24/04/2024

Paul Curtis celebrating with fans after North Melbourne's one-point win over Fremantle at Optus Stadium (Image: North Melbourne/Twitter)

Round two of the AFL season is over and a few clubs have faltered to 0-2 while some unexpected names sit undefeated.

The Blues upset the Cats, there was a power outage at the GABBA, and then again at the MCG. The sling tackle headlined the news and there was controversy in the West.

The Inner Sanctum is back with your weekly round-up, including your clubs’ stand outs and who had the key roles.

Carlton, 13.122 (90) def Geelong 12.10 (82)

Slow starting Cats.

The Blues enjoyed their first win since last July, surviving a late push from the Cats to win a thriller at the MCG on Thursday night. Key forwards took centre stage as Geelong became the first reigning premiers to start 0-2 since the Hawks in 2009.

Patrick Cripps built into the game after a slow start, finishing with 27 disposals and a game-high 30 pressure acts. Ed Curnow starred with eight tackles and a goal, while his brother Charlie kicked five goals and had nine score involvements from just 11 disposals.

Adam Saad was the Blues’ best with a game-high 608 metres gained and 10 intercept possessions, getting Carlton off to a strong start with 12 of his 29 disposals in the first quarter. Rookie Ollie Hollands led the game for distance covered, pushing hard on the wing for his 20 touches.

Jeremy Cameron kicked six goals from 25 disposals and toiled long into the final term trying to will the Cats over the line, putting Geelong on his back by booting three goals in the last term. Patrick Dangerfield was integral for the reigning premiers, leading the game for clearances and having 13 contested possessions from his 22 disposals.

New recruit Jack Bowes missed an all-important shot at goal in the last quarter, but impressed with 20 disposals and five tackles.

Total Centre Bounces – 29

Carlton

86.2% – Ed Curnow

79.3% – Adam Cerra

72.4% – Patrick Cripps

55.2% – Matt Kennedy

6.9% – Sam Docherty

Ed Curnow saw a 60 per cent rise on round one due to George Hewett’s omission, tagging Guthrie early on before finding his own ball and laying eight tackles. Carlton will be reluctant to give other names considerable inside time, with Sam Walsh still due to enter the side.

Geelong

82.8% – Tom Atkins

79.3% – Mark Blicavs

58.6% – Patrick Dangerfield

41.4% – Cameron Guthrie

34.5% – Max Holmes

31.0% – Tanner Bruhn

3.4% – Jeremy Cameron

31 per cent of Blicavs CBAs were as the ruckman, sitting him as the third-ranked midfielder. Atkins had an impressive 12 tackles with a 40 per cent increase in midfield time, while Guthrie’s opportunities were almost halved to avoid the Curnow tag early.

Kick ins (Play on percentage)

Carlton

3 – Adam Saad (33.3%)

3 – Mitch McGovern (0%)

2 – Nic Newman (100%)

2 – Sam Docherty (100%)

Geelong

3 – Jack Bowes (100%)

3 – Zach Tuohy (100%)

2 – Cameron Guthrie (100%)

2 – Isaac Smith (100%)

1 – Zach Guthrie (100%)

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Brisbane, 14.9 (93) def Melbourne, 13.4 (82)

Forty-minute delay.

The Lions battled a power outage and lengthy delay, before surviving a strong push from the Demons to grind out an 11-point win at the GABBA. A fire in the floodlights caused a 40-minute delay in the final quarter as both teams walked away with injuries, Melbourne lost Max Gawn early to an MCL while Brisbane’s Jarrod Berry was taken out late with significant pain in his strapped shoulder.

Dayne Zorko returned to the line-up and enjoyed a night out, collecting 22 disposals and two goals before being substituted out in the final term as a precaution. Rising Star favourite Will Ashcroft had his breakout game, having 15 contested possessions and a goal in his 31-disposal, nine-clearance performance.

