Round Zero – Mongrel Preview

The footy is back!

It’s almost difficult to believe after all the pre-season warm-up games and general saturation of news over the last few weeks that it ever really went away. But it is back – even if its return is arriving in the most anti-climactic way possible.

I don’t know who came up with this whole Round Zero idea, but they are terrible at making decisions. The great feeling of excitement and atmosphere that Round One brings is just absent this year. It feels a bit like a false start. But it is what it is, and maybe there’s some brilliant logic that I am not seeing.

My guess is that the teams playing this week will enjoy the extra match fitness they get, and their opposition next week will love that they get to study an opponent who hasn’t seen them play a proper game yet. It’s different, and, well, I’m not too good at different.

Here’s how Round Zero is going to look:

Thursday Night: Sydney and Melbourne at the SCG

Friday Night: Brisbane V Carlton at the Gabba

Saturday: Suns V Richmond on the Gold Coast

Saturday Night: Giants V Pies at the Sydney Showgrounds.

Overall, it looks like the AFL has completely ignored the chance to start with two derby/showdown/ Q clash/ whatever (which seemed the logical choice) and elected to choose contests with a matchup of interest.

Sydney and Melbourne will give us a Grundy versus Gawn match-up that might be worth the price of admission, as both ruckmen look to shine without each other’s shadow surrounding them.

On Saturday, Richmond gets to start with a bit of a grudge match against their former coach, but the Suns’ pre-season hasn’t exactly inspired a lot of confidence in this being the game we hope it will be.

The other two seem a bit more arbitrary and leave us wondering why Collingwood and Brisbane aren’t being pitted against each other, but I am very interested to see how Carlton goes against Brisbane. There’s a lot of expectation on both of these teams, and they will want to start the season well.

The talking points

The first round of the season always comes with eyes locked firmly on the changes the umpires have made. What rules will they be cracking down on this year? Are there new interpretations that we need to be aware of? It’ll all change in a few weeks anyway, but no doubt there’ll be something similar; I suspect they’ll be very harsh on high contact this year and will set the tone by paying way too many this week.


My Tips:

Sydney (21)

Tipping is hard enough and the first few rounds often throw a couple of curve balls. But given there are only the four games, I’m playing it safe this week. Melbourne and Carlton are probably the 50/50 games, and the Suns are not a terrible roughie.


That pretty much wraps us up for this week.
It’s been a while since I’ve done the preview, and I’m hoping to change the formula up a bit.

Instead of going through game by game, I figured why not give a more general overview and focus on some of the more important games or talking points? Unfortunately, that hasn’t given me much to go on this week, so let me know in the comments if it’s going to be a good change or if you’d rather a bit on every game.