The 2021 AFL season continued this weekend with round two of action taking place.

Round two of the AFL season is an opportunity for teams that were successful in round one to consolidate their start. Conversely, it’s on the round one losers to avoid digging a hole for themselves by dodging a 0-2 record. Our match of the week concerns a pair of teams in that second circumstance.

Here at Vendetta Sports Media we’ll be covering the entire AFL season for you. In case you missed it, all our team previews, and this writers ladder predictions, are located here.

Match of the Week: Geelong Cats vs Brisbane Lions

Long time Hawk Isaac Smith has spent his career being roundly booed by the Cats faithful. His first game in Geelong’s famous hoops at Kardinia Park must have been an unusual experience for him. To say he made the most of it would be an understatement.

Smith kicked the winning goal late in the final quarter, though his moment of glory was obscured by a most controversial finish.

Both the Cats and Lions came into their round two clash under pressure to turn around disappointing results in the opening round: Geelong unexpectedly falling to the Crows in Adelaide; a disinterested Brisbane losing at home to the Swans. With both teams expected to contest for the premiership, a 0-2 start would be an unwelcome hurdle.

Things were made harder for the Lions – looking for their first win at Kardinia Park since 2002 – by a COVID scare in their hometown Brisbane that saw the AFL strongly considering postponing the match, even as the 20,000 strong crowd were flowing through the gates.

The Cats skipped away earl, with Tom Hawkins second goal of the opening stanza pushing the lead out to 26 points. With the Lions starved of the football – reigning Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale was held to a career low three first half possessions – and wasteful when they did get their hands on it, it was looking ominous for the Lions.

The first quarter ended in controversy as Cat Gary Rohan took a swing at Neale, the blow glancing off of Neale’s shoulder before striking his jaw. That caused some push and shove that could have blown up at the quarter time break as fiery Cats coach Chris Scott – a Lions hard man in his playing days – got into some verbals with a few of the Lions players, before being dragged away by some of his own chargers.

Brisbane were able to steady in the second period through the strong marking of Eric Hipwood. The 23 year old had defender Jake Kolodjashnij in his pocket, kicking three first half goals and missing another three quite getable shots at goal. The Cats led by 20 points at the main break.

The third quarter was an arm wrestle, with neither side able to seize control of the game. Both teams swapped goals with Hugh McCluggage, Charlie Cameron and former Cat Lincoln McCarthy’s goals answered by Joel Selwood, Jordan Clark and a third to Hawkins. A tight contest was no indication of the fireworks that were to come.

Brisbane opened up the contest – not always easy on the narrow confines of Kardinia Park – in the last quarter, finally getting their running game going. Three goals in a seven minute span saw the lead reduced the three points with over 15 minutes remaining: game on.

When boom recruit Joe Daniher snuck out the back to finish a clinical Lions counter attack, Brisbane found themselves leading with under nine minutes to go.

As expected under the circumstances, the game tightened up considerably as both teams scrapped for every inch of territory. The Cats were able to break through as Hawkins – always dangerous as an auxiliary ruckman, found Smith from a stoppage, the former Hawk snapping truly to endear himself to his new fans.

Brisbane still pushed forward, though, and perhaps should have had the opportunity to win the game in the final minute. Cat big man Mark Blicavs was caught in a tackle from Lion Zac Bailey, no more than 5 metres from goal. Blicavs quite clearly didn’t dispose of the ball by hand or foot: it was a clear free kick and Bailey should have been lining up to win the game for the Lions.

Instead, the Cats got out of jail.

The Cats go into next week’s clash with old rival Hawthorn in unconvincing form, but they at least have win on the board. Despite belatedly breaking out of their malaise, Brisbane face Collingwood and are a very real chance falling to 0-3, which could be terminal to their chances of a top four finish.

