Sunday Tackle: All the highlights and lowlights from Round 2 of the AFL season
A fire alarm was confusing enough, but there was more chaos at the MCG as Collingwood gave away two bizarre free kicks for apparently not being able to count.
Fans of Collingwood and Carlton can dare to dream after their perfect starts under new coaches rolled on in Round 2.
It has been a round where Lance Franklin’s 1000th goal dominated the headlines, but also with no shortage of other talking points — both good and bad.
We recap the highs and lows of round two in part one of this week’s The Tackle with Scott Gullan.
Stream every match of every round of the 2022 Toyota AFL Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free In-Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >
REBORN SIDEBOTTOM AN EARLY MCRAE WIN
If you were asked to name the three most intriguing characters at Collingwood for 2022, Steele Sidebottom would have been one of them.
New coach Craig McCrae and bad boy Jordan De Goey would have been up there too along with new son of a gun Nick Daicos.
Sidebottom was in the conversation because for the first time in his career questions were being asked.
Where did the 31-year-old fit in the new Pies set-up?
The problem for Sidebottom was he was coming off a stinker with all of his numbers down significantly including disposal efficiency which was at its lowest since 2014.
There were positive noises over the summer about his pre-season and against Adelaide it is obvious the veteran is embracing McCrae planting him on the wing and leaving him there.
Angus Brayshaw has helped make the position trendy again after being lauded for his often unheralded work on the wing during Melbourne‘s premiership push.
He embraced being a defensive wingman which saw him hold his ground position, often sacrificing the opportunity to get a touch, to help out his defence and allow his teammates space to flourish.
Sidebottom appears to be doing something similar for the Pies albeit with a licence to inject himself offensively when required which he has done impressively in the opening two weeks.
He kicked two goals from 16 touches in Round 1 and followed that up with 19 possessions and one goal against the Crows, cruising up and down the MCG wings.
While there were better players for the Pies in the easy win, the importance of a fit and influential Sidebottom is significant for the start of the McCrae era.
BOMBER TURNS INTO CAREY – FOR A QUARTER
We love a big call and it‘s not just players who get excited about the start of the season but also the commentators.
Melbourne great Garry Lyon was up and about on Fox Footy as he watched Essendon‘s impressive early response against Brisbane after last week’s horror show.
Leading the way for the Bombers was full-forward Peter Wright who put on a clinic in the opening quarter kicking two goals from 12 touches which included eight marks.
“They might have hypnotised him (Wright) and told him he‘s Wayne Carey,” Lyon said. ”This is Wayne Carey-like.”
The tone for the game was set by Jake Stringer – who missed the flogging by Geelong – at the opening centre bounce which he cleared and then shortly afterwards set up the opening goal to Wright.
At quarter time Essendon led the inside 50 count 20-6, clearances 11-2, centre clearances 6-0 and contested possessions 42-27.
It was a stunning 30 minutes which begged one question – where was this last week?
Sadly for Bombers fans they were wondering where it had gone again at halftime after Brisbane lifted – they kicked six goals in a row – with that man Wright the one to stem the flow with a brilliant set shot from the boundary line late in the second quarter.
THE RETURN OF THE DOUBLE RUCK COMBINATION
There seemed to be a period in recent times where carrying two quality ruckmen on the same side was frowned upon.
On the Gold Coast on Saturday night, the lovers of the fine art were given a treat with two of the best combinations in the league going head-to-head.
Melbourne pair Max Gawn and Luke Jackson have set the bar high after their Grand Final performance but the Suns could claim the No.2 ranking.
Gold Coast co-captain Jarrod Witts has proved his worth playing a lone hand over the past couple of years but the recruitment of Mabior Chol from Richmond has elevated the following division.
Chol was spectacular against the Demons, his athleticism giving Gawn issues in the centre bounces with his tap work Naitanui-like.
St Kilda pair Rowan Marshall and Paddy Ryder are also in the conversation but they seem to rarely play together with injuries keeping them apart for most of the past 12 months.
THE OTHER FEEL-GOOD STORY IN SYDNEY
It was Buddy‘s night but before he sent the SCG into meltdown another feel-good story had Swans fans warm and fuzzy.
Paddy McCartin‘s comeback from concussion-enforced early retirement took a significant step forward on Friday night.
