Round One of the 2022 AFL season has come to an end and what a round it was. Round One was filled with surprises, nailbiters and debutants putting on a show.
In the first edition ofEdge of the Crowd's AFL Power Rankings, we see how each team managed their first performance of the season.
It was a dominant display from the Geelong Football Club on Saturday afternoon, absolutely stunning the Bombers in a win by 66 points.
The Cats forward line was on song with both Tom Hawkins and new recruit Tyson Stengle kicking four goals each and Jeremy Cameron having two goals to his name before he went down early in the second quarter.
Patrick Dangerfield wound back the clock bringing back 2016 vibes when he won the Brownlow medal, the way he was able to burst out of the centre square and either deliver it inside 50 or go for goal. Dangerfield finished the game on 31 disposals and a goal.
Melbourne proved on Wednesday night why they won the flag in another stunning performance against the Western Bulldogs.
Although it was a rocky second term with the Bulldogs kicking eight unanswered goals, to the Demon's credit they stuck at it and came away with a 26 point win.
One of the only knocks on the Demons would be their accuracy in front of goal scoring 14 goals and 13 behinds, if they had been accurate in front of the goal it could have been a much bigger win.
The biggest positive was Melbourne’s depth, especially defensively with the Demons losing four out of their six starting backline, including Christian Salem went down early in the match with what looks like to be a knee injury.
Sydney was really impressive in its win over the Giants in what was another great clash. The Swans Cygnets were on show with the likes of Dylan Stevens and Errol Gulden having great starts to the season with 16 disposals each.
Ollie Florent was really impressive, his burst out of the centre in the first quarter that ended in a goal just showed the type of star power that the Swans have, with Florent only to get better at the age of 23. Florent finished the game with three goals and 20 disposals.
Swans stars Issac Heeney and Luke Parker also played key roles in the Swans win over the Giants with Heeney managing three goals and 25 disposals while Parker won the medal for best on ground after a five-goal haul and 21 disposals.
Comparing Collingwood to the last time fans saw them last year, there is a big difference. Under coach Craig McCrae, they’ve created an exciting brand of football with their fast ball movement especially on the transition out of defensive 50.
New recruit was a massive positive for the Magpies in Pat Lipinski, proving why he was highly sought after by the Magpies, he finished the match with 30 disposals and a goal and was named best on ground for the Magpies.
One of the negatives for the Magpies coming out of that match was the failure to slam the door shut on St Kilda, while the game looked pretty much over in the third quarter the Magpies allowed the Saints to get a run at it kicking five straight goals and putting St Kilda right into that match.
It was almost a tale of two halves for Brisbane with the Lions slow to get into the action but once the final quarter hit the Lions pounced on the win against an injury-depleted Port Adelaide.
In the first half, the Lions were wasteful going into inside 50 and were giving away stupid free kicks in Port Adelaide’s inside 50 that the Power was able to capitalise on.
Whereas in the last quarter the relentless pressure from Brisbane allowed the side to peg back a 24 point deficit to come away with an 11 point win
Joe Daniher was on fire, kicking four goals for that match and Darcy Fort had two, Lachie Neale led the stats sheet for the home side having 31 disposals.
Much like Collingwood, there has been improvement in the Carlton group over the off-season. One clear difference was that they aren’t so reliant on the one option like they were in the past. While for the last few years majority of the workload has been put on Carlton's stars like Patrick Cripps.
On Thursday night it was nothing like that with players like Matthew Kennedy stepping up, especially in the absence of star midfielder Sam Walsh. Kennedy finished the match with 33 disposals and one goal.
Another massive plus for the Blues was the midfielders kicking goals with Patrick Cripps (three), Matthew Kennedy (one) and Adam Cerra (one) all hitting the scoreboard.
Fremantle's game against Adelaide had more twists and turns than a soap opera while Fremantle burst out of the gates in the first half of the game going into the main break with a 25 point margin (57-32) and all the momentum going the way of the Dockers.
