The blood sweat and tears of the preseason is behind us and we’ve lastly performed our first matches for competitors factors in 2022.

We had quite a few highlights as Carlton lastly ended their decade-long hoodoo to handily win, whereas Essendon have been revealed starkly to be pretenders.

18. Essendon Bombers
They have been totally obliterated by the Cats. The Bombers have been proven to have many many flaws, not least the proclivity to recruit smaller midfielder sorts. Some could argue that this was a facet with out 4 of their top-five purpose kickers from final yr however I respectfully disagree that accidents are a official excuse.

The one vivid spot was the performances of Nick Martin (27 disposals, 5 targets) and Archie Perkins (20 disposals), each of whom give the midfield a degree of distinction. It was concerning the worst begin to a season and it’s certain to shake the boldness of even the nuffiest of supporters.

17. North Melbourne Kangaroos
The Roos unveiled their extremely valued first draft choose on Sunday afternoon. They couldn’t come away with the goodies, however Jason Horne-Francis seems to be a strong choice. It was an odd facet chosen, with three ruckmen leaving them bereft of mobility ahead of the ball, nevertheless a concussion to Harry McKay made issues worse, forcing Jack Ziebell to play above his top on the pseudo-key-forward Jack Gunston.

The younger Kangaroos will likely be higher for the run, nevertheless there are nonetheless some tweaks which can be essential to carry out  – not the least of which is go slightly smaller within the ahead line to use strain.

16. St Kilda
The Saints weren’t unhealthy, however they didn’t present any enhancements and nonetheless managed to lose to the 17th positioned Collingwood from final yr so excuse me if I learn approach an excessive amount of into that.

Mature-age recruit and Jack Oatey medallist Jack Hayes was the one luminescent vivid spot, with three targets almost single-handedly bringing the group again from the brink.

They have been lacking their talismanic ruckman Patrick Ryder however counting on an injury-prone participant approaching the twilight of his profession is a recipe for catastrophe.

15. West Coast Eagles
West Coast barely have a facet proper now. In line with AFL.com.au they have been lacking 5 of their finest midfielders, 4 forwards and three defenders from their finest 22, and had to have a look at bringing in gamers from their COVID listing.

Nevertheless, they made the Suns earn the highway win, with Jamaine Jones a refreshed participant with 21 disposals and two targets whereas Tom Barrass grew to become the primary participant ever to kick their first purpose in recreation 100.

The Eagles are certain to be nearer to the underside of the ladder than the highest, but it surely’s a go-back-to-go-forwards scenario, whereby the necessity to spend slightly little bit of time down the underside of the ladder to get entry to the nation’s finest younger expertise.

14. Adelaide Crows
So very shut. Agonisingly so. The Crows can be ecstatic with a five-goal haul from their first-round draft choose Josh Rachele dragging them again from the brink of a blowout defeat. Nevertheless, they ran out of fuel in entrance of their house followers as Heath Chapman was capable of play goalkeeper and save the Dockers from a draw.

Moreover, the efficiency of Ben Keays (37 disposals, 5 tackles) and James Rowe (two targets, 21 disposals) warms the cockles of even probably the most hardened Crows supporter.

It was nonetheless a loss however in a spherical dominated by aggressive matches, it was an indication of the equalisation measures taking impact.

Taylor Walker looks on

(Picture by Dylan Burns/AFL Photographs through Getty Photos)

13. Gold Coast Suns
It could have taken ten years, however the Suns lastly defeated the Eagles in Perth. The sport was far tighter than was anticipated because the Gold Coast needed to put down a gallant West Coast 107-80.

Highlights have been the return of a resurgent Izak Rankine with 4 targets and 23 disposals, whereas Matt Rowell was again to his bullocking finest with 33 disposals (22 contested). The Suns confirmed it’s not all doom and gloom within the absence of Ben King, scoring over 100 factors and operating out comfy winners.

12. Richmond Tigers
The Tigers misplaced their first Spherical 1 conflict in ten years on Thursday night time, it was additionally the primary time they didn’t play the primary match since 2013.

The Tigers have been stunned by a Blues outfit because it was a battle of the outdated and the brand new. Sadly, the match was not with out casualties with Dion Prestia damaging his hamstring in yet one more in a litany of accidents.

Their efficiency sees them begin the yr outdoors the eight each on the ladder and, extra importantly, these energy rankings.

11. Collingwood Magpies
I’m detest to giver the Magpies any form of credit score by any means, however their new Craig McRae-led model was on full show. Nick Daicos started to dwell as much as the hype with 27 disposals in a midfield-halfback position that’s certain to be a mild introduction into the rigours of AFL soccer, whereas Patrick Lipinski put his finest foot ahead with 31 disposals and a purpose.

Lastly, it was good to see the high-flying Jeremy Howe come again as a backline common, marshalling gamers within the backline however nonetheless permitting for the spontaneity to intercept the ball.

10. Hawthorn Hawks
Sam Mitchell was one in all three debutant coaches to win their first match this weekend. In higher information, Jack Gunston kicked purpose quantity 400 in his first match for a yr, whereas followers can be exuberant to see James Sicily get by his first match since Spherical 20, 2020, as a result of an ACL tear.

