Round 2 Preview
Updated: Jun 12
Fair to say a lot has happened since Round 1 - footy departments have been slashed, the media haven't been short of an opinion with no games to distract them, and we've had plenty of time to reflect on the game we love.
Even though it will look a lot different, it's great to have footy back.
Without any exposed recent form it's hard to be confident on how this round will play out. So for those in the office tipping comp with a fierce competitive streak, tread carefully for the first couple of weeks would be the advice.
Collingwood v Richmond
What a great way to start. This is a genuine coin flip, but leaning towards Collingwood. Clearly these two teams will be in the finals mix and are genuine premiership contenders, but the gut feel is that Collingwood are the ones to beat this season.
Even if they fail on Thursday night, I'm bullish about their chances of winning another Cup in...October.
Pick: Collingwood by 14
Geelong v Hawthorn
We learned a little bit last night about the difficulties teams will face in performing on the back of a limited mini pre-season and the resumption falling right at the beginning of winter.
So if it's a grind, who does it suit? Crucial question for all games this weekend.
In the case of the Cats v Hawks, the slight leaning is towards Geelong but just couldn't be confident given there isn't any recent exposed for to really serve as a guide. Just a great one to sit back and watch.
Pick: Geelong by 10
Brisbane v Fremantle
The Lions have had plenty of time to stew over their Round 1 loss. Fremantle have some tricks up their sleeve but Brisbane should take care of them at home.
If any team can buck the trend and find a reasonable score amongst a few dire contests, it might be the Lions with all their excitement and flair. Problem is, Freo might be trying to do the opposite. Fascinating contest to kick things off in Queensland.
Pick: Brisbane by 24
Carlton v Melbourne
Another fascinating game, with one side destined for a 0-2 start. Team selection will be interesting again here - after eight weeks to get some important players fit, both sides might show up with a new look forward line.
There were very few eyeballs on the last game of Round 1 in the graveyard Sunday night slot, so what many have missed is that Melbourne looked promising except for a small patch in the first half.
The Dees will have had another few weeks to work on their forward mix and the connection with their midfield (still an issue in Round 1, but look out when they finally click), and some key personnel might be back to give them a really unpredictable forward setup capable of piling on the scores like they did in 2018.
We may have learned a bit from the Collingwood v Richmond match - given teams haven't been training in their usual big group, does the midfield/forward connection suffer a little as a result? Big question mark if you want to be confident about the Demons scoring heavily early on in the season.
Having said that, at least they should get enough opportunities. Max Gawn will get it all his own way in the middle, with Marc Pittonet probably wishing he could ease back into the season without facing the best ruckman in the game.
Confident they will have Carlton's measure unless Patrick Cripps wins the game on his own.
Pick: Melbourne by 21
Gold Coast v West Coast
Curious to see the two line-ups (there wasn't much to see in the end), but West Coast should be able to cruise to a 2-0 start.
Pick: West Coast by 29
Port Adelaide v Adelaide
Port Adelaide have been blessed with an absolute dream draw to start the compromised season. Looked impressive against the Gold Coast in Round 1, gain Charlie Dixon back from injury to anchor the forward line, and come up against a team that can't score at home before hitting the road.
Have to monitor the weather over in Adelaide, because that might make scoring a little more tricky if it's a slog in the wet.
A shame Ollie Wines will be missing - hopefully the last of the Covid-19 related suspensions for the season.
Don't underestimate how this first month could set up Port Adelaide as the genuine surprise packet of the season.
Pick: Port Adelaide by 33
GWS v North Melbourne
Way too much firepower and class at the Giants to lose to North here. The GWS defence can shut down Ben Brown and score heavily up the other end. Excited to see what GWS can do this season.
Pick: GWS by 28
Sydney v Essendon
Toughest game to pick, this one. Both teams with significant injury problems, and two very different game styles. Need to wait on line-ups before even considering who to pick here.
Well, the line-ups arrived and it's very difficult to predict anything about this game. Traditionally something weird has always happened when these two teams meet - they could score eight goals between them, or equally as easily find themselves in a shootout despite their depleted forward lines. No idea!
Pick: Sydney by 1
St Kilda v Western Bulldogs
Can't imagine the Bulldogs going 0-2, but it's a real chance if the Saints turn up switched on here.
Still leaning to the Dogs just on upside. Both teams like to make the game a bit of a running race so expect this one to be pretty frenetic from the start. As a spectacle you kind of hope they both forget to defend and make it a shootout, but the coaches will be hoping otherwise.
Pick: Western Bulldogs by 12
Round 2 Burning Question:
Where will the blowtorch be aimed after Round 2?
The footy media (or what's left of them) are itching to get stuck into a team or two after writing hypothetical hot-takes for the past two months.
Any team starting 0-2 will obviously feel the heat - if the Bulldogs fall to St Kilda then look out.