The Dockers allowed an Adelaide surge that had the Dockers on the ropes with the Dockers being left scoreless in the third quarter with the Dockers going into the final break with a 10 point defect
Before too long it was an 18 point margin with not long to go but the Dockers stormed home with the final three goals.
Although the moment that everyone is talking about is the fantastic spoil from Heath Chapman who was playing his seventh game. With just seconds on the clock, Chapman made a fantastic effort not to let that ball cross the line to tie scores up.
On his club debut, Jordan Clark had an impressive day out having 20 disposals but it was Andrew Brayshaw who was the leading disposal getter for his side having 28. On the scoreboard, it was Lachie Schultz leading for the Dockers with three and Rory Lobb had two.
Despite the Eagles jumping out of the blocks in the first quarter, the Suns were able to hang on before a final quarter surge to see them beat the Eagles for the first time in Perth by 27 points.
The Sun's work out of the middle was great to watch with there being a few times in the game where the suns would burst out of the middle to deliver the ball inside 50.
Despite missing Ben King that didn’t stop the Suns from scoring over 100 points for the third time since under coach Stewart Dew.
On the scoreboard it was Izak Rankine with four goals then Ben Ainsworth and club debutants Levi Casboult and Mabior Chol with two goals each. Matt Rowell was the highest possession getter with 33 followed by co-captain Touk Miller on 29.
While it was a slow start for Hawthorn they certainly came home strong after a 20 point win over the Kangaroos. Hawthorn was down by 21 points at one point in the game but was able to turn it around to get the sides first win under new coach Sam Mitchell.
With the game up for grabs, it was Hawthorn's leaders that stood up with Chad Wingard coming in and kicking two goals to extend the gap for the Hawks.
The margin could have been larger for Hawthorn with the Hawks kicking three goals to one but were inaccurate and failed to capitalise on the opportunities given to them.
Changkuoth Jiath was among the best for the Hawks having 22 disposals and nine intercept marks while returning defender James Sicily had a great return match having 27 disposals.
On the scoreboard, it was Mitch Lewis and Jack Gunston leading the way having three goals each and Chad Wingard had two.
While the Giants didn’t come away with the win, there were still lots to be excited about for the rest of the season.
Tom Green was excellent for the Giants had 31 disposals for the match as well as two goals, which Greene will be an option for the Giants up forward, especially with Toby Greene out for the next few weeks.
While there was lots of promise, especially with the young midfield the Giants had they just couldn’t get over the line, letting Luke Parker kick five goals would be something that the Giants would have to look at defensively.
The Giants were also inaccurate in front of goals, kicking more behinds than they did goals, ending the match on 13.14. Kicking a couple more goals would have made the match a different story.
It wasn’t the start to the match that the Crows would have liked with the Dockers proving dominant over the Crows in the first half of football within the second quarter especially the Crow's delivery into inside 50 and ball movement was nowhere near what they would have liked.
The second half was a lot better with the Crows piling on six unanswered goals in the third quarter to go into the final term.
Although the Crows were able to get out to a lead of 18 points during the final quarter thanks to a goal from debutant Josh Rachele wasn’t enough to hold off a purple surge with the Dockers getting over the line by one point.
The massive shining light in what was a heartbreaking day for the Crows was the debut of Rachele who ended the game with five goals. Ben Keays led the Crows when it came to possessions with 37.
It was a great three quarters from the Tigers in their opening game against Carlton, who seemed to be close to their best in the opening quarter having that quick ball movement through the middle and especially coming out of defensive 50.
Although it was the last quarter where the Tigers seemed to drop off, with stupid mistakes and a few fifty-metre penalties. The Tigers only scored seven points in the final quarter thanks to a goal from Shai Bolton
With the likes of David Astbury and Bachar Houli retiring at the end of last season, the Tigers still have some work to do when it comes to that new look defensive structure.
Shai Bolton was among the best from the Tigers with three goals and Dustin Martin was the leading possession getter for the Tigers with 21 disposals.