Geelong Cats: 12 goals, 9 behinds (81)

Brisbane Lions: 11 goals, 14 behinds (80)

Goals

Geelong: Hawkins 3, Tuohy 2, Evans 2, Selwood 2, Miers, Clark, Smith

Brisbane: Hipwood 4, Cameron 2, Lyons, McCluggage, McCarthy, Berry, Daniher

Best

Geelong: Selwood, Touhy, Hawkins, Guthrie, Stanley, Stewart

Brisbane: Hipwood, McCluggage, Zorko, Rich, Lyons, Birchall

Onto the other games from round two of the AFL season.

Carlton Blues 13 goals, 7 behinds (85) lost to Collingwood Magpies 16 goals, 10 behinds (106)

Goals

Carlton: McKay 4, Martin 3, Gibbons 3, Pittonet, Fogarty, Fisher

Collingwood: DeGoey 4, Mihocek 3, Elliott 2, Cox 2, Sidebottom, Daicos, Adams, Hoskin-Elliott, Ruscoe

Best

Carlton: Cripps, Walsh, Saad, Newnes, Plowman, Setterfield

Collingwood: Moore, Adams, DeGory, Mihocek, Pendlebury, Noble, Crisp

A strong opening from Collingwood saw them ease out to an eighteen point lead early in the second quarter. Despite Carlton’s best efforts, the Magpies were able to keep the Blues at arms length from that point on. In a tight tussle, the match was notable for an early pair of Goal of the Year contenders from Magpie Taylor Adams and Carlton’s Michael Gibbons.

Sydney Swans 18 goals, 13 behinds (121) defeated Adelaide Crows 11 goals, 22 behinds (88)

Goals

Sydney: Franklin 3, Heeney 3, Hickey 2, McDonald 2, Warner 2, Papley, Gulden, Reid, Parker, Wicks, McInerney

Adelaide: Walker 6, McAdam 4, Keays

Best

Sydney: Gulden, Campbell, Parker, Heeney, Lloyd, Franklin

Adelaide: Walker, McAdam, Keays, Sloane, Laird

The tight confines of the SCG are often a full forwards best friend, and so it proved as the Swans and Crows put on an offensive show. Swans superstar Buddy Franklin returned for his first action in close to 600 days and looked like he’d never left, slotting three goals. At the other end Shane McAdam booted four and veteran Taylor Walker slotted six of his own, marking the first time that big ‘Tex’ has kicked 5+ goals in back to back games since 2016.

Port Adelaide Power 18 goals, 11 behinds (119) defeated Essendon Bombers 9 goals, 11 behinds (65)

Goals

Port Adelaide: Dixon 4, Georgiades 4, Ladhams, 2, Motlop 2, Fantasia 2, Amon, Butters, Lycett, Houston

Essendon: Hooker 3, McDonald-Tipungwuti 3, Langford, Cox, Snelling

Best

Port Adelaide: Butters, Dixon, Gergiades, Houston, Wines

Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti, Hooker, Merrett, Ridley, Redman

The Power kicked a pair of goals inside three minutes – they never looked back. The Bombers worked manfully, but were outclassed even before losing Dylan Shiel, Sam Draper and Jye Caldwell to injury mid match. Ollie Wines (38 possessions) and Zak Butters (36) had their way with the Essendon midfield, consistently feeding Charlie Dixon and Mitch Georgiades, whole both helped themselves to four goals.

St Kilda Saints 11 goals 7 behinds (73) lost to Melbourne Demons 12 goals, 19 behinds (91)

Goals

St Kilda: Steele 3, King 2, Membrey, Battle, McKernan, Gresham, Billings, Higgins

Melbourne: Viney 2, Pickett 2, McDonald 2, Jones, Neal-Bullen, Langdon, Sparrow, Spargo, Fritsch

Best

St Kilda: Steele, Billings, Ross, Howard, Gresham

Melbourne: Oliver, Petracca, Salem, Lever, Pickett, Gawn

For two teams that love to play a counter attacking style, this sure was a messy game of football. In a topsy-turvy match, each team experienced periods of ascendancy, with a five goal Demons run either side of half time proving pivotal. Clayton Oliver and Christian Petracca were dominant for the Dees, whilst 19 year old Kysaiah Pickett showed flashes of his immense potential. Jack Steele was magnificent for the Saints, but he was a lone hand with no other Saint truly excelling on the night.

