Round One Mongrel Preview

After missing out on 0pening round, the MCG gets to play host to the first three games this week as footy properly returns.

We got a taste of the unexpected iniRound Zero. Carlton coming from 46 points down brushed a green highlighter over their season, and in a reverse stroke with the red pen – Brisbane allowing them was a big statement that they are a very beatable side. Gold Coast finished on the top of the ladder, which givs me a chance to share two interesting (if useless) pieces of information: First, it finalises their run of finishing a round at each of the 18 possible ladder positions; and secondly, the team which has finishes Rd 1 at the top of the ladder in a leap year, has gone on to win the Grand Final in every leap year since 2000. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t technically Round One, so they will want to beat the Crows this week to make sure of it.

Enough ranting about that. If there is one thing we learnt from last week, it is that whichever team is able to stop their opposition’s momentum the most is going to win the flag. It seems that more than ever, this season is going to about momentum shifts, with seven, eight, or even ten goal leads not looking entirely safe. It makes me very nervous as a Fremantle fan, given their history of not being able to stop scoring and losing matches from very winnable positions. 

This week is going to give us some absolute cracking matches. Let’s take a closer look:


Here’s how Round One will look:


Thursday Carlton V Richmond MCG
Friday Collingwood V Sydney  MCG
Saturday Essendon V Hawthorn MCG
Saturday Giants V North Engie? What the heck is an Engie?
Saturday Geelong V St Kilda Kardinya Park
Saturday Gold Coast V Adelaide People First Stadium? That’s worse than Engie!
Sunday Melbourne V Western Bulldogs MCG
Sunday Port Adelaide  V West Coast Adelaide Oval
Sunday Fremantle V Brisbane  Optus Stadium



Fortunately, with a full schedule of games, we should have something more interesting to talk about than the etiquette of pre-game ruck warm-ups. It was all a bit silly, really.

This week is going to give us more shock value and a better assessment of the teams we’ve been wildly speculating about for the last few months. I’m expecting us to celebrate the continued rise of the Suns (or commiserate, depending on our feelings towards them); I think the hyperbole around Carlton will almost exceed the riridiculous hyperbole that Mr. Daicos receives – it’s quite ridiculous, really; And, well, if getting hit by a football in the nether-regions can land Harley Reid on the back page of the West Australian paper, I expect a fully dedicated lift out in his honour come Monday.



If you can only watch limited footy this weekend, then you should choose wisely. All eyes will be on the traditional season opener between Richmond and Carlton, and for once in a long time, all eyes absolutely should be on this match. Richmond were pretty terrible against the Gold Coast, but did show some signs of life in the second half. Carlton Jekyll-and-Hyded the hell out of Brisbane, and I don’t really know what to make of either of these sides. It is clear that Carlton will be lifting in Richmond’s decline, but I am very eager just to see how large the gap is between those two sides.

Collingwood V Sydney is going to be an interesting game to witness, as well. Are the Magpies having a premiership hangover? Was Sydney good last week or did they benefit from playing a distracted Melbourne? There are many questions about these two teams, and this should be a cracking match. Collingwood is definitely not going to lose their first game of the season that is not being played on a cow paddock. And Sydney… well Sydney always seem like they have something to prove. Lets see if they can prove it at the MCG.

Gold Coast V Adelaide Shouldn’t have the interest it has, but I am jumping all over the GC bandwagon. At least to the point where they get knocked out early in the finals. Give them a taste. That’s all we’re asking.

But, no. in all honesty, they look a very formidable team this year and I am eager to see them back it up. I don’t know where to regard Adelaide in all this. They are one of the many middle of the range, hoping to make finals type teams. But I think they’re good enough to make this game an absolute gem. Tex v King is a bit like Master V Apprentice; lets hope Walker is fit. Can Dawson back up his terrific season last year? This is a good match with plenty to prove and could, even so early, shape the middle of the ladder. 



I’m going to put my Fremantle boys in this category as they face the Brisbane Lions at home. If there’s on thing the Lions are going to want to do, is not have a repeat of their Carlton disaster. If there’s one thing Fremantle are very good at under Justin Longmuir, it’s being at their absolute worst in the first few games of the season. Expect an absolute hiding here.

I’m also going to dob in the West Coast Eagles as they travel to play Port. Sure, watching Harley Reid grab a handful of touches off half back may be of interest, but if there’s any interest in the Eagles, it is not going to be in this game. Port fans can enjoy what will largely be another pre-season warm up; the only potential shock value of that, is if they genuinely treat it like a pre-season warm-up and allow the wooden-spooners within five or six goals



I had a bit of a shocker with the tips last week, almost nailed the margin on Thursday having Sydney by 21, then got the rest wrong. In my defence, I write these early in the week, and did change my Richmond tip to the GC. But for the purpose of fairness, I’ll keep track of the ones I put here – you may wish to use this guide to make the opposite selections.


This week, I’m ruining the round with:

Carlton (18) over the Tigers

Collingwood over the Swans at home

Essendon over Hawthorn because they should

GWS over North for the same reason

Cats over the Saints at home

Suns over Adelaide – bandwagon here we come

Melbourne over the Dogs. This one is a complete guess. I have no idea. And the Dogs are tough to tip at the best of times.

Port over West Coast by a lot

Brisbane over a very ordinary Fremantle.


That just about wraps it up for me this week. I’m keeping with the abridged version of a weekly preview, as doing one for every game is time-consuming and gets a bit repetitive (there’s only so much you can say about each team). So, while I’m focusing on the key games, by request, I will ensure I spread the love a bit, and make sure every team is mentioned on a fair, but regular basis. If you’ve any other suggestions, let me know in the comments.