North Melbourne started off well with Jy Simpkin kicking the first goal of the game in the opening minutes of the match which they went into quarter time with a one-point lead over Hawthorn.
Unfortunately for the Kangaroos they lost key defender Ben McKay due to concussion and didn’t have that tall defender up forward and lacked that size in the backline.
During the second term, the Kangaroos got out to an 18 point lead but couldn’t keep that momentum going with the Hawks just too strong.
Number one draft pick Jason Horne-Francis showed why he was the number one draft pick with a great debut game having 13 disposals and a goal.
The Eagles went into this match depleted, with the side only having one of their top five in the club's 2021 leading goal kicker leaderboard.
The Eagles jumped out of the blocks going into quarter time having a 17 point lead going into quarter time but from there the Suns were always on their toes.
During the final quarter, the momentum shifted against the Eagles with the Suns piling on two quick goals but when games get tough, you need the big players to stand up and that’s exactly what happened with Josh Kennedy kicking his second
Although it wasn’t enough with another Suns surge from the Suns kicking three goals in a row to put the game beyond doubt, with the Eagles going down by 27 points.
Willie Rioli was good in his return, kicking one goal and playing a key role in a few passages of play that led to scores for the Eagles as well as a level of ferocity around the contest.
On the scoreboard, it was Jamaine Jones, Kennedy and Jake Petruccelle that stood up with two goals each for the match
15. Western Bulldogs
It was a mixed performance from the Bulldogs, after having a slow start to the match, letting Melbourne kick the first 20 points of the match, the Bulldogs had a 37 point second quarter to go into half time leading by nine points.
Although the same problems in 2021 came up in that match, with the Bulldogs continuing to bomb it in long and when you’re playing a team like Melbourne with star defenders like Steven May, they’ll eat that up every time.
One positive to come out of that much was forward Aaron Naughton who kicked four goals for the match.
Bulldogs star Bailey Smith was among the best for the Bulldogs having 33 disposals and brought a level of ferocity to contests having 11 tackles, the most out of any player on the ground.
Port Adelaide was riddled by injuries from the start, with Robbie Gray going down with what looked to be like a knee complaint although came back out on the ground and Xavier Duursma with a collarbone injury.
It was a slow first half of the match and although it seemed like the momentum was going the way of the Power they weren’t able to capitalise on those opportunities. The Power finished the match with 40 per cent efficiency inside 50 which really tells the story of Port Adelaide's night.
Port Adelaide got to a game-high lead of 24 points in the third quarter but after that, it was all Brisbane. The Power was only limited to one goal with a few of their big guns not firing when needed.
Despite a mixed performance from the Power, there were some huge positives with Dan Houston having a standout performance having 36 disposals and two goals.
It was a mixed performance from St Kilda, although the Saints were on the back foot for most of the match a comeback in the third quarter showed some glimpses of what St Kilda can do when the side hits their straps.
Despite kicking four unanswered goals, it could have been more with the Saints extremely inaccurate in front of goal, in that comeback period alone the Saints kicked six behinds alone with the side finishing on 13 behinds and like the Giants had kicked one more behind then they did goals.
Forward Max King showed glimpses, despite only kicking the one goal there were times through the game where he’d mark anything in sight.
Although the major positive for the match was South Australian Jack Hayes on debut. He finished the match with three goals and 18 disposals.
It was an extremely disappointing loss from the Bombers to start off their 2022 campaign with a 66 point loss to Geelong.
One of the issues that came out of last season still remained and that was that the Bombers struggle to combat those big key forwards, with Tom Hawkins kicking four goals and Jeremy Cameron kicking two despite Cameron only playing a quarter of football.
Conceding 80 points in a half of football while only scoring 21 points isn’t at the level that Essendon wants to be playing at let alone the level to make finals so there are massive areas of improvement to come from Essendon.
One major positive for the Bombers was the debut of Nic Martin who had five goals and 27 disposals on debut, who will be a shining light for all Bombers fans while the likes of Jake Stringer, Harrison Jones and Anthony McDonald Tipungwuti are still out with injury.