Josh Dunkley looked more like himself in round two, leading the game with 42 pressure acts and having five tackles, he also had nine clearances to lead the game with Ashcroft. Young Darcy Wilmot had 326 metres gained from his 13 disposals in an impressive showing, despite spending a combined 41 minutes on the bench over the first three quarters.

Clayton Oliver was the story of the night, a game high nine tackles, 774 metres gained (almost 300 more than second highest Lachie Hunter) and 36 pressure acts, was by far the best player on the park. New recruit Brodie Grundy put up 45 hit outs and five tackles after Max Gawn’s knee injury, Grundy will get an extended run as the main ruck over the next few weeks.

Petracca had his usual 26 touches and a goal, his six-tackle performance going almost unnoticed in the loss. Angus Brayshaw kickstarted a lot of the Demons’ ball movement from the half-back line, finishing with 27 disposals and six marks.

Total Centre Bounces – 31

Brisbane

90.3% – Josh Dunkley

87.1% – Lachie Neale

70.9% – Jarrod Berry

25.8% – Will Ashcroft

19.4% – Hugh McCluggage

6.4% – Zac Bailey

Jarrod Berry saw his first rotation of the season, playing on Oliver at stoppages, would not be surprised to see him back out next week. McCluggage was the main loser from Berry’s inclusion, over 50 per cent down from last week.

Dunkley saw a 20 per cent bump into the 90s and had a much heavier focus on contest work, Ashcroft’s numbers were halved to spend time on a wing but still found plenty of the ball.

Melbourne

87.1% – Clayton Oliver

67.7% – Christian Petracca

61.3% – Jack Viney

38.7% – James Harmes

32.3% – Tom Sparrow

12.9% – Angus Brayshaw

Viney’s return to the squad saw a drop in both Sparrow’s and Harmes’ numbers, as the Demons reverted to a tighter mix. With one week left to go on Pickett’s suspension, Brayshaw could feature in the middle against the Swans next week.

Oliver stayed around the 85 per cent mark, while Petracca had a 12 per cent decrease from last week.

Kick ins (Play on Percentage)

Brisbane

3 – Daniel Rich (100%)

Melbourne

5 – Adam Tomlinson (100%)

2 – Trent Rivers (100%)

2 – Jake Bowey (100%)

Note: Adam Tomlinson was a late-in for Steven May who was given an extra week to be fully fit. Expect no Tomlinson next week but May is likely to take his volume of Kick ins.

Collingwood, 21.9 (135) def Port Adelaide, 9.10 (64)

Another Power outage.

The Magpies were too good for the Power on Saturday afternoon at the MCG, cruising to a 71-point win. Port Adelaide struggled to counteract Collingwood’s ball movement and contest work as they were comfortably beaten around the ground in the 12-goal loss.

Over the first two rounds, Collingwood has done everything in their power to get the ball in Nick Daicos’ hands. He tore the game apart on Saturday afternoon, generating 661 metres gained from his 32 disposals and kicking two goals.

Tom Mitchell is finding his feet in the black and white, having another 16 contested possessions and eight clearances. While Darcy Cameron was almost best-on-ground, also having 16 contested possessions and five tackles while dominating the centre circle with 29 hit-outs on Scott Lycett.

Josh Daicos kicked two goals from the wing and gave the Pies a much stronger connection between their midfield and forward line, putting together another 26-disposal performance.

Connor Rozee was one of few that stood out for Port Adelaide, working all across the ground and getting seven score involvements from his 19 disposals. Former Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines had 11 contested possessions and five clearances, putting up a fight despite the Power getting well-beaten at the coalface.

Total Centre Bounces – 34

Collingwood

67.6% – Scott Pendlebury

55.9% – Tom Mitchell

50% – Jordan De Goey

38.2% – Taylor Adams

35.3% – Jack Crisp

26.5% – Nick Daicos

17.6% – Josh Daicos

5.9% – Jamie Elliott

2.9% – Will Hoskin-Elliott

Pendlebury, Mitchell and De Goey controlled the centre of the ground with their clearance work and are likely to remain as the first-choice centre. Adams again worked in a rotation with Mitchell to play the in-and-under role, while the Daicos brothers found themselves inside for the first time this season.

