Updated: Jul 19, 2020
Round 2 - or is it Round 1?
It’s hard to believe this is Round 2. Incredibly, we have more unanswered questions going into Round 2 than we did in Round 1. Even as these words appear on the screen; crowds will seemingly be at some venues this weekend. For months we have discussed the crowd-less effects, it’s almost a disappointment we won’t have another fully crowd less round!
Is this the most important round of football in 2020? For teams who lost in the opening stanza; losing is almost season over. Dramatic? Not really. Since 2010, only 6% of teams starting 0-2 qualified for the finals. Remembering they had 20 more games to work their way into the eight, it’s hard to see more than 1 team starting a 17 game season 0-2 making finals.
If 1-0 Hawthorn, Carlton, Port Adelaide and West Coast were to defeat their 0-1 opponents; seven teams would remain undefeated after two rounds. Incredibly, they would hold 2 game leads over five clubs. These five clubs would each have a 15-week mountain to climb; each week being critically important.
Let’s get into the matchups and take a look at what a win or a loss will do for your team!
Collingwood (1-0) Vs Richmond (1-0) - Thursday Night
What a shame we won’t have 90,000 fans at the G for this absolute blockbuster. If you surveyed who people thought were most likely to play in the grand final; Collingwood and Richmond would be your resounding favourites.
Both clubs absolutely flying; Richmond seemingly on the verge of a great dynasty; Collingwood undoubtedly good enough to stop them reaching that level. If you are keen to have a punt on this; pick the team you hate less and choose them 1-18. That, or, you could play some daily fantasy style. This is a push of a game if I have ever seen one, hard to have a bet, there is no form to go on, two classy teams, and two great coaches.
On this occasion, I’ll take the Pies 1-18.
Geelong (0-1) Vs Hawthorn (1-0) - Friday Night
Whilst losing here doesn’t quite bring the curtain down for Geelong; losing would mean they need to be perfect for the following three weeks. Carlton, Melbourne and the Gold Coast await; a win here however sets them up for a top 4 finish. Losing, and a 3-2 or 2-3 start, means they are in a dog fight. For the Hawks, Richmond, North and the Giants await. A victory means they can afford to drop 2 of these and still remain on the right side of the finals hunt.
Much has been made of Geelong playing all their games at the Cattery; how will it stand up against the quality of the competition. An incredible winning record has been built here, largely defeating teams they should beat 95 times out of 100. 2020 sees the Cats play their toughest opponents at their true home for the first time, it will be fascinating to see the results of this.
Geelong went toe-to-toe with a premiership favourite in GWS in Round 1; taking plenty of positives from the performance. Hawthorn always looked two goals better than the Brisbane Lions during their Round 1 win. One of the games of the round; Alistair Clarkson will have been cooking up something for GMBHA Stadium whilst in isolation. If I’m building a little multi; I am starting with the Hawks 1-39 @2.80.
Brisbane (0-1) Vs Fremantle (0-1) - Saturday Afternoon
Brisbane have lost 4 competitive matches in a row. A 0-2 start with matches against the West Coast and Port Adelaide in the three weeks after, is not where they want to be. Lethargic at times in their round 1 loss against the Hawks; expect a desperate and intense Lions outfit this time around.
Take the Lions to beat the Dockers, 1-39.
Fremantle was brave in working themselves back into the contest against the Bombers in Round 1. It will take a special effort here to knock off the desperate Lions on their home track. Missing key defenders in Alex Pearce and Joel Hamling; Eric Hipwood will have a day out.
If I’m in a last man standing competition, this is my pick this week. Lions 1-39.
Carlton (0-1) Vs Melbourne (0-1) - Saturday Night
Everything is on the line for these two on Saturday afternoon. An 0-5 start is on the cards for Carlton with games against Geelong, Essendon and the Saints to come. This is a must-win as they come for Round 2. Hoping to push into mid-table, losing to the Dees could consign the Blues to another bottom 4 finish.