Gold Coast Suns 14 goals, 14 behinds (98) defeated North Melbourne Kangaroos 5 goals, 9 behinds (39)

Goals

Gold Coast: King3, Rankine 3, Sexton 2, Ainsworth, Day, Lukosius, Markov, Weller, Swallow

North Melbourne: Goldstein, Larkey, Scott, Thomas, Powell

Best

Gold Coast: Anderson, Miller, Weller, Lukosius, Collins, Bowes

North Melbourne: Anderson, Goldstein, Turner, Bonar, Turner

The Kangaroos are in for a tough season. They struggled mightily against the Suns up in Carrara. For the most part, the Roos worked hard but just didn’t have the speed of thought or ability to execute at an AFL level. The Suns, on the other hand, had multiple players enjoy big nights. Noah Anderson had a career high 35 possessions, Touk Miller had 31 of his own and Sam Collins took 13 interceptions, controlling the Suns half back line with ease.

Hawthorn Hawks 7 goals, 7 behinds (49) lost to Richmond Tigers 11 goals, 12 behinds (78)

Goals

Hawthorn: Breust 2, Brockman 2, Morrison,O’Brien, Koschitzke

Richmond: Reiwoldt 4, Lynch 2, Castagna 2, Balta, Martin, Aarts

Best

Hawthorn: Jiath, Mitchell, Impey, Hardwick, Phillips

Richmond: Martin, Cotchin, Reiwoldt, Prestia, Short, Bolton

A professional performance from the reigning premiers, who put three early goals on the board and then held a brave Hawthorn outfit at arms length for the rest of the day. Veteran full forward Jack Reiwoldt hit the scoreboard with four goals from only nine disposals, whilst the other members of Richmond’s Old Firm in Dion Prestia, Dustin Martin and captain Trent Cotchin were all outstanding. As always, Tom Mitchell was magnificent for the Hawks, with 37 possessions. Young defender Changkuoth Jiath was brave under the avalanche of ball coming into the Hawthorn back line.

Western Bulldogs 14 goals, 16 behinds (100) defeated West Coast Eagles 14 goals 9 behinds (93)

Goals

Western Bulldogs: Bruce 3, Bontompelli 3, Naughton 3, Daniel, Dunkley, English, Smith

West Coast Eagles: Kennedy 4, Darling 3, Jones 2, Allen 2, Ryan

Best

Western Bulldogs: Bontompelli, Macrae, Dunkley, Daniel, Naughton, Treloar

West Coast Eagles: Naitanui, Sheed, Hurn, Kennedy, Darling

An instant classic of a football match. The Dogs and Eagles both played wonderful football, full of pace, skill and discipline. The Dogs held sway in a tight first half before Eagles ruck Nic Naitanui put together a stunning second half to lead the Eagles into the ascendancy. The All Australian amassed 40 hit outs and 11 clearances in a dominant display, spoon feeding midfielders Dom Sheed and Tim Kelly to drive the Eagles forward. Jack Darling, Oscar Allen and Liam Ryan each kicked goals in a four minute span to hand the Eagles a three quarter time lead. The Dogs roared back in the last quarter to tie things up, before the sides started trading goals. Jamaine Jones put the Eagles in front, before Aaron Naughton immediately answered for the Bulldogs. Dogs back man Bailey Williams then won a pivotal contest in amongst three Eagles, starting a counter attack from which Bulldogs skipper Marcus Bontompelli kicked the sealing goal.

