WE’RE only two rounds into the 2015 season and while the perennial powerhouses flexed their muscle, some unlikely results still emerged from the weekend’s action.
The Bulldogs and the Bombers stunned their opponents to record shock wins, while the Swans and the Dockers gave fellow top-4 aspirants in Port Adelaide and Geelong plenty to think about after sweeping them both aside.
Pre-season Brownlow favourite Gary Ablett Jr continued his horror start to the season, as did his side, which once seemed a lock for finals this season.
The Magpie army is bracing for more hard times ahead, while the Crows have quickly become the most-fancied club in South Australia.
Round two also saw the emergence of a new Brownlow medal favourite and a re-shuffling of the Coleman medal market.
How did the markets change in round 2?
The round kicked off on Friday night with the West Coast Eagles easily accounting for a disappointing Carlton team, running out winners by 69 points at Domain Stadium.
The charge was led by former Carlton draftee Josh Kennedy, who tormented his ex-team-mates with a stunning 10-goal haul; finishing just one point shy of the entire Blues’ score.
It was a sorry sight for Carlton fans, with former Blue players all around the competition playing fantastic for their new clubs, combining for a total of 19 goals across the weekend between four players.
In the wake of this, Sportsbet have opened a market on which current or former Carlton player will kick the most goals in season 2015. Currently Josh Kennedy is the market leader at $1.50 with next best being Adelaide livewire Eddie Betts at 3.50. No single Carlton player is in the market, instead, the $12 quote is offered if ‘any Blue’ is able to end the season ahead of West Coast’s Kennedy, Adelaide’s Betts, North Melbourne’s Jarrad Waite or Melbourne’s Jeff Gartlett.
The Eagles sharpshooter Kennedy moved into second favourite for the Coleman medal too, a $6 second favourite behind Sydney’s Lance Franklin.
The Saturday games started with the Western Bulldogs stunning the Richmond Tigers at the MCG, leading at every change to run out eventual 19 point winners.
The Bulldogs hunted the man and ball with ferocity, moved the ball fast and direct and showed a determination that has not been seen wearing red white and blue for well over five years.
The win puts them at 2-0 for the first time since 2009, and suddenly forces the perceptions of where this side may finish in 2015 to drastically change.
Sportsbet had the Dogs at the hail Mary odds of $11 to make the top-8, but on the back of two sensational performances Luke Beveridge’s men have been wound in to $6.50.
The Tigers’ premiership odds have blown out from $26 to $34 in the space of one week.
The Swans continued on their winning ways Saturday night, with an impressive 48-point victory over premiership fancies Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
Sydney snared a two-goal break going into half time, then unleashed a flurry of offense that blew their opponents away, outscoring the Power 11 goals to five after the first change.
The maniacal pressure on the ball-carrier was reminiscent of the Swans’ premiership in 2012, with Port Adelaide bereft of time and options when they were able to gain possession.
The determination and work-ethic was personified by their two tall targets in Kurt Tippett and Lance Franklin, who registered an amazing 16 tackles between them.
The win puts the Swans into equal favouritism with the Hawks at William Hill to take out the minor premiership, with the $3 offered prior to the commencement of the season shaved to $2.60.
The early Sunday afternoon game saw Fremantle travel down to face the undermanned Geelong Cats at Simmons Stadium.
Fremantle looked magnificent from the outset, controlling the ball and limiting the amount of time their opponents had to make decisions. The Cats chose a tall line up to expose the Dockers’ perceived lack of height in their backline, a decision that backfired spectacularly, with none of their tall forwards registering any more than two goals whilst exerting no influence around the ground.
The Dockers’ midfield ran riot with over seven players registering 22 disposals or more. Nat Fyfe was the main culprit though, amassing 36 touches and kicking three goals.
On the back of this and last week’s stellar performance the Fremantle superstar has moved into outright favouritism for the Brownlow medal with William Hill offering $4.50, almost half of the quote offered for next best, Adelaide’s Patrick Dangerfield at $8.
The Cats have blown out to an unprecedented $34 with William Hill to take out the 2015 premiership.
The second Sunday game saw an early contender for game of the year with Essendon downing the Hawks by two points at the MCG.
Hawthorn battled back from a six-goal deficit to take a 16-point lead deep into the final quarter, but a spirited Essendon would not be denied, wrenching back the lead with less than a minute to go and just holding on to register their first win of the season.
The win propels Essendon into the premiership market with the $31 quote with William Hill prior to the season opener almost slashed in half – the Dons now commanding $17 to win this year’s flag.
The loss did no damage to Hawthorn in the eyes of the bookmarkers however, with the reigning premiers still $3.30 favourites with Sportsbet to complete the treble in 2015.
More injury woes for the luckless Carlton coming out of Friday night’s loss to West Coast, with versatile defender Simon White set to have a stint on the sidelines with an ongoing knee issue restricting him to just one quarter of football. He is expected to miss at least a month.
The news is not any better for Collingwood either, with dashing defender Ben Sinclair likely to miss at least a month of football after scans revealed the hamstring injury that led to his substitution during Saturday afternoon’s loss to Adelaide was worse than feared.
The Magpies also sent captain Scott Pendlebury in for scans on an ankle injury sustained in the same game, but Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley was confident the Pies’ skipper will be fit to face St Kilda on Friday night.
The Hawks’ worst fears with James Frawley were realised when club doctors confirmed the key defender had injured his right pectoral muscle – the main muscle in the chest. Best case scenario would see Frawley miss 6-8 weeks, with the former Demon battling a similar injury on the left side of his chest two years ago.
Lastly, North Melbourne midfielder Nick Dal Santo injured his hamstring in his side’s demolition of Brisbane. The severity of the injury is only slight, but North are set to take a conservative approach with the 31-year-old and will likely miss 2-3 weeks of football.