The Mongrel Preview – Round Two

Well, we’re really getting into the thick of things now. If you’d told me a few years ago that Sydney, GWS and the Suns were on the top three, I’d have said, ‘well the academy systems are finally working.’

The question for the week is, are they working too well?

I suppose the answer depends on how salty you want to be. Normally the opening rounds throw up a few unexpected results, and I was a bit disappointed last week when most of the teams we expected to win, ended up winning. But still, there were some terrific performances all around (and some pretty poor ones too), it was a record-breaking week last week, with the highest turnout for round 1 and the first time in V/AFL (and possibly even wider) history where both grand finalists have started the season 0-2.

What records may be broken this week? What questions may be answered? What shocks are we in-store for? Let’s check out the week that will be round 2:

Thursday St Kilda V Collingwood MCG
Friday Adelaide V Geelong Adelaide Oval
Saturday North V Fremantle Marvel
Saturday Hawks V Melbourne MCG
Saturday Sydney V Essendon SCG
Sunday Dogs V Suns Ballarat
Sunday Richmond V Port MCG
Sunday Eagles V GWS Optus Stadium
BYE Carlton, Brisbane


Weekly talking points:


The Bye:

Well, I will say one thing, we’ll get a break from the Carlton hyperbole – though it is much deserved. Having a bye so early in the season, after two very close wins could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the Blues – or it could be a nightmare. The Lions, I think, are very much looking forward to this week off so they can pretend the first two rounds didn’t happen and start their season anew.

The TASSIE Jumper

Member numbers and the new Tassie team have dominated the media this week and I expect they’ll still find their way into the weekend, as the new Tasmanian team roars to a (perhaps ridiculous) predicted 150,000. It’s not true membership, of course, as they’re virtually giving them away, but what a terrific move by the new club’s marketing department. Nothing says ‘start with a bang’ by being able to boast already being one of the biggest clubs in the land. As for their jumper? I like the colours, but it’s a bit boring, guys.


After the awful knock the head of Fremantle’s Karl Worner last weekend (completely unavoidable, so no questions asked about it), I can’t help but think that any high contact is again going to be scrutinised strongly by the media and umpiring department this weekend. Speaking of which – sure, the mark was correctly paid, but if we can overturn goals with video, surely a high tackle can be awarded to the guy being carried off the ground, at least for the sake of rewarding the effort, if not because it looks like they’re putting extra import into the protection of head knocks.

Harley Reid

Yeah, he’s going to be a talking point for a while. The media love him, and to be honest, after 16 touches in a heavily managed performance last week, it’ll be all eyes on him as he makes his home ground debut. I feel hypocritical to add him in and all say ‘give the kid a break,’ but hopefully, after this week, the media (mostly The West Australian) does actually admit they’ve run out of things to talk about.

Travis Boak

350 games is a milestone very few players reach. To see a player like Boak, who was moved from his preferred position years ago, only to fight hard and win it back, producing some of his best footy in the process, has been a joy.

Here’s to 350 of the best. And maybe a few more, yet.

Nick Daicos

It’s his 50th game this week – which normally is just a footnote in someone’s career, but given that, while writing this, I saw an article listing his top 49 performances. Well. Need I say more?




Sydney V Essendon

I always get the sense that Essendon start the season with top 8 expectations thrust upon them. I don’t if this is because they’re overrated every year or whether they (and the pundits) are just very impatient and want them to finally win a final. Anyway, this year might be the year. They’ve been around the mark for a while and this is the first chance this season (no offence Hawthorn) where they really get to create some confidence.

A win – or even a really competitive loss – gives us a chance to really show their class. There’s something about them that makes me think they’ll really take it up to the Swans. I don’t know if they’ll win, but I think this one will still be one to watch.


St Kilda V Collingwood

St Kilda aren’t the most watchable side in the world, which is a by-product of any defensive-minded team. Not that I mind too much; I don’t need a shoot-out to find beauty in the game. But this week, I think may be an exception to the rule for the Saints. They’re up against a Collingwood team that is very vulnerable, especially down back.

This could be the opportunity for the Saints to play with a bit of flair and aggression, while of course maintaining their negating style. The pies, vulnerable as they are, are very keen a win and will likely bring out their absolute best. It may not be the cleanest of affairs, but this game could be ultra-physical and go down to the wire. Definitely worth a watch.


I had a gradual improvement in my tipping after the disastrous week one. The Dockers let me down by not letting me down, and well Collingwood over the Swans was always a bit 50/50.

The tips this week:

St Kilda (12): Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Not backing you for the third, Collingwood.

Geelong: Adelaide wasn’t that inspiring last week. I think the Cats will pick up an away win here.

North Melbourne: Freo Should win this game, which is usually a good enough reason to tip against them.

Melbourne: I think they’ve found their groove a little bit. Not fully, but enough to beat the Hawks.

Sydney: At home with their tails up. Will be a good match but I can’t not tip the Swans at the moment.

Gold Coast: First away game and it’s in the middle of nowhere. Hardly an advantage for the also not-that-inspiring Western Bulldogs.

Port: Richmond showed some good pluck against the Blues, but I don’t think they’ve got enough to beat a very good Power side.

GWS. Hey, the Eagles showed some spirit against Port. Expect them to be a bit better at home. But they’re coming from too far back to inspire confidence.

That’s pretty much me done. What are your predictions for the weekend?