The Hawks’ build-from-the-back mentality has helped in growing one of the potent backlines and that was on show with Changkuoth Jiath displaying his power within the air and on the bottom.

9. Better Western Sydney Giants
The large huge sound from the west of the city was at all times going to flounder with out the presence of their new captain, Toby Greene. They have been overrun by a fast-finishing Swans outfit led by Luke Parker nailing 5 targets in a dominant show up ahead.

Nevertheless, regardless of matching the Swans for many of the day and main for giant elements, the Giants have been unable to take their alternatives in entrance of purpose, kicking 14 behinds, unable to use the dominance that they had within the early elements of the match.

8. Fremantle Dockers
The extra issues change the extra they keep the identical. Sure, the Dockers are within the eight as a result of they scraped out a win by the barest of margins, nevertheless their inaccuracy was harking back to the issues that plagued them final yr.

Heath Chapman is definitely liable for the spoil of the yr if not the last decade, it was due to his fast pondering that the Dockers received.

Rory Lobb

Rory Lobb (Picture by Daniel Carson/AFL Photographs through Getty Photos)

7. Port Adelaide Energy
The Energy have been gassed within the latter elements, fully unable to expire the sport, which sees them almost drop out of the eight. They gave up a 22-point lead from halfway by the third quarter to lose by 11 factors towards the Lions in Brisbane.

Concerningly, it was accidents galore on the Gabba for the Energy, with Trent McKenzie (knee) and Xavier Duursma (foot) each being subbed out in worrying circumstances.

6. Western Bulldogs
It’s at all times disappointing when an off-field story dominates the headlines after a match and none extra so than the tempestuous conflict between Luke Beveridge and Tom Morris on the post-match press convention.

I’m not right here to speak about that, I’m going to solely tackle how the Bulldogs appear to be unable to recover from the road towards an understrength Melbourne.

Including insult to damage was a sprained ankle nearly sure to rule out captain Marcus Bontempelli. It was a matter of the Bulldogs getting crushed by what they knew, as Christian Petracca tore them aside in a efficiency eerily just like his escapades final yr.

5. Carlton Blues
New yr, new Carlton, who received their first Richmond conflict because the elimination closing in 2013. It’s also the second time that they may finish a spherical within the eight since 2013.

Clearly the modifications instituted by Michael Voss as coach have begun to pay dividends, and he can be notably proud of the efficiency of Matthew Kennedy, who kicked a purpose, two behinds from 33 disposals and a large 11 rating involvements, whereas Patrick Cripps was in classic type because the midfield stood up within the absence of Sam Walsh.

Lastly, it was implausible to see Sam Docherty get a purpose after a protracted battle with most cancers, making it by his first match unscathed mere months after he accomplished his second bout of chemotherapy.

Patrick Cripps celebrates.

Patrick Cripps celebrates (Picture by Robert Cianflone/Getty Photos)

4. Sydney Swans
The Swans have been extraordinarily Lance Franklin-conscious, as he sits 4 targets shy of a outstanding milestone of 1000 targets. Sydney performed the lengthy recreation as they saved tempo with GWS as their better cardio capability got here to the fore in a fourth-quarter slaughter, 4 targets to at least one, because the Swans got here house with a moist sail to win the match by 20 factors.

Sure, Buddy was solely capable of get the one purpose, however the Swans would take solace in the truth that they’ve a multifaceted ahead line, with Luke Parker, Oli Florent and Isaac Heeney combining for 11 of their 17 targets.

3. Melbourne Demons
All aboard the Trac Prepare. He was large once more with one other 38 disposal and two-goal efficiency that’s certain to place the worry of God within the Bulldogs. The match itself was remarkably just like the grand closing they have been replaying, with the Bulldogs main the early elements of the proceedings earlier than the Demons stormed house.

Simon Goodwin can be notably proud of the defenders that stepped up within the absence of Jake Lever and Christian Salem, which is essential for the distinctive constructions the Demons play.

Whereas the Dees despatched a shudder by the remainder of the competitors defeating their closest rivals from final season, their accidents imply they’ll be ranked at three.

2. Brisbane Lions
Mind fades not withstanding it was the Joe present on full show in Queensland with 4 targets and three behinds as Daniher dominated the Brisbane ahead line in a dour and damp night time on the Gabbatoir.

Moreover, Cam Rayner and Lachie Neale each made profitable returns from damage. Neale notably was profitable with 31 disposals, seven clearances and spending 76 per cent of the time on the bottom. The Lions dominated due to the fortuitous accidents to Energy gamers hamstringing the potential rotations they may make.

1. Geelong Cats
The Cats are consummate professionals, actually, they need to have received by extra given the 17 behinds they kicked.

They dominated the competition, smashing the Bombers on the coalface, successful the contested possession stat by 42.

Nevertheless, I might say a part of the win might be attributed by the insipid Dons, given their seemingly fixed lack of ability to maintain on the purpose facet of their direct opponents, in addition to not conserving a sweeping midfielder. Nonetheless, the Cats took the alternatives that have been in entrance of them and have put the remainder of the competitors on discover.



By 24H

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