AFL 2023 Power Rankings: Round One

The football season is underway. See how every team is ranked after the first weekend of football for the year.

The first week of AFL football is in the books for 2023, so see how every team showed more or less than expected, and how they rank in the Edge of the Crowd's Power Rankings this week.

To see the individual players who starred, check out the Team of the Week.

Pre-season rankings are in brackets.

1. Melbourne (2)

It's hard to call a semi-final loss a disappointing season, but 2021's premiers would have considered last year to be just that. They had the perfect tonic to start the season, blowing the doors off the 2021 grand finalists, with a new-look ruck combination and a dominant midfield.

Off-season recruit Brodie Grundy looked back to his best, and his combination with Max Gawn sent a clear message to the rest of the competition. It wasn't just the rucks though, as Kozzy Pickett nabbed four goals (and a two-match suspension), and Christian Petracca had 30 disposals.

Most pleasing for the Demons, they managed it without Steven May, despite the imposing Bulldogs' forward line. When May returns, the rest of the competition should look out, as he renews his partnership with Jake Lever.

2. Geelong (3)

The Cats are the reigning premiers, but 2023 was hardly a dream start - closer to a nightmare. A loss to a key contender in their first match, and injuries to key players like Tom Stewart and Sam de Koning will also leave a ripple for the next few weeks.

The Cats started well, leading at the first three breaks of the match, before falling off in catastrophic fashion as the Magpies ran away from them.

While it is early in the season, the Cats will look to shake off the rust quickly, ahead of facing the Blues on Thursday night.

3. Brisbane (1)

The Lions slip down the rankings, despite being pre-season favourites, after being dominated by the Power. The Lions were up by three goals late in the first half but didn't get out of the change rooms after halftime, as the Power ran riot.

Daniel Rich showed all his talent, gaining over a kilometre for the Lions, but he was a lone hand in the back half, and frankly, all over the ground.

The Lions will look to take the first match as a mulligan, with Josh Dunkley and Will Ashcroft working well into the match, and will be hoping for a better showing next week.

4. Sydney (4)

For the concern about the Swans' ability to bounce back from the 2022 Grand Final, the first showing could not have been more emphatic. The Swans are the only team in the last decade and a half to be dominated in a grand final and win a final the next year (2014-15), and look on track to repeat that feat.

Chad Warner, Errol Gulden and co picked up from last season and looked like the current and future stars of the game. Warner had 30 touches and 14 score involvements, while Dylan Stephens had a career-best outing with 27 touches.

Lance Franklin has been suspended for a high bump on Sam Collins, but the Swans will entrust the forward line to the bulked-up Logan McDonald and Hayden McLean for a week, as they come off strong outings to start the year.

5. Collingwood (7)

The Pies will be counting the cost of their win over the Cats, as Jeremy Howe faces an extended road to recovery, after breaking his arm. But otherwise, 2023 started in dream fashion, with a big win over last year's premier.

Much was made of the Magpies' success in close games last year, and whether there would be a regression to the mean in 2023. If they play like they did last week, there won't be too many close games to worry about.

The Daicos brothers ran riot, as Nick showed that he isn't facing a second-year slump, and Josh continued his growth as a silky ball user. After the match, the Daicos brothers honoured their grandfather, who passed away earlier in the week, in an emotional moment.

6. Richmond (6)

The Tigers will come away from Thursday night's draw feeling some sense of relief, and some sense of frustration. With misses on goal early in the night that proved costly later, the Tigers had their chances to steal the match.

Despite that, as they trailed late, it was Tom Lynch who stood tall again, slotting a key goal in the dying seconds to secure the draw, in a slight twist on the elimination final miss.

The Tigers will be thrilled to see Daniel Rioli showing his best form, while recruits Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper were on display as they made their debuts for Richmond.

7. Carlton (11)

The Blues would have left the MCG on Thursday night feeling like they let one slip through their fingers. It's a concerning trend after two close losses late last year cost them a finals berth in 2022, and the worst possible start to prove that they had matured over the offseason in the close ones.

Seeing Charlie Curnow at his best, and combining well with Harry McKay and Jack Silvagni in the forward line will be comforting, but the Blues struggled to kick straight and will rue their inaccuracy.

Further up the ground, Lewis Young showed why he is being talked about as a breakout player, fighting hard in defence and combining well with Jacob Weitering.

8. Fremantle (6)

The Dockers are another one of those teams that will be looking for a mulligan, after a disappointing performance first up. When defenders Luke Ryan and Brennan Cox are leading your disposal count, you've been dominated in the midfield, and the Dockers will be disappointed that that was the case.

Caleb Serong, Jordan Clark and Andy Brayshaw will all look to bounce back next week, after slow starts to the year. The other big concern was the new look forward line, with new spearheads Luke Jackson and Nat Fyfe struggling to find any rhythm, although the service from their midfielders may have had an impact.

The Dockers face the Kangaroos this week and will look to take care of business and get back on track for season 2023 with a win.

9. Port Adelaide (12)

For the doubters that the Power had, the second half of their first match could not have been a more emphatic way to silence the critics. After a slow start, the Power surged after halftime to run away with the match and thoroughly dominate.

Ollie Wines was back to his Brownlow Medal best, but it was the form of Jason Horne-Francis that was most striking. The former Number One pick was traded from the Kangaroos over the offseason and has immediately settled, with 10 inside 50s and 11 score involvements in his first outing in the black and teal.

With a tall forward line, led by Todd Marshall and Charlie Dixon, the Power had a target deep inside 50, and both talls stood strong - ably supported by smalls like Junior Rioli and Lachie Jones. The Power will continue to rise up the rankings with more dominant showings like Round One.

