joel Selwood and Cameron Mooney missed through injury. Daniel Menzel (3 goals) was a standout up forward while Corey Enright (28 disposals), Joel Corey (27 disposals) and Jimmy Bartel (21 disposals) were also influential. Plenty to like about the new-look Cats under former Brisbane Lions premiership player and Fremantle assistant Chris Scott.

FREMANTLE

The Dockers trailed the Cats at every break on Saturday night, with the reliable David Mundy (29 disposals) and Matthew Pavlich (28 disposals, 1 goal) leading the way. Despite former Bomber Kepler Bradley’s 3 goal, 12 disposal effort as a key forward, the Dockers missed out on the 4 points. Mark Harvey’s men need to improve and win their home games to have a crack at the top 4 this year.

GOLD COAST SUNS V CARLTON, Saturday Night Football at the Gabba

CARLTON

Brett Ratten and the Carlton hierarchy would be ecstatic following the 119-point win over the AFL new boys, the Gold Coast Suns. It was a training drill for the Blues which saw great celebration for skipper Chris Judd’s 200th, where the Brownlow Medallist finished with an impressive 29 disposal, 2 goal performance. Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs finished with 36 disposals each while Jeff Garlett and Andrew Walker were both in fine form with 5 goals apiece. Bret Thornton made a trademark move as a leading forward to finish with 4 for the night, as first-gamer Matthew Watson impressed with his ranking left boot out of defense. Two wins in a row put the Blues in the best possible position to upset an up and running Collingwood at the MCG on Friday night.

GOLD COAST SUNS

The AFL’s new boys didn’t see this one coming – a 119-point shellacking at the hands of Carlton. Young draftees David Swallow (17 disposals), Harley Bennell (17 disposals, 1 goal), Brendon Matera (14 disposals, 1 goal) showed flashes of brilliance and will be stars. Key forward Charlie Dixon (2 goals) and ruckman Zac Smith (16 disposals) are two for fans to get really excited about as well. Skipper Gary Ablett (23 disposals) was clearly underdone, while ex-Hawk Campbell Brown (12 disposals) and ex-Lion Jared Brennan (10 disposals) were very disappointing. Ex-Roo Daniel Harris (30 disposals, 1 goal) was outstanding in his 150th game while another former Lion in Michael Rischitelli (31 disposals) was also very good. Nathan Bock (22 disposals) was solid in defense along with former Bulldog Jarrad Harbrow (19 disposals), while ex-Magpie ruckman Josh Fraser (13 disposals) performed admirably. It will take time for Guy McKenna’s team to gel together but they will be a very good team in a few years time.

WESTERN BULLDOGS V BRISBANE LIONS, Sunday Afternoon Football

WESTERN BULLDOGS

The Dogs needed to bounce back from last week’s dismal performance against the Bombers, and they did – handing the Brisbane Lions a 78-point thumping at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Barry Hall (3 goals) caused the Lions’ defence plenty of headaches, as the Dogs took control throughout the afternoon. Midfielders Ryan Griffen (33 disposals, 3 goals), skipper Matthew Boyd (32 disposals, 2 goals) and Brownlow Medallist Adam Cooney (31 disposals) did the bulk of the damage to a depleted Brisbane outfit. Justin Sherman (26 disposals, 1 goal) was impressive against his former side, while father-son recruit Tom Liberatore (28 disposals) was just as fetching. Josh Hill (24 disposals) was superb across half-back, and highly rated youngster Shaun Higgins (23 disposals) linked up well through the midfield. With defenders Brian Lake, Ryan Hargrave and the running Lindsay Gilbee to come back, the Dogs have rebounded well since the horror Round 1 loss to Essendon to face the Gold Coast Suns at the same venue in Round 3.

BRISBANE LIONS

Michael Voss’ Lions didn’t stand a chance all day against the Dogs, who ran them rugged from the start. The closest they got was 24 points mid-way through the second quarter, but the Dogs were simply too good. Without the injured Jonathan Brown and Brent Staker, the Lions struggled for options up forward and a shaky structure that had no confidence in the midfielders kicking forward. Mitch Clark was held to one goal and debutant Broc McCauley, a ruckman, struggled to play as a key forward. Jack Redden and James Polkinghorne were the only multiple goalkickers for the Lions, with 2 apiece. That’s a concern because they’re both midfielders. Veteran Simon Black (31 disposals) was their best midfielder, while experienced players Jed Adcock (26 disposals) and Amon Buchanan (24 disposals) also performed well. Youngsters Rohan Bewick (23 disposals) were very good Tom Rockliff (23 disposals), while key playmakers Ash McGrath (21 disposals) and Daniel Rich (21 disposals) were formidable. The Lions need to show improvement, get their structures right, play to the game plan and more importantly – get wins on the board.

SYDNEY SWANS V ESSENDON, Sunday Afternoon Football at ANZ Stadium

SYDNEY SWANS

After the draw with Melbourne in Round 1, the Swans looked set for a shock loss to Essendon at home but fought back for a 5-point win. Midfielder Jude Bolton (3 goals, 25 disposals), forward Ryan O’Keefe (1 goal, 27 disposals) and Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes (1 goal, 24 disposals) were all outstanding and were keys in the win. Ex-Hawk Ben McGlynn (3 goals) and Paul Bevan (2 goals) did the damage on the scoreboard.

ESSENDON

The fairytale run ended for James Hird and his Bombers in the loss to the Swans. No David Hille was a major factor in the outcome of the game, and it showed. The Dons lead the Swans for most of the day but they couldn’t finish the job when it counted. Michael Hurley, Paddy Ryder and Jason Winderlich were the multiple goalkickers for the Bombers with 2 apiece. Skipper Jobe Watson (24 disposals, 1 goal) continued his great form while draftee Dyson Heppel (21 disposals) was superb. Rookie forward Stewart Crameri grabbed his opportunity with a 2 goals and 12 disposals as well. Bombers have plenty to work with and should regain ruckman David Hille for their upcoming Round 3 clash with St Kilda.

HAWTHORN V MELBOURNE, Sunday Night Football

HAWTHORN

Despite poor goalkicking, the Hawks overpowered a disappointing Melbourne in the second half to run out convincing 45-point victors. Former Port Adelaide midfielder Shaun Burgoyne (21 disposals, 4 goals) was outstanding, along with Sam Mitchell (30 disposals) and impressive youngster Matt Suckling (32 disposals, 2 goals). Skipper Luke Hodge (21 disposals) was formidable in his first game of 2011, while ex-Demon Cameron Bruce (22 disposals, 1 goal) proved to be very handy as an outside midfielder. Another off-season recruit, ex-Roo ruckman David Hale, proved crucial and was a key to the Hawks’ second half dominance and finished with 19 disposals. The Hawks trailed the Demons significantly in the first half, and it looked like another loss was on the cards before the Hawks came out with all guns blazing in the second half for a solid 45-point win.

MELBOURNE

It was an inconsistent Melbourne side who run out onto the MCG to battle Hawthorn on Sunday night, but there were good signs. The Dees lead by 19-points at half time but after a promising first half performance, Demons fans would’ve left disappointed after the Hawks obliterated them kicking 12 goals to 4 in the second half. Skipper Brad Green, Lynden Dunn and and dynamic forward Liam Jurrah booted two goals each, while Colin Sylvia (26 disposals), Luke Tapscott (23 disposals) and Rohan Bail (20 disposals) were the highest ball winners.

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