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AFL power rankings: Round 2

The Swans take on the Blues at the SCG. (AAP Image/David Moir)
Expert
3rd April, 2016
36
2331 Reads

If the siren blew a few seconds early on Friday night, the footy blowtorch would be pointed at Collingwood and Nathan Buckley this week rather than Richmond and Damien Hardwick.

Instead, Brodie Grundy boots a goal with just four seconds left on the clock. Instead, the questions surrounding the Tigers are amplified.

It can’t be said Richmond didn’t contribute to the situation themselves. Their mistakes gave Collingwood a ticket back into the game on Friday night.

They couldn’t finish them off. The four points were there for the taking and they failed to land a final blow.

The bottom line is that the Tigers of the opening two rounds are not the Tigers an optimistic forecast of 2016 would’ve described.

We all know Richmond’s September story. Elimination final exit is the new ninth, et cetera. The goal this year was to break that perception by going further.

Right now, they’re just not on track for that. Their ranking this week might even be a little generous to them.

This week’s power rankings has a number of clubs moving around, in fact. It must be said that while most of the change comes from what happened on the field, part of it comes from your feedback.

I’m a listener and I can put my hand up when I’ve got it wrong. Last week’s rankings didn’t live up to the expectations of many of you. I’m thankful so many of you took the time to not only read but leave comments expressing your thoughts.

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As a result of those comments and those expectations, a slight tweak was made this week to add a little bit more emphasis on a club’s most recent performances.

Still, no apologies will be made for what might be considered the quirks of these rankings and their stated aim: to answer the question “Right now, where are they at?” for all 18 clubs.

With these rankings, who you have played matters a lot. One good game alone isn’t supposed to catapult an otherwise ordinary side up the rankings. A small win against a poor side may take a club backwards. Other clubs doing well may take them backwards.

A combination of these things dragged down a quality team this week in West Coast. There was no hiding behind the fact their loss came against a good team, because a number of other good teams had strong enough performances to leapfrog them.


 

1.Hawthorn

No change; Ladder: 7th (1W, 1L)

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How about Josh Gibson? 17 disposals in a dominant first term, 44 by game’s end. How about Cyril Rioli? Backing up his Norm Smith performance with four goals in the return bout. How about the Hawks? Judging by both their response to a disappointing loss and the strength they showed against a fellow top tier side, they aren’t going away any time soon.

2.Sydney Swans

+1; Ladder: 2nd (2W, 0L)

We haven’t seen enough of the Swans with their full forward options on the park. But when we do see it and it does work, it just looks ominous. Four goals each to Kurt Tippett and Lance Franklin against the Blues showed the headaches they can cause.

3.Western Bulldogs

+1; Ladder: 1st (2W, 0L)

Last week we highlighted seven players 24 or younger who put in excellent performances against Fremantle. Well, guess what? One of their best players this week was another: 22-year-old second game defender Marcus Adams. At the risk of repeating myself, the collection of young talent at this club is ridiculous. Downplay their chances in 2016 at your peril.

4.Adelaide

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+4; Ladder: 5th (1W, 1L)

A five-goal quarter time lead ending in a dominant win over your cross-town rivals. The Showdown couldn’t have gone any better for the Crows. The forward line showed plenty of fire. Eddie Betts was superb with five, Tom Lynch kicked six, Josh Jenkins had four. Keep an eye on this lot.

5.West Coast

-3; Ladder: 8th (1W, 1L)

Another afternoon at the MCG. Another loss to the Hawks. This time it was only round 2, which was a positive. There were also quite a few changes for both sides compared to last year’s grand final. But a goalless first term? A goalless final term? Josh Kennedy being kept to one goal? Having 165 fewer disposals? Fewer tackles despite having so much less of the ball? Literally half the number of inside 50s? The negatives were many for the Eagles.

6.North Melbourne

+1; Ladder: 4th (2W, 0L)

The knock on the Roos going into 2016 was the age of their top-liners. With the likes of Jarrad Waite, Brent Harvey and Daniel Wells leading the way early on, things are very much still at the “they’ve still got it” stage. An economist might call this a bubble waiting to burst. North Melbourne can call it winning.