10. Gold Coast (8)

The Suns would have hoped to start the year with a win, having drawn last year's grand finalists, and their bunnies, the Swans, first up. The hoodoo that the Suns had over the Swans, however, was nowhere to be seen on Saturday night.

The Suns struggled to find their way into the contest, as the Swans applied blistering pressure, forcing turnovers all over the ground. Jarrod Witts battled hard against the Swans, and Matt Rowell tallied up the disposals, but neither really dominated their matchup during the match.

The big positive for the Suns was the return of Ben King, as he played his first match since tearing his ACL during the 2022 preseason. King slotted a boundary-line goal and had a goal assist for Ben Ainsworth in his first outing back.

11. Western Bulldogs (10)

The Bulldogs would have been looking for a better start to the season, as they faded out of their matchup against the Demons. Marcus Bontempelli was his usual brilliant self, and Aaron Naughton and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan troubled the undersized Demons' defence early.

As the match wore on, the Bulldogs were burned by Kozzy Pickett's speed around the contest, with no answer of their own. The other big concern for the Bulldogs will be that the tall forward line of Naughton, Ugle-Hagan, Rory Lobb and Sam Darcy were kept to two goals between them.

It's early days for the Dogs, and there will be improvement as the season wears on, but early vulnerabilities have been identified, and they will have to work to close them as soon as possible.

12. St Kilda (13)

The Saints weren't the upset of the week, but it was a significant win for a side going up against the much-hyped Dockers. Brad Crouch (30 disposals) and Jack Steele (28 disposals, 24 pressure acts) led the way for the Saints, as they dominated clearances and contested possessions.

It was a telling win for the Saints, who will be looking to return to finals after a disappointing year last year. Dougal Howard, Callum Wilkie and Josh Battle were outstanding in defence, stymying the Dockers' attack all day.

The Saints do have injury worries, with the longest injury list in the AFL (by a considerable margin), and lots of top-line players set for extended stints on the sideline. If they can keep winning without those players, it will bode well for a finals bid.

13. GWS Giants (16)

It was a character-building win for the Giants. In the first week of a new era, with a new coach, and a new-look side, the Giants showed plenty of resilience to fight back in searing heat, while undermanned, and run over the top of the Crows.

Toby Greene was outstanding as the sole captain for the Giants, and his midfield, led by Tom Green and Stephen Coniglio were dominant, and smooth in their ball movement.

Despite missing Josh Kelly, Lachie Whitfield, Jacob Wehr and others for stretches of the match, the Giants showed signs of the lauded "orange tsunami" as they finished nine goals to four in the second half.

14. Essendon (15)

The Bombers were one of the most impressive teams on the weekend, with a 10-goal win over the Hawks to kick off the year. Archie Perkins (20 disposals, seven marks, three goals) was a breakout star for the Bombers, delivering on his promise from last year with an emphatic performance.

One of the highlights of the day was the return of Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti from a brief retirement, as he was substituted on, and kicked a goal in the fourth quarter. A returned Walla gives the Bombers even more goal-smarts inside 50, as they look to build forward pressure.

The Dons' defence stood tall, allowing just eight marks inside 50 for the Hawks for the match, and restricting the Hawks to 21 shots on goal from 49 inside 50s in the match.

15. Adelaide (9)

The Crows are the big fallers in this week's Power Rankings, after falling off late against the Giants, who were running out the game with just one player on the bench.

Jordan Dawson fought hard in his first match as captain, leading the way in disposals and metres gained, while the young forward line, led by Josh Rachele (three goals) and Izak Rankine (11 score involvements) played well.

The Crows dominated hitouts, but were beaten in the clearances and contested possessions, as they struggled in the clinches. Most tellingly, the Crows failed to lay a tackle inside 50 for the whole match, compared with the Giants' 18, as they couldn't build forward pressure at the end of the match.

16. North Melbourne (18)

There's excitement at Arden Street, as things are looking up. Luke Davies-Uniacke has arrived, and asserted himself as one of the elite midfielders of the competition, Alastair Clarkson has immediately harnessed the effort of his team, and Harry Sheezel had one of the most impressive debuts in recent memory.

It was only a tight win against West Coast, who are predicted to be a bad team this year, but the fact that the Kangaroos got the job done is a step in the right direction, and deserving of a step up in the Power Rankings.

The next test will be tougher, facing up against finals hopeful Fremantle, but another strong showing, even if it doesn't bring a win, will be a positive in the eyes of the blue and white faithful.

17. West Coast (17)

The Eagles will be disappointed with their first up performance. Coming up against expected minnows in the Kangaroos, a team that had any hope of finals would have got the job done in emphatic fashion.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, not only did they not win in emphatic fashion, they didn't win at all. A late surge home, led by Liam Ryan and Luke Shuey wasn't enough to get the four points.

The only positive for the Eagles is that Tom Barrass and Jeremy McGovern are still immensely talented and work well together, as they limited the Kangaroos' forward line in what could have been a blowout.

18. Hawthorn (16)

The Hawks outdid the Eagles as the most disappointing team on the weekend. They were beaten around the ball, and when they did have it, they were unable to generate any forward momentum - side from James Worpel, the Dons had six of the seven players with the most metres gained.

Luke Bruest kicked three goals, and was supported by Blake Hardwick kicking two, but they played lonely hands up forward, as the team managed eight marks inside 50 on 49 entries.

Sam Mitchell's side is raw and developing, but it looks to be a long year for this young side, as they continue the rebuild.