So this is it, my footy review. My tips are bolded. Not unhappy to get 6 in the opening round.
Carlton d Richmond by 56 - well what did we get? About 15 minutes of sublime running and passing football from Carlton at the start of the game. It was beautiful to watch. However after that, well it got ugly, and boring. Carlton did what they should have done, and then got some extra sugar at the end of the game. Yeah they won by 56, but it felt like the Tiges weren't actually playing that bad. The Blues got a few late to blow it out but really it felt like a 30 point win. So what can we take out of it? The Blues are OK. Not anything more than that. Whilst they got a nice spread of goal kickers, the Tigers looked undersized. Judd will improve them no end too. The Tigers player aggressively which is a nice change, but just looked too small, and their skills continue to let them down.
Geelong d Essendon by 31 - This game was actually so much more than I expected, but to be honest it seemed like a typical Cats performance. They did enough, and when the game needed to be won, they did just that. Nothing to report really about Geelong. Essendon were good. Yep. I'm surprised. I didn't expect it that’s for sure. They ran and carried well and their defence was good. But ultimately their key forwards were really poor. Gumbleton, Neagle and Williams all did a couple of nice things, but they did not look threatening in front of goal.
Hawthorn d Melbourne by 56 - I feel sorry for Melbourne. I'm sure they have some talent, but at the moment its hidden inside scrawny kids. Like Richmond they were outmuscled, but unlike Richmond, they just weren't hard at it. These boys are a long way off and the scoreline which was very, very flattering, confirms it. The Hawks, they looked very good early. Absolutely outclassed and out bodied the Dees. This game was over at quarter time, and the Hawks pretty much decided not to come out in the 4th. Hawthorn were aggressive and nasty, and there may just have been shades of the unsociable football that won them a flag. But let's not get carried away, they really had just another practice match. We'll know more about them after next week against the Cats.
St. Kilda d Sydney by 8 - What a great game of footy. Sure it was dour at times but it was good to see a nice slog. There were moments of brilliance too (take a bow Adam Goodes). I actually felt that Sydney deserved to win. St Kilda's wonderful goal kicking early and the Swans ability to squander some opportunities were the decisive factors. Oh and let’s not forget St Kilda's use of 21 men on the field for the majority of the night. The umpires were very pro-Sainters, especially when it was all on the line in the last. Where were the 50m penalties for too many on the field huh? Oh well, umpiring goes with you one week and against you the next. Both sides showed a bit, but I guess there were more expectations on the Saints and they didn't really deliver what they should have.
Brisbane d West Coast by 32 - Another game where the result was determined by a barnstorming finish. The Lions ultimately and unsurprisingly were too good for the young eagles. Browny and that man Fev (who could have really kicked a bag) won the game. Simple as that. So where does it leave the Eagles, well, exactly the in the same place. No harm done. They were brave and ran the lions for three quarters. The Eagles are one of many sides that could challenge for 8th but the Lions are virtually guaranteed a spot. The Lions did what they had to and good a good hard test.
Port Adelaide d North Melbourne by 14 - What is it with this round? Another game where one team stormed away, although this one resulted in a failed comeback. Based on scoring shots, Port should had this in the bag, but from all reports they were a lot harder than in recent seasons, and that has been one of my biggest criticisms of them. North are learning a new game plan which is one excuse, but really I think they would be very disappointed. To be Port at their home would have been a great achievement, but one quarter of good football rarely wins matches.
Collingwood d Western Bulldogs by 36 - OK, I did not watch this game, but I can work this much out: The Pies are the BIG winners of this round. To beat the Dogs is one thing, but to do so emphatically and to hold of challenges was excellent. The Dogs would be disappointed. They needed to back up their preseason form, and did not. Thankfully they only have Richmond next week, so a spanking will mean this week was just a loss to a peer.
Fremantle d Adelaide by 56 - Nice. 3 56 point margins. Well I'm impressed. Freo has pulled out the big win with a huge second term and icing on the cake in the third. A great performance but let’s not read too much into it, after all they are Freo and anything is possible next week. OK I'm harsh, they should celebrate a great win. Adelaide however should be shocked and gutted. To lose to Freo like that is incredible. My early call, Adelaide will be the 2010 version of last year’s Hawks. Crap preseason, and they won't recover. Too many underdone players.
So how did every team really fare? Here's my take on the winners and losers
1. Collingwood - Without a doubt a massive win that is the first step to legitimising their challenge to be Premier
2. Fremantle – What a great effort. To win is one thing but to do so, so well over a top 4 fancy was awesome. Let’s not get carried away though. They are Freo. Anything is possible.
3. Brisbane - The gelling of Fev and Browny with 8 goals between them and 17 scoring shots is damned impressive.
4. Hawthorn - From where they are coming last year the win was important but the way they did it was key. Ruthless for 3 quarters.
5. Geelong - It was great to see the premiers still do what they do best, flick the switch and win when they need to.
6. Port Adelaide - They played some tough and hard footy, something not seen for sometime, and they won when they were challenged, something they failed at last year.
7. Sydney - They may have lost, but they deserved a win against a very good side. Plenty of upside.
8. Essendon - Taking it up to the premiers for 3 quarters is a great effort for a young team. More than I expected them to show.
9. Carlton - The Blues did what they should have done, and ran away with it. But they didn't really answer too many questions. We need to see more, against better opposition.
10. West Coast - Showed that they can be competitive. They can make an impact on the season.
11. St. Kilda - They got the win, but were well below expectation. Just a blip I'm sure but a disappointment for this round.
12. North Melbourne - The salvaged respect in the last quarter, but too little too late.
13. Western Bulldogs - They'll be gutted. A 30+ point loss in round 1 against a peer is not what they wanted.
14. Richmond - It was a good effort to muster and attack after being blown away early. They just aren't good enough.
15. Adelaide – I didn’t see this game, so it was a tussle between Adelaide and Melbourne for the ‘honours’ of worst performed. I rank them slightly higher, because at least they had to travel. But that’s it. Only excuse.
16. Melbourne - Probably the most disappointing of all. The way they were flogged for 3 quarters was dreadful. They must put up a better show soon, but I fear that the Pies aren’t the opponent to do it against next week.