Melbourne - preliminary finalist just two years ago - are also in desperate need of a win. A tough three weeks follow; Essendon, Geelong and Sydney away await them. It is hard to see the Dees losing here and playing finals football.
Carlton offers great value at $2.50; the Dee’s a nice multi-option at $1.50. There should be no excuses for not showing up here; contested footy should be the name of this game, an absolute slobber knocker. Carlton in an upset. Take the under on scoring as well.
Port Adelaide (1-0) Vs Adelaide (0-1) - Saturday Night
An Adelaide farewell both before taking up a base on the Gold Coast for the next month. Psychologically, the effect a win could have on your Hub experience is massive. It sets the platform for a positive first week and performance. For Port, 2-0 sets them up for a nice run at a top 4 finish. A win for the crows will have their season running and believing they can topple the Lions at home.
Adelaide has had two shocking years since their 2017 Grand Final appearance. 2020 promises to be another tough one. They’ll enjoy early success here though! Absolutely loved seeing players throw down in training. Primed and with a chip on their shoulders, I think they’ll outwork Port Adelaide, a front running team. A famous victory awaits the Crows.
Gold Coast (0-1) Vs West Coast (1-0) - Saturday Night
West Coast. 2-0 start and well on the way to a top 4 birth. Simple as that.
Editor note: Jarrod Witts has been ruled out. West Coast 40 or 60+ a great multi builder.
GWS (1-0) Vs North Melbourne (1-0) - Sunday Afternoon
Two teams used to playing in front of no one; North seems keener on keeping rivalry with Essendon relevant. North will be the first team to play on the same day as flying into town; sharing a plane with the Bombers. Taking down a fancied St. Kilda in Round 1; North will fancy themselves here. It’ll be tough going; getting to sleep early enough the night before a game, an early wake-up, a trip to the airport, and finally a flight to a game. All by 1:10 pm.
GWS should start 2-0 in 2020. It will take a monumental effort for North to keep its intensity throughout the game. GWS’ stellar movement should provide easy goals at times of need. GWS 1-39, kicking away late after holding a 2 goal lead all game.
Sydney (1-0) Vs Essendon (1-0) - Sunday Afternoon
Emerging 2-0 after two weeks, one of these two teams will have the sails set for finals footy. The forward lines have been ravaged here, Franklin and Reid for Sydney, and Tipungwuti and Fantasia for the Bombers. Will anyone score? These two teams have had a series of classics recently, expect no different here.
Starting with the Dons, it will be fascinating to see how they handle the early morning commute followed by hours in a Sydney hotel before a 3 pm start. A long day ahead, the reward for handling this will be handsome. Winning in Sydney sets the Bombers up with top 4 aspirations, with Melbourne and Carlton in the following fortnight.
For Sydney - a youthful team I am quite bullish on - a 2-0 start with very winnable games against the Kangaroos, Bulldogs and Demons to come is a dream situation. Home ground advantage will be the difference here. Sydney 1-19.
St Kilda (0-1) Vs Western Bulldogs (0-1) - Sunday Night
Desperation footy should again the theme in the rounds final stanza. With both teams being dropping their opener; winning is essential. Finals aspirants; these are two more teams who could finish round 2 with a sense of doom.
31 points up against North in Round 1; St Kilda was horrendous in being run down late. Did they start to believe the pre-season hype mid-game? With Collingwood and Richmond across the next fortnight; losing here could be season over. 1-3 will be nigh on impossible to make finals from.
St Kilda let a great opportunity slip in Round 1
The Doggies copped a masterclass from the Pies in Round 1. A growing rivalry game with GWS awaits in Round 3 and a tough SCG trip to play the Swans in Round 4. Quickly, the Dogs could be yet another team finding themselves a long way behind the 8-ball unexpectedly early. One of the tougher games to pick, I’ll take the Saints in a close, low scoring game. Saints 1-19
There's my preview for Round 2, how good is a cold beer going to be just before 8pm on Thursday Night as the Pies and Tigers get us underway, again, for Season 2020!