Three rounds into the 2012 season and many of us are none the wiser on what might be final ladder positions. It is hard to gauge where teams are in the pre-season competition due to the fact that they play a lot of their younger players to see where they are at in development and potential. The teams that played in the AFL Grand Final last year have both won just 1 from 3 although the Pies look a bit sicker than Geelong at the moment! Tipping hasn’ t been that difficult unless you read too much into form changes or if you are trying to be cute rather than practical and logical. West Coast and Carlton sit atop the ladder and apart from Hawthorn I’m not so sure any of the other top 8 team will be there at the completion of the home and away season.
Carlton 18.14.122 Defeated Collingwood 9.8.62
Well there is still amazement that Buckley was able to apply the “lull you into a false sense of security” strategy in this game. Early in the season and the result really of no consequence except to Carlton supporters – beautifully done Bucks and the Pies were up to it! Ok, jokes aside, so what is the matter with Collingwood so far this season? Still a hangover from the Grand Final? They have been known to start badly and finish well and supporters will be hoping for that again. Are the Blues premiership material? If Collingwood and Geelong slip away in form then they might be a chance. Let’s see how they perform against Hawthorn, Geelong and West Coast. I have always said that a fit Kreuzer will be a big plus for Carlton. The Blues meet Essendon next week and Collingwood face Port Adelaide.
Richmond 20.13.133 Defeated Melbourne 11.8.74
Demon coach Mark Neeld must be starting to think that he is directly responsible for the form of his team. 3 crushing defeats in his first three games of the season is not a great start. The Tigers win will give them the confidence and a better ladder position. Just 8 points ahead at half time Richmond blitzed Melbourne in the 3rd kicking 9 goals to one. It was really game over at that point. The Tigers will find it tougher against the Cats next week and Melbourne might be playing in the close one against the Western Bulldogs.
Sydney Swans 16.9105 Defeated Port Adelaide 12.11.83
Well the Power had their chances but a great last quarter in which Sydney kicked 6 goals was the difference. Port could add only 3. The Swans are maintaining their form so far. The Power needs to surge. Goodes was reported for rough conduct but Sydney has started the season well with 3 from 3. The Swans have another tough one against North Melbourne in round 4 and Port meets the Pies at Etihad.
Fremantle 8.16.64 defeated Brisbane 5.5.35
The game was played in Perth on a sunny day and we saw just 13 goals kicked in 4 quarters!? They said Lyon was going to improve Freo’s defence – seems to have worked. Sandilands dominated, Brown was held, Fyfe was injured as was Leuenberger and Harvs received a standing ovation from the purple haze as predicted. The game was of poor standard hence the low scoring but a win is a win and a bad win still gets you 4 points. The Dockers will need to improve to beat the Saints next week and the Brisbane Lions play the younger brother Gold Coast Suns. Anyone can win that one.
Essendon 15.15.105 Defeated Gold Coast 13.10.88
The Bombers came very close to losing this game and it was really only in the last 10 minutes that they were able to put the Suns away. Ablett was best afield with another 40 plus possessions and a couple of goals for Gold Coast. Fletcher was able to celebrate his 350th but it got scary. On that performance the Bombers will face an uphill battle against Carlton next week but the Suns have a chance to notch a win next week against Brisbane. Karmichael Hunt apparently played his best game for Gold Coast since switching codes.
St Kilda 15.13.103 Defeated Western Bulldogs 5.10.40
The Bullies had only 2 goals on the board to 3 quarter time and the Saints had 13. Game over. The final margin was 63 points but at one stage it looked like St Kilda would win by 100 plus. Disastrous start for the Western Bulldogs, also with a new coach, but they have no players to kick goals. Give Fev a call. Might sound ridiculous but they played Barry Hall for a few seasons. The Bullies are no certainties against Melbourne next week on this form and the Saints play Fremantle at home.
West Coast Eagles 23.12.150 Defeated GWS Giants 10.9.69
The game was over at quarter time when the Eagles led by almost 10 goals. With a 94 point lead at 3 quarter time West Coast probably lacked much more motivation to kick a record score because they cruised and even allowed the Giants to outscore them. It didn’t matter. Maybe what mattered more was the lame crowd of just under 7000 to watch West Coast play a scintillating first quarter. The AFL is deep in rugby territory here and it will be interesting to see what happens over the next 10 years. Of course, the Giants will have to win a game or two in that time! They are looking at another hammering next week in Adelaide and West Coast will host the game against Hawthorn.
Hawthorn 21.14.140 Defeated Adelaide 12.12.84
The question about just where Adelaide was in their improvement this season was brutally answered by the Hawks with a 56 point win. Hawthorn did not need Buddy to kick 10 goals either by winning the ball in most positions and continually going forward. The Crow backline could not stop the deluge. Apart from that disastrous loss to Geelong last week the Hawks are looking very good but will be tested against an in form West Coast team in Perth. The Adelaide Crows lost their first game for the year under their new coach but will look at a percentage booster against the Giants at home next week.
North Melbourne 20.11.131 Defeated Geelong 16.18.114
When twins coach against each other do you think one knows what the other one is thinking? Well whatever the research comes up with there may have been some Twilight Zone stuff happening as North knocked off the premiers in grand style and a high scoring game, not unusual for Etihad. You had to be in the Twilight Zone to have tipped it too! In a high scoring game Ziebell made a welcome return to North with 4 goals and the Geelong twin towers of the Pod and Tom did their job with 9 for their team. North was 7 goals up in the last quarter but the Cats were good enough to cut the margin to 17 points before time ran out. They face the Tigers at Skilled and North travel to Sydney.