A second week is in the books, but we didn’t learn a great deal in Round 2, as seven teams who won in Round 1 knocked over seven teams who lost in Round 1.
That’s not to say there was no movement in the power rankings. There are a couple of new teams in the top four and a new name at the bottom of the list.
Last week: 1
The Crows got jumped early by a switched-on Hawthorn, but slowly got the game back on their terms and eventually ran out pretty comfortable winners. Regardless of what the Hawks turn out to be this season, beating them at the MCG by better than four goals is solid work.
After crushing the Giants in Round 1 without Taylor Walker, Adelaide had to do without fellow goalkicking big man Josh Jenkins for most of the day in Round 2 – and still they put up 113 points. The early pacesetter.
Last week: 2
It was another less-than-convincing performance from the Dogs, but like a good side, they got the job done, regaining control after a scare in the final term when the Swans grabbed the lead. They overcame a poor start around the footy to get on top around the stoppages after quarter time.
Dale Morris was sorely missed in defence, but by the end of the night, they were on top in most areas – including the free kick count.
Last week: 5
No surprise to see the Giants bounce back and flex their muscles on their home deck against the woeful Suns. This is a powerful team, but a 102-point win didn’t tell us anything about them that we didn’t know.
Last week: 8
This week’s biggest movers in the rankings backed up their big win over the Swans with a thumping of the Dockers. It was complete dominance from the opening bounce. Robbie Gray put in one of the great individual performances, becoming just the fifth player since 2000 to have 30 or more disposals and boot six or more goals.
Saturday night’s Showdown is enough to make a footy fan’s mouth water.
Last week: 3
It took them most of the night to get their noses in front of the Saints, but eventually the Eagles wore down the visitors thanks in large part to the determination of their gun midfielders – Andrew Gaff, Luke Shuey, Matt Priddis and Sam Mitchell combined for 36 touches in the final term – and their accuracy. Elliot Yeo played one of those games that makes you wonder why he isn’t a star.
Last week: 4
The Cats had the lead against North Melbourne for a touch more than two minutes, but it was the right two minutes for them to claim four points in the round’s most entertaining game. Joel Selwood was a colossus in the final term with 11 tough disposals and was bloodied when the final siren sounded. The Harry Taylor forward experiment could well be over.
Last week: 7
When Carlton took a narrow lead into the final quarter on Sunday, there were flashbacks to Round 2 last year when the Demons, fresh off a win over the Giants, lost to the Bombers. But in a sign of maturity, Melbourne fought back, outscoring the Blues six goals to two in the last term to run out 22-point winners.
Teenager Clayton Oliver notched another 34 touches after 36 in Round 1. Their midfield oozes talent.
Last week: 6
The Swans were undermanned and outclassed on Friday night despite putting up a hell of a fight in the grand final rematch. It’s too early to write them off, but at 0-2, John Longmire’s men have work to do.
If there was one thing for Sydney to be excited about on Friday night, it was the game of Sam Reid. If they can get it together, he adds a dangerous new dimension to their forward line. A tough three-week stretch awaits.
Last week: 9
Followed up their nice Round 1 win over the Hawks with an equally important victory over the Lions at the Gabba. It didn’t turn out to be as easy as it looked like it could be at half-time, but road wins are incredibly valuable. Zach Merrett could find the footy in his sleep.
Last week: 10
It wasn’t pretty against the Pies, but the Tigers got the four points. The additions of Toby Nankervis, Josh Caddy and Dion Prestia have rounded out Richmond’s midfield nicely.
Trent Cotchin has been unfairly maligned in recent times, but on Friday night he looked much more like the dynamic player he was in 2012 than the grinder he’s become in recent seasons. Will jump in the rankings if they can knock over the Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
Last week: 12
Some will say the Saints blew it on Saturday night in Perth, but despite their poor conversion, that result represents meaningful progress for a team who were roadkill almost every time they left Victoria in 2016. Not many visiting teams have made the Eagles sweat like that at Subiaco in the past couple of seasons.
Last week: 14
In consecutive weeks North have taken it up to two teams with top-four ambitions. The Roos were terrific against the Cats and will give plenty of good teams headaches if they can replicate that effort. Shaun Higgins showed what a class act he is when his body allows him to be.
Last week: 13
The Hawks were much better in Round 2 than Round 1, but unfortunately for them, so were their opponents.
Last week: 11
Another case of close but no cigar for the Pies. In what was a slopfest for most of the night, Scott Pendlebury’s class stood out like a beacon. There are too many holes in this team.
Last week: 15
It looked like Leppitsch’s Lions had returned in the second quarter against the Bombers, but in the third term Brisbane showed they have a bit more pluck under Chris Fagan. They might still be a bad side, but they’re improving.
Last week: 18
Sunday was the kind of performance that will give Carlton supporters plenty of hope. Young defenders Caleb Marchbank and Lachie Plowman once again showed they might just have what takes to hold down the key defensive posts and allow the uber-talented Jacob Weitering to play in the attacking half.
Last week: 17
Could easily have them a spot lower after a dismal performance against Port Adelaide. They were never in the contest and provided almost no resistance as the Power steamrolled them. The forward half is a mess and the defence stinks. Ross Lyon has a heap of work to do.
Last week: 16