Crisp lost 26 per cent of his CBAs, while Elliott’s role was also reduced 10 per cent to open up space for the Daicos boys.

Port Adelaide

61.8% – Ollie Wines

58.8% – Jason Horne-Francis

50% – Connor Rozee

44.1% – Willem Drew

41.2% – Zak Butters

26.5% – Travis Boak

11.8% – Sam Powell-Pepper

5.9% – Lachie Jones

Travis Boak’s return to the squad as the substitute saw a drop in CBAs for Rozee, with Wines and Horne-Francis taking up the posts of key midfielders. Powell-Pepper put up a strong performance in his limited midfield chances, while Butters had a quiet game through his rotation.

Boak’s 26 per cent stay saw drops for all of Rozee (33%), Wines (12%) and Horne-Francis (8%). While Butters (8%) and Drew (11%) saw slight increases.

Collingwood

5 – Nick Daicos (100%)

4 – Darcy Moore (75%)

1 – Brayden Maynard (0%)

Port Adelaide

4 – Ryan Burton (50%)

3 – Dan Houston (66.7%)

2 – Kane Farrell (100%)

Adelaide, 10.16 (76) def by Richmond, 17.6 (108)

Struck out swinging.

Adelaide was staring down the barrel of a mighty defeat at half-time before wrestling back to level pegging in the second half, they faltered late but showed heart to fight back into the game. The Tigers looked strong early and showed composure to ice the game, pulling away for a 32-point victory at Adelaide oval.

Rory Laird returned to form with a 39 disposal, eight tackle game. He brought the Crows back into the game with 11 score involvements and seven clearances. Jordan Dawson was impressive off halfback to earn 27 disposals and a game-leading 645 metres gained.

The Tigers were best served by former Giants duo Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto. Hopper had six inside 50s and a goal from his 23 disposals, While Taranto had 11 contested possessions and eight tackles from his 28 touches.

Daniel Rioli had another strong performance of half back, providing Richmond’s counterattack with strong run and carry through the back half. Noah Balta took nine intercept marks and was a key part of blocking the Crows’ resurgence.

Total Centre Bounces – 31

Adelaide

80.6% – Rory Laird

67.7% – Sam Berry

48.4% – Harry Schoenberg

35.5% – Jake Soligo

35.5% – Josh Rachele

16.9% – Ben Keays

9.7% – Izak Rankine

3.2% – Jordan Dawson

A very similar mix to their game against GWS last week, Laird and Berry will be their leading CBA midfielders over the season. Soligo looks to be the first rotation in and making the most of his chances. Rachele and Rankine shared the same rough 40 per cent rotation. Schoenberg got a 10 per cent bump with the omission of Tyler Brown and Rory Sloane from the rotation.

Richmond

80.6% – Tim Taranto

67.7% – Dion Prestia

64.5% – Jacob Hopper

38.7% – Trent Cotchin

35.5% – Shai Bolton

9.7% – Jack Graham

3.2% – Dustin Martin

Graham and Martin ran through the midfield when Adelaide fought back into the game. It came at the expense of Bolton who lost 20 per cent compared to last week’s game against Carlton. Hopper was much more effective with his same 65 per cent rotation.

Kick ins (play on percentage)

Adelaide

6 – Jordan Dawson (83.3%)

Richmond

10 – Nick Vlaustin (80%)

3 – Nathan Broad (100%)

1 – Liam Baker (100%)

1 – Daniel Rioli (100%)

1 – Noah Balta (0%)

Western Bulldogs, 5.11 (41) def by St Kilda, 14.8 (92)

Dogs in trouble.