Fremantle 11 goals, 21 points (87) defeated Greater Western Sydney Giants 7 goals, 14 behinds (56)

Goals

Fremantle: Schultz 3, Brayshaw 2, Switkowski 2, Taberner 2, Fyfe, Frederick

GWS: Himmelberg 2, Greene 2, Sproule2, Hopper

Best

Fremantle: Mundy, Brayshaw, Cerra, Switkowski, Meek, Schultz, Darcy, Hughes

GWS: Greene, Himmelberg, Perryman, Cumming, Hill

Both teams were somewhat wasteful, though the sheer number of opportunities that the Dockers created meant that their profligacy ultimately didn’t matter. Fremantle’s young midfield is rightly lauded – Andrew Brayshaw was outstanding with 32 disposals – but it was the veteran David Mundy (36 possessions and six clearances) who led the way. The 31 point margin somewhat flattered the Giants, who at one stage in the final quarter trailed by 47 points. Only a few garbage time goals aligned with the Dockers goal kicking woes made the final score respectable. The Giants fell to their first 0-2 start since 2013.

Coleman Medal leader board (League’s leading goal kicker)

Taylor Walker (Adelaide) – 11 goals

Jack Reiwoldt (Richmond) – 8

Ben King (Gold Coast) – 6

Charlie Dixon (Port Adelaide) – 6

Orazio Fantasia (Port Adelaide) – 6

Isaac Heeney (Sydney) – 6

Harry McKay (Carlton) – 6

#ClubMPts%ForAgtThis WeekProjectedNext
1Port Adel28181.5 %236130Won vs Ess
119 – 65
2nd: 56– pts, 114 %Saturday
@ WCE
2Richmond28141.9 %183129Won @ Haw
78 – 49
1st: 64 pts, 125 %Saturday
vs Syd
3Sydney28135.2 %246182Won vs Adel
121 – 88
6th: 48 pts, 105 %Saturday
@ Rich
4Melbourne28130.5 %171131Won @ St.K
91 – 73
5th: 52– pts, 105 %Sunday
@ GWS
5W Bulldogs28115.8 %169146Won vs WCE
100 – 93
3rd: 56 pts, 113 %Friday
@ N.M.
6Gold Coast24127.9 %156122Won vs N.M.
98 – 39
17th: 32 pts, 87 %Friday
@ Adel
7WC Eagles24111.4 %176158Lost @ W.B.
93 – 100
8th: 44+ pts, 103 %Saturday
vs P.A.
8Fremantle24106.6 %145136Won vs GWS
87 – 56
12th: 40 pts, 97 %Sunday
@ Carl
9Collingwood24103.2 %159154Won @ Carl
106 – 85
11th: 40+ pts, 97 %Thursday
@ B.L.
10St Kilda2494.1 %159169Lost vs Melb
73 – 91
9th: 44 pts, 99 %Saturday
@ Ess
11Geelong2494.0 %172183Won vs B.L.
81 – 80
4th: 52 pts, 111 %Monday
vs Haw
12Adelaide2490.1 %191212Lost @ Syd
88 – 121
16th: 36 pts, 90 %Friday
vs G.C.
13Hawthorn2483.4 %141169Lost vs Rich
49 – 78
14th: 40 pts, 94 %Monday
@ Geel
14Brisbane2084.5 %174206Lost @ Geel
80 – 81
7th: 44 pts, 105 %Thursday
vs Coll
15Carlton2078.2 %165211Lost vs Coll
85 – 106
13th: 40 pts, 96 %Sunday
vs Freo
16GWS Giants2077.5 %134173Lost @ Freo
56 – 87
10th: 40 pts, 99 %Sunday
vs Melb
17Essendon2073.9 %156211Lost @ P.A.
65 – 119
15th: 36 pts, 91 %Saturday
vs St.K
18North Melb2048.4 %104215Lost @ G.C.
39 – 98
18th: 28– pts, 79 %Friday
vs W.B.