The fact he is back playing AFL is a miracle – his return the previous week against GWS was his first game since Round 16 2018 – given how low the former No. 1 draft pick was by the end of his days at St Kilda.
McCartin owned the opening quarter against Geelong taking five intercept marks in his new role as a tall defender. He finished with seven of the Swans 17 for the evening with no other player on the ground registering more than two.
In his two return games the former full-forward is averaging 5.5 intercept marks – the best in the business, Melbourne‘s Jake Lever, averaged 4.3 last year.
THE SAD IMAGE OF CROWS’ LOSS
Rory Sloane sitting on the bench with ice on his quad was a sad image at the end of the game in more ways than one.
The Adelaide skipper is universally regarded as one of the toughest warriors in the competition but life has got a lot harder for him over the past couple of years.
Being a senior player in a rebuilding team isn‘t much fun, throw in your ageing body letting you down and it’s a problem.
Sloane, 32, has had over 20 touches in the first two games of the season but his influence has been minimal.
If you need a big tackle or someone to produce an inspirational act then Sloane is still the Crows go-to man but sadly he‘s falling down the pecking order, even in his own midfield.
Possessions don‘t mean everything but Brisbane reject Ben Keays has become Adelaide’s general with back-to-back 37-possession games.
CONFUSION OVER THE SIX-SIX-SIX RULE
Everyone agrees that the six-six-six rule has achieved its desired result of increasing scoring.
The more one-on-one‘s the better but the rule came under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons at the MCG on Saturday.
New coach Craig McCrae has some work to do with the Pies giving away two free-kicks in the third quarter for not having the required number of players in the zones.
Confusion reigned for the first free-kick with play stopped as the field umpire barked instructions like an Under 9s coach to Collingwood players to try and get them into the right positions.
It turns out he couldn‘t award Adelaide the free-kick for the six-six-six breach until everyone was in their allocated spots.
Even the emergency umpire entered the arena to fix the confusion with lots of finger pointing before Collingwood finally managed to count to six in its forward line.
DANGER OR BUST? BIG QUESTIONS FACING CATS
Is it Danger or bust?
It‘s not a question which has been asked of Geelong in recent times given how consistently good their core group of players has been.
Patrick Dangerfield was a non-factor last year with an early suspension quickly followed by a serious injury which left him underdone and nowhere near his best in September.
A fit and firing Dangerfield was the star of the opening round demolition of Essendon which understandably had Cats fans salivating about the prospect of having their main man back.
Sydney coach John Longmire clearly watched that game closely as he sent one of his best players, Callum Mills, to Dangerfield on Friday night. It wasn‘t a strong tag, more a watching brief but it was executed brilliantly.
Mills had 29 possessions to Dangerfield‘s 12 and unfortunately for the Cats there was no-one ready or able to pick up the slack with their Brownlow Medallist taken out of play.
SOMETIMES IT’S ABOUT THE WAY YOU LOSE
The last time we saw Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval they only kicked six goals in a preliminary final and were humiliated by 71 points at the hands of the Western Bulldogs.
While the stakes weren’t as high on Saturday night, the loss was almost as bad — by 64 points to a team that finished 14th last year.
Hawthorn were extraordinary given it was their second outing under new coach Sam Mitchell with their efficiency standing out against a wasteful and a possession hungry Power side.
The Port midfielders had a fill-up on the stats sheet with five players having 25 or more touches — Karl Amon and Travis Boak both had 39 possessions with Brownlow Medallist Ollie Wines 36 — compared to only one Hawk (Tom Mitchell with 28).
But they wasted the ball and had a non-existent forward structure badly missing Charlie Dixon and Robbie Gray.
More CoverageWatch: Brain fade leaves Bombers staring at second lossPies’ perfect start rolls on despite evacuation confusionLockett lauds Buddy, ex-Swans boss claims ‘best $10m ever spent’
Hawthorn played like a team with a plan, they moved the ball quickly and were uncanny in front of goal kicking 13 straight from set shots compared to the Power’s 1.6.
This loss wasn’t just about having a few top liners out for Port Adelaide, it goes deeper which is a major concern for Ken Hinkley.
Originally published as Sunday Tackle: All the highlights and lowlights from Round 2 of the AFL season