Snapshot of round one of the AFL season

·2-min read


THEY SAID IT: "I think we can play a lot better than that. I hope we can fix that quickly. I wouldn't like to to play like that again." - Brisbane coach Chris Fagan wasn't happy with his side's sub-par start to the season in a shock defeat to a youthful Sydney team.

STATS THAT MATTER: Port Adelaide shot straight to the top of the ladder again with a healthy percentage of 180.0 after their 52-point thumping of North Melbourne. The Power spent the entire 2020 home-and-away season on top of the ladder, becoming the third team in the AFL era to complete that feat after West Coast (1991) and Essendon (2000).

PLAYER OF THE ROUND: Did we expect it to be anyone else but Dustin Martin? The three-time Norm Smith medallist picked up where he left off in last year's grand final with a typical power-packed performance to help Richmond again edge out Carlton in the opening game of the season.

KEY MOMENT: Hawthorn forward Tim O'Brien found space deep in attack to take a comfortable mark and kick the winning goal for his side against Essendon with 90 seconds left on the clock. Earlier, the Bombers had led by 40 points before the Hawks hit back with eight goals to one in the third quarter to set up a thrilling finish.

TALKING POINT: Upsets were in vogue on Saturday as Adelaide and Sydney had shock round-one victories. The Crows rolled flag fancies Geelong at Adelaide Oval, with Taylor Walker kicking five goals, before the Swans beat premiership contenders Brisbane at the Gabba.

TRIBUNAL WATCH: Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield was sent straight to the tribunal for the high bump on Jake Kelly that left the Adelaide player concussed and with a broken nose. The pair clashed heads after Dangerfield elected to bump in a move that will almost certainly see him rubbed out for multiple weeks. Richmond defender David Astbury escaped with a $2000 fine for striking Carlton's Lachie Plowman.

KEY INJURIES: Jack Silvagni (Carlton - shoulder), Nick Vlastuin (Richmond - knee), Alex Pearce (Fremantle - knee), Joel Hamling (Fremantle - ankle), Jake Kelly (Adelaide - concussion), Luke Brown (Adelaide - Achilles), Mitch Hinge (Adelaide - shoulder), Sam Menegola (Geelong - shoulder), Riley Bonner (Port Adelaide - hamstring), Adain Corr (North Melb - toe), Curtis Taylor (North Melb - concussion), Matt Rowell (Gold Coast - knee).

WHAT'S NEXT: Traditional rivals Carlton and Collingwood do battle on Thursday night in an early crunch match for both sides. There is also heat on fellow round-one losers Geelong and Brisbane when they meet at GMHBA Stadium on Friday night after their shock defeats. One of Sydney and Adelaide will likely boast a 2-0 record despite both sides being widely tipped to struggle this season.