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7.Richmond

-2; Ladder: 10th (1W, 1L)

There are some big names to come back, of course. Ivan Maric, Brett Deledio, Reece Conca and Chris Yarran are sitting on the injury list. But it’s generally a poor sign when that much quality is out at such an early stage of the season. What if another key man gets injured? We’ve seen it before, a bad year of injuries translating to a disappointing year on the park. They’ll be hoping for health at Punt Road in the coming weeks.

8.Geelong

+1; Ladder: 6th (1W, 1L)

The Cats couldn’t capitalise on first quarter dominance and paid the price. After a positive response to the recruitment of Zac Smith in round 1, the Cats were thumped 41-28 in the hitouts and their clearance woes of recent years returned (39-26 in favour of the Giants). A bit of cold water poured on the Round 1 hype.

9.Port Adelaide

-3; Ladder: 12th (1W, 1L)

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Port did what they had to do in round 1 against St Kilda, but there’s some explaining to do now. Robbie Gray was seemingly one of the few bright spots with 37 touches, but even he wasn’t as effective as he could be (49 per cent disposal efficiency, 1.3 in front of the sticks). The whole playing group will be under the microscope at Alberton this week.

10.Gold Coast

+3; Ladder: 3rd (2W, 0L)

It was a good weekend to be a goal kicker named Tom Lynch. Or one of his teammates. The Gold Coast Lynch booted five, and was joined by Jack Martin kicking four, in the momentum-building win over Fremantle out west. Aaron Hall had 32 disposals at 87 per cent efficiency to continue his hot start to the season.

11.GWS Giants

+1; Ladder: 9th (1W, 1L)

That’s more like it from the Giants. Significantly, Ryan Griffen had his best game in orange since crossing over from the Dogs in the win over Geelong. Tom Scully and Toby Greene joined him in picking up more than 30 touches. Shane Mumford was both a lower-case and upper-case giant.

12.Collingwood

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-1; Ladder: 17th (0W, 1L)

The skills on display from both sides early on left a bit to be desired. And as already discussed, it was the Tigers’ inability to finish off the Pies that allowed for that spectacular late rally. Still, a win’s a win and it showed players were ready to step up in the big moments. Adam Treloar has proven to be a great pick-up so far, grabbing more than 30 touches for the second week in a row. It was also a night to remember for Alex Fasolo, booting six goals — including the one that brought them back to within a kick.

13.Fremantle

-3; Ladder: 17th (0W, 2L)

Well, well, well. The Dockers are 0-2. Not many would have picked that. This time, despite a return to form for Nat Fyfe and ‘only’ 23 touches for Gary Ablett, the boys in purple were blitzed by a Gold Coast side on the up. Interesting times out west.

14.Brisbane Lions

+1; Ladder: 16th (0W, 2L)

Opening the season with matches against a grand finalist and a preliminary finalist is an invitation for disaster. The Lions have managed to not only avoid that but to kind of look alright out there. Bad kicking in the first half against North Melbourne let them down. It was 2.7 to 2.3 at quarter time. Things might have turned out different had they taken an early hold on the game.

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15.St Kilda

-1; Ladder: 18th (0W, 2L)

There was no fairytale for Nick Riewoldt’s 300th, but one suspects the shame in getting outplayed by the Dogs is slimming by the week. After having 166 contested possessions against Port Adelaide last week, the Dogs held the Saints to just 102 this week.

15.Melbourne

No change; Ladder: 11th (1W, 1L)

There were a few commenters in this part of the internet last week that questioned why Melbourne weren’t ranked higher. Sometimes it’s wise not to get too carried away with one win. That goes for the playing group too, apparently. Paul Roos after this week’s loss to Essendon: “I think there’s some of them that probably would have turned up today thinking it’s a pretty easy day at the office.” Ouch. “The ones you perhaps thought were big-headed, you need to sit them down and say, ‘You’ve got to respect the competition’.” Double ouch.

17.Carlton

No change; Ladder: 15th (0W, 0L)

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It’s hard to mix it with the top teams when you’re down the bottom, and that was the case for the Blues against the Swans. The question was asked of Dale Thomas’ place in the side during the week. He did enough to quiet those voices.

18.Essendon

No change; Ladder: 13th (1W, 1L)

So much for a no-win season, eh? Surely world sport has thrown up enough uplifting team-of-rejects-done-good stories for us to have expected this. Uncontested possessions were 313-179 in favour of the Bombers on Saturday. Another big tick was the marking up forward of Joe Daniher. His kicking for goal … not so much.