1. GWS made history earlier than expected.
The Giants made history on Saturday with their maiden win in the AFL, over fellow newcomers the Gold Coast Suns. The gutsy manner of the win and coach Kevin Sheedy's delight after the 27-point triumph were all great to watch but no more than the most rousing rendition of a club song we have seen in some time in the rooms after. Steve Coniglio, Jonathan Giles, veteran Chad Cornes and prized recruits Tom Scully and Callan Ward showed the Suns' extra year of development counted for little when you attack the football harder and for longer. Few expected GWS to climb off the foot of the ladder let alone win a game this season, but they've done both in one foul swoop.2. Essendon underlined their top-four credentials.
The Bombers sent an ominous warning to the rest of the competition with their dismantling of the previously undefeated West Coast Eagles on Saturday night. John Worsfold's side were missing a host of key players and had to deal with the loss of onballer Matt Priddis, concussed during the game, but were seriously dismembered in the 61-point defeat. The Bombers were well up in all the key statistics and tellingly, smashed the Eagles 42-24 in the clearances with Brent Stanton and Jobe Watson starring with 36 disposals each. In covering for the loss of ruckman David Hille the Bombers have surely unearthed a future star in Tom Bellchambers, while the midfield, with the likes of David Zaharakis, Nathan Lovett-Murray, Heath Hocking, Ben Howlett and Dyson Heppell running through now has a real versatility and depth about it.3. Melbourne are playing passionless football.
Surely Melbourne would not have expected to be looking up at both Gold Coast and GWS on the ladder after seven rounds. Yet, the Demons form so far warrants the tag as the worst side in the competition. Whatever steps Mark Neeld's side made in recent spirited losses to Geelong and St Kilda were undone in Friday's insipid performance against Hawthorn after quarter-time. The Demons were lifeless; they had 52 less contested possessions and lost to a below-strength Hawks outfit that lairised for much of the game and were wayward in front of goal with 25 behinds, yet still managed to win by 66 points. Just one player (Nathan Jones) eclipsed the 20 disposal mark and few if any played with the required intensity, including co-captain Jack Trengove (10 disposals).4. Geelong's contested conundrum is glaring.
The reigning premiers have a few worries on their hands having lost three of their opening seven matches while being beaten in the contested possession count in each game. The Cats were soundly beaten by Adelaide on Saturday in a 50-point drubbing and lost the count 147-127, sparking coach Chris Scott to label the trend a 'serious problem'. That it is - you can't expect to beat the better sides in the competition if you can't win the hard ball. The retirement of tagger Cameron Ling has hurt in that department while Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel was also absent at the weekend, but with Collingwood the next opponent waiting, the Cats will need to find answers and reverse the trend sooner rather than later.5. The Bulldogs are on the right track.
Brendan McCartney's Bulldogs were ferocious at the contest on Sunday in their shock 18-point win over North Melbourne. And while much of the focus was on the Roos' deficiencies, respect must be paid to McCartney for lifting his side to 3-4 with a winnable stretch of games to come. There were so many positives to come out of the match for the Bulldogs with irrepressible pair Matthew Boyd (44 touches) and Ryan Griffen (31 and 12 inside 50s) impressing once again, while youngster Tory Dickson was a livewire up forward with four goals. The Dogs were much harder when it counted, smashing the Roos with 55 more contested possessions, and not only kept their final eight hopes alive but rose serious doubts about North Melbourne's.