By Ollie Nash and Liam Melrose
Dangerfield copped a three week ban for his bump on Jake Kelly. Photo: AAP - Matt Turner
Danger chose to bump
People will argue all day about the fact Patrick Dangerfield’s bump on Jake Kelly was an accident, should he pay the price for a clash of heads, are accidents just part of the game etc. I don’t want to enter that argument. What I do want to talk about is his argument that he braced for contact and didn’t initiate the bump. That is a flat out lie and any angle you watch of the bump will back me up. Kelly hand-balled the ball, Dangerfield took a step and went through him. I never played at AFL level, but I’ve played enough footy to know that he had time to slow down and not bump. There was time to try and tackle, there was time to try smother the handball. The argument about whether we should suspend an accidental outcome will never end, but the argument on whether he chose to bump or not, that’s crystal clear.
New season same round one story for the Blues
Richmond have played Carlton in round one every year since 2008. While Carlton won each round one clash from 2008-2013, they haven’t defeated the Tigers in the season opener since 2013. Over the last couple of years going into the clash we’ve expected the Blues to be competitive with Richmond. They often have been but the power of the Tigers who have been the best team in the league since 2017 always manage to get the job done and go home with the four points. However, this year many people expect the Blues to make that transition from the lower half of the ladder into the top eight or at least go very close. While Carlton stayed with Richmond for a majority of the match on Thursday night it was the same as every other year for the Blues. After halftime, they manage to be within two goals and look like they might cause an upset before Richmond pile on 4-5 goals and suddenly it’s game over. While I expect Carlton to continue to improve in 2021 it was the same old story for the Blues in round one. They looked better … but not quite there just yet.
Errol Gulden looked right at home in his Swans debut against Brisbane. Photo: AFL Photos
Cygnets fly high to stun the Lions in the Sunshine State
Sydney unveiled three debutants in Logan McDonald, Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden to open their 2021 campaign against the Brisbane Lions. It was a huge test for the young Swans taking on a team who had made a preliminary final in 2020. Going into the game no one expected Sydney to get past the Lions, however it was the youth of the Swans who turned it on and powered them past the Brisbane. McDonald, Campbell and Gulden looked right at home in particular Errol Gulden who was nominated as round one’s rising star. Finishing with 19 disposals, 10 marks and three goals, it was his efficiency by foot that caught the eye making him look like a 100-game player. McDonald also looked really good for Sydney kicking three goals. As well as the debutants Sydney has an array of young talent who we have seen over the last couple of seasons. Chad Warner in just his third game looked really slick as an inside midfielder finishing with 19 disposals, Sam Wicks kicked two goals in his eighth game while midfielder James Rowbottom looks set for a breakout season. If the Cygnets can continue this level of form throughout the season they’ll win a lot more games than people think. The future is extremely bright in the Harbour City.
Treloar reaction over the top
This whole narrative from past players that Collingwood were poor for not making life more uncomfortable for former teammate Adam Treloar on Friday night is idiotic. For five seconds Tyler Brown shook hands, hugged and said good luck to a former teammate. Are we really saying that he, as a professional athlete, would not then play at 100 per cent, tackle him hard and make life hard for him throughout the game? Who cares what happens before and after the final siren? For two hours Brown and his teammates would have played at 100 per cent as they do every week. If Treloar was there to be tackled, they’d do everything they could to tackle him. If he deserved to cop some lip, I’m 110 per cent sure he would cop just as much as any other player. The response to this throughout the week from former players trying to prove how tough they and their generation were has been embarrassing.
James Rowe was a burst of energy for Adelaide in its upset of Geelong. Photo: Getty Images
Every so often the AFL has a year where players debut and fans can see the next crop of stars clear as day. Matt Rowell was a perfect example, Chris Judd the same back in the early 2000s. Like when Port Adelaide’s trio of Connor Rozee, Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma debuted, Sydney’s trio of Logan McDonald, Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden created such excitement and foreshadowing of the future. It’s not often debutants come into a side and look comfortable immediately, but they did. Matt Flynn at GWS was the same, adapting well to the wet conditions for a big man and having an impact. James Rowe wanted every part of the moment on Saturday and got it, injecting life into an Adelaide side that was lifeless for most of 2020. Anthony Scott and Lachlan McNeil at the Bulldogs and Nikolas Cox at the Bombers were others I can't wait to watch more of. There were others across the round, but like when Sam Walsh debuted against Richmond in round one in 2019, we saw the future and it’s so much fun to watch.
The ruckmen stole the show to open 2021
A number of teams named new ruckman in their round one lineups. These included Tom Hickey (Sydney), Paul Hunter (St Kilda), Matt Flynn (GWS), Stefan Martin (Western Bulldogs). While each of them played well it was Martin, Flynn and Hickey who performed arguably the best out of all the rucks across the competition in round one. Martin looked right at home at his new club. He finished with 15 disposals, six clearances and a goal however, he stopped one of the premier ruckman in the competition in Brodie Grundy who has monstered the Bulldogs previously. Hickey was equally as impressive for the Swans finishing with 23 disposals and nine clearances. Flynn was huge for the Giants in his long -awaited AFL debut taking the opportunity with both hands finishing with 18 disposals and 34 hit-outs.
Cover Photo: Michael Wilson/AFL Photos/Getty Images
By Liam Melrose and Ollie Nash
Footy's back! Who will hold up the premiership cup in 2021? Photo: AFL Photos
Footy's back ... just like that the 2021 AFL season has rolled around, and it looks to be as exciting as ever! For AFL fans this morning might feel similar to how Christmas morning feels when you're young, you're hoping Santa has brought everything you wished for, and in an AFL sense you're filled with optimism hoping everything goes right for your team in 2021.
It genuinely feels like we missed the 2020 season with hardly any football in Victoria, so there's an extra special feeling about this year. Liam Melrose and Ollie Nash have put together their Crystal Ball for season 2021, check out their predictions below!
Both Liam and Ollie believe Port Adelaide will finish on top of the AFL ladder in 2021. Photo: Getty Images.
Both Liam and Ollie believe Brisbane will make the Grand Final in 2021 for the first time since 2004. Photo: AFL Photos
Cover Photo: Getty Images