The Bulldogs struggled to generate any forward momentum on the ball against Ross Lyon’s St Kilda side, falling to a second 50-point loss in as many weeks. The Saints were aggressive on offence and rarely looked troubled despite lacking an established key forward.

Marcus Bontempelli was the Dogs best in the loss, he had six clearances and five tackles, his work inside the contest was essential to keeping the Bulldogs alive. Tim English enjoyed a good battle in the ruck, finishing with 26 hit outs, 21 disposals and a goal.

Young Bulldog Riley Garcia led the game with 36 pressure acts, having 6 tackles and working hard to lock the ball inside 50.

Jack Steele was the best player on the park, putting up six tackles and a goal to go with his 29 disposals, before going down with a broken collarbone. Rowan Marshall halved the ruck battle, having 15 contested possessions and 29 hit outs from his 20 disposals.

Brad Crouch returned to form with a nine-tackle, six-clearance performance, working hard in the centre for 14 contested possessions. While Mason Wood had 24 touches and a goal, continuing his strong run of form.

Total Centre Bounces – 22

Western Bulldogs

90.9% – Tom Liberatore

77.3% – Marcus Bontempelli

59.1% – Caleb Daniel

40.9% – Jack Macrae

31.8% – Bailey Smith

With Adam Treloar out injured, Caleb Daniel worked his way into the midfield in a big way, immediately jumping up to first-choice rotation. Macrae spent heavy time on half-forward as both him and Smith saw a 20 per cent reduction on last week. Aside from Daniel, Liberatore was the big improver, rising over 15 per cent into the 90s.

St Kilda

81.8% – Jack Steele

77.3% – Brad Crouch

63.6% – Jade Gresham

45.5% – Seb Ross

22.7% – Hunter Clark

9.1% – Jack Sinclair

Steele missed the final two CBAs due to his shoulder that could’ve seen him in the 90s for the game. Gresham saw a 23 per cent rise with Jack Bytel’s omission, while Seb Ross returned to the line-up with a solid rotation to see Hunter Clark find his way out.

Kick ins (play on percentage)

Western Bulldogs

3 – Ed Richards (66.7%)

2 – Hayden Crozier (100%)

2 – Bailey Dale (50%)

1 – Taylor Duryea (100%)

St Kilda

7 – Jack Sinclair (71.4%)

3 – Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera (100%)

1 – Liam Stocker

Fremantle 10.12 (72) def by North Melbourne, 11.7 (93)

Roos’ great escape.

A controversial ending in the west sees the Dockers slump to 0-2 in their start to 2023, their offence looking dysfunctional despite having more opportunities. Alastair Clarkson’s Kangaroos are in the opposite basket, having an undefeated start to the season with back-to-back victories over the Western Australian sides.

New Vice-captains Andrew Brayshaw and Caleb Serong led the way for the Dockers. Brayshaw topped the game with 33 pressure acts and seven tackles, while Serong had 31 pressure acts and six score involvements from his game-high 31 disposals.

Luke Ryan had another strong game in defence, taking 10 marks and led all comers with 716 metres gained, he had eight intercepts and was solid in the loss.

Luke Davies-Uniacke continued his strong start to the season, putting up 30 disposals and six tackles. He also kicked a goal and comfortably led the game in contested possessions with 17 (next best was three players with 10).

Rookie Harry Sheezel backed up his rising-star nominating performance with another 30 disposals and seven marks. While Jack Ziebell was back to his usual self, gathering 11 marks and six rebound 50s, distributing the ball from the back half.

Total Centre Bounces – 25

Fremantle

84% – Caleb Serong

76% – Andrew Brayshaw

52% – Jaeger O’Meara

36% – Sam Switkowski

32% – Will Brodie

20% – James Aish

James Aish had a small role when O’Meara pushed forward late in a hunt to kick goals. Switkowski was the other second-half inclusion as the Dockers looked to change up the structure chasing the win.

