Luke’s Look – Round 1, 2012 – Giant start to the Season

Round Review – Round 1, 2012

This season, at the conclusion of most rounds, I’ll be writing a summary of the weekend’s action, as well as looking at what I liked, and didn’t like, from the round.  Not every match may be covered, but some of the main discussion points will be touched upon and your feedback is welcomed!

The 2012 AFL Season kicked off in Sydney this year, with the AFL’s newest club – the Greater Western Sydney Giants – facing the Swans in a game most expected to be a blowout.  Though the Swans were in cruise control, an eventual 63-point defeat was a terrific result for the new club, with many of their youngsters showing great signs for the club going forward.

The customary season opening game, Richmond vs. Carlton, was next on the card for round 1 – with the Tigers tipped by a surprising amount of so-called experts to record a first-up victory.  Whilst they certainly gave the Blues a scare, their up-and-coming midfield doesn’t yet have the class of Judd, Murphy & co – or the consistency throughout their line-up to match it with last years 5th best team.  Carlton won by 44-points.

Round 1 delivered a handful of tremendous matches, with the Hawks & Pies delivering one of the best of them on Friday night.  An undermanned Collingwood side was determined, but the class of the Hawks – namely Buddy Franklin and Cyril Rioli – proved too good, with the Hawks winning by 22 points.  If this is the type of footy we can expect from this season, then footy fans are in for a treat.

Saturday afternoon saw the Crows – and surprisingly the Lions – record easy victories over the Suns and Demons respectively.  Adelaide’s win was expected, especially after their strong pre-season, but the lack of effort displayed by Melbourne would be a huge concern for the club, coming off the emotion of Jim Stynes’ sad passing.

The Dockers vs. Cats clash on Saturday night was an early candidate for one of the games of the year.  It was as tough a contest as you’ll see this year, with both sides displaying great acts of courage throughout.  Perhaps not Matthew Scarlett, however, who faces a 3 week holiday after his roundhouse hit on Hayden Ballantyne.  For his troubles, Ballantyne will cop a suspension for an off the ball hit on Paul Chapman.  The Dockers won a tight, emotion-charged contest and will return to Victoria to face the Hawks in round 2.

A game I didn’t see, but was equally as tense, was the Kangaroos vs. Bombers clash, also on Saturday night.  The Roos had a chance to steal a victory with a kick after the siren by Hamish McIntosh, but the kick sailed right – giving Essendon an important opening round win.

On Sunday, the Eagles took care of business against the Dogs, with Josh Kennedy starring up forward with 7 goals.  The Dogs would be pleased with the debut of Clay Smith, who kicked 4 goals.

Finally for round 1, the Power and the Saints played a spirited contest in Adelaide, as Port held on for a narrow 4-point victory.  Both teams showed encouraging signs for the season ahead, however after a disastrous 2011, the Power would be ecstatic with their victory.

My Favourite Things for Round 1

1.  The Footy is back – Needs little explanation, but how good is it having the footy back?  The Hawks/Pies, Dockers/Cats  & Kangaroos/Bombers matches were awesome displays of AFL at its best.  What a way to kick start 2012.

2.  Josh Kennedy – I rate Kennedy highly – he could well be the best key forward in the game within a couple of years.  The much-analysed Carlton/West Coast trade of 2007 really did deliver both clubs what they needed.

3.  GWS Giants – Compared to the debut of Gold Coast last season (a 119-point loss to the Blues), their 63-point loss was encouraging.

My “not-so” Favourite Things for Round 1

1.  Melbourne’s lack of effort – Just not good enough, especially against a side that won just 4 games in 2011 and were without their skipper and best forward.

2.  Richmond hype – At least they were better than the Demons – and were actually better than the Blues in short patches on Thursday night – but I’m over the annual pre-season hype surrounding Richmond.  Let’s give the Tigers their credit once they’ve shown they deserve it.

3.  The Bulldogs – They played a potential top-4 side in the Eagles, but do the Dogs have any tall forward options of note?  Or how about a genuine ruckman to build around?  How about some developing prospects in defense?  I’m worried.

Any comments or feedback – please feel free to contact me or comment below.

Enjoy round 2 everyone!

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