Round 1 Stat Declaration

By Andrew Gigacz

Can we really glean anything from a Round 1 Ladder? Well if 2008 is anything to go by, the answer is yes. This time last year Hawthorn was on top and the Demons on the bottom. By the time the season was done and dusted, those two teams were still there. So if that’s a reliable indicator after Thursday night’s season opener, it’s the Blues for the flag and the Tigers for the spoon this year.

Geelong, having discovered in last year’s Grand Final that 34 scoring shots (11.23) aren’t always enough to win a game, went two better (kicking 15.21) and managed to hold off the Hawks.

The Magpies missed out against Adelaide, after Dale Thomas’ sublime boundary-line skills were outdone by the boundary umpire’s even sublimer visual acumen. Collingwood’s loss (13.8.86 to the Crows’ 13.12.90) was the first Round 1 occasion since 1967 in which the Magpies have scored the same number of goals as the opposition. Incredibly, the winning score in that match was the same as the Pies went down to Geelong 13.12 to 13.11.

The debut match at the newly named Idiot Stadium (isn’t that how it’s pronounced?) saw St Kilda and the Swans replay (in reverse) the first half of the corresponding match last year before the Saints made Sydney look impotent for the remainder of the match. Last year in Round 1 these two sides met in a similarly dour affair at the same venue with The Saints getting away to a flyer before the Swans reeled them in by half-time. This time round it was the Swans getting away and St Kilda clawing their way back by the big break.

Brisbane gave Patrick White’s favourite coach (Voss) a great start to his career win against the Eagles at the Gabba. Interestingly, the Lions won the match having been behind at half-time and without kicking a goal in the last quarter. The last time that happened, in 2006, was also at the Gabba, and the winner was again Brisbane.

On Sunday, as North Melbourne did just enough at the MCG, Melbourne fans may have felt a sense of déjà vu. After scores were level at 3.3 apiece at quarter time, the Kangaroos edged away to a fairly comfortable win. Only three years earlier, the Demons and the Blues were also locked a 3.3 at quarter-time in their Round 1 match before Carlton similarly slipped away.

As well as losing to Port Adelaide by 7 goals, Essendon broke a 10-year Round 1 sequence fielding first Round 1 Bomber side since 1998 to have no players with a surname beginning with the letter J.

The Dogs maintained their reputation as being Round 1 specialists, opening their season with a win (against the Dockers) for the 5th year in a row. (St Kilda are next best with 3 in a row.)

GOOD OMEN OF THE WEEK:

In defeating the Hawks, Geelong kicked 15.21.111. Only twice before in VFL/AFL history has this been a Round 1 winning score. The victors on those occasions were Richmond in 1969 and Hawthorn in 1988. Both sides went on to win that year’s flag. So get your house on the Cats.

BAD OMEN OF THE WEEK:

On the other hand, Hawthorn lost that game despite kicking more goals (16.7.103) than Geelong. Of all previous teams who have lost their Round 1 matches having kicked more goals than their opposition, NOT ONE has made a Grand Final in the same year. Sorry Hawks.

CHEER-UP STAT OF THE WEEK:

The Tigers 83 point loss was a 28% improvement on their 2006 Round 1 effort when they lost to the Dogs by 115 points.

RIDICULOUS FOOTY ANAGRAM OF THE WEEK:

Maybe not so ridiculous after their weekend performance. The expectations were high down at Dockerland before this week but after their capitulation in the last quarter against the Bulldogs at Subiaco on Sunday night, how appropriate that FREMANTLE is an anagram of “men falter”…

 

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?

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