AFL round 2: what did we learn?

AFL team the Hawthorn Hawks
The Hawthorn Hawks won a nailbiter against Geelong. Photo: Rulesfan, Wikimedia Commons

In a long weekend full of action, four of the AFL round one winners became losers, while five round one losers entered the winners circle. Tipping for this round proved extremely difficult – so what did we learn?

First the results: Adelaide 118 – Richmond 82; North Melbourne 95 – St Kilda 43; Carlton 67 – Gold Coast 101; Collingwood 79 – GWS 95; Brisbane 74 – Melbourne 100; Fremantle 106 – Essendon 90; Western Bulldogs 70 – West Coast 121; Sydney 71 – Port Adelaide 94; Geelong 117 – Hawthorn 118.

I had 5 main takeaways from the weekend’s action.

1. Hawthorn and Geelong remind us that they’re still around

While the hype during the preseason this year was all around the Sydney and Adelaide based teams, the Hawks and Cats were just getting ready to do what they do. These two sides have been perennial finalists recently, and this trend may well continue.

With 8 grand finals appearances between them in the last decade, and 5 premierships, they cannot be underestimated this AFL season. After another classic encounter between the great clubs, other hopefuls need to be on notice.

2. Crows get revenge

The Adelaide Crows and Richmond Tigers played out a rematch of the 2017 AFL grand final, with the Crows taking the honours comfortably. The Tigers will need to step into gear soon, or they risk repeating the Bulldog’s fall from grace. And speaking of the Bulldogs…

3. 2016 a distant memory

While the Bulldogs won the premiership just two years ago, this needs to be put into context. At that time they hit a golden run to win from 8th position, and since then most of their veterans have retired. The very young Footscray side will be competitive again in a few years, but right now they look like wooden spooners.

4. Sydney gets a reality check

The Swans are one of the most successful sides of the AFL era, and they are deservedly once again one of the premiership favourites. That doesn’t mean they will waltz into September, however. Port Adelaide showed that they can win against top teams away from home, and stamped themselves as a serious contender this season.

5. Uneven start to the competition for a number of teams

Five teams have started their AFL season with one dominant performance, and one poor display. These sides are Essendon, Adelaide, Sydney, Richmond and Fremantle. While it may seem unfair to include Sydney in that mix, they really should have beaten the Power after dominating the first half on stats, but not the scoreboard.

All of these sides are arguably top eight contenders, so they will need to work on their consistency if they want to really challenge for the flag.