Will Brodie saw his chances halved from last week, though Serong received a 10 per cent bump. O’Meara’s forward test cost him just under 20 per cent of his time around the ball.

North Melbourne

88% – Luke Davies-Uniacke

68% – Jy Simpkin

64% – Ben Cunnington

40% – Cameron Zurhaar

24% – Hugh Greenwood

16% – Tom Powell

A significant cut-down of the nine names that featured last week. Zurhaar saw a much larger chance in the middle, increasing his time by over 20 per cent. Cunnington was his usual in-and-under style as Davies-Uniacke and Simpkin starred around the ball.

Kick ins (play on percentage)

Fremantle

5 – Luke Ryan (60%)

2 – Brennan Cox (100%)

North Melbourne

7 – Jack Ziebell (100%)

2 – Luke McDonald (100%)

2 – Harry Sheezel (50%)

1 – Miller Bergman (0%)

Sydney, 17.16 (118) def Hawthorn, 4.13 (37)

Simply torn apart.

The Swans were far too good for the Hawks on Sunday afternoon, slicing through Hawthorn’s zone defence with precision kicking on their way to an 81-point thrashing at the SCG. The Hawks won the clearance battle but couldn’t find a good connection into attacking 50, going almost 80 game minutes without a goal.

It was a good day around the ground for Sydney, led by Callum Mills who had 28 disposals and two goals, he found plenty of the ball despite low CBAs. Errol Gulden continued along as expected, 28 touches, nine contested possessions and seven score involvements.

Nick Blakey battled a tag early before finding space and being one of the Swans’ best, breaking lines and delivering the ball upfield, he finished with 24 disposals and a game-high 523 metres gained.

Young midfielders battled on a tough day for Hawthorn, James Worpel had 16 contested possessions and a goal from his 22 touches. While Will Day had seven clearances from 26 disposals.

Dylan Moore was the Hawks’ best up forward, finishing with a goal and eight marks from limited opportunity.

Total Centre Bounces – 24

Sydney

75% – Luke Parker

58.3% – James Rowbottom

50% – Errol Gulden

45.8% – Chad Warner

30% – Callum Mills

20.8% – Tom Papley

8.3% – Isaac Heeney

8.3% – Dylan Stephens

Gulden and Papley shared 70 per cent as predicted last week, expect that to continue. Warner and Rowbottom switched splits, presumably since Warner was having a cold day or simply for more opportunity in a decided game.

Mills dropped five per cent from last week, looking comfortably outside of the main rotation, while Heeney and Stephens came into the mix for Matt Roberts.

Hawthorn

70.8% – Jai Newcombe

62.5% – Will Day

54.2% – James Worpel

45.8% – Conor Nash

37.5% – Josh Ward

25% – Cam Mackenzie

4.2% – Connor Macdonald

4.2% – Karl Amon

The same names as last week without Sicily, who was required in defence for the full game. Worpel saw a 20 per cent drop as Will Day saw a 40 per cent increase. Day was impressive and shouldn’t see too much of a drop in the rotation against North Melbourne.

Cam Mackenzie also saw his time halved, with Nash taking an extra 20 per cent.

Kick ins (play on percentage)

Sydney

6- Nick Blakey (100%)

3 – Jake Lloyd (100%)

3 – Oliver Florent (0%)

1 – Braeden Campbell (100%)

Hawthorn

6 – James Sicily (100%)

4 – Lachlan Bramble (100%)

2 – Blake Hardwick (100%)

2 – Jarman Impey (100%)

2 – Changkuoth Jiath (50%)

Essendon, 16.12 (108) def Gold Coast, 11.14 (80)

Sunset at Marvel.

The Bombers were able to outlast the Suns in a gruelling battle at Marvel stadium, running away late to a seal the five-goal win. Gold Coast had a few standouts, but largely lacked the team pressure needed to stop Essendon’s scoring and turn the tide of the game.

Will Setterfield has been an incredible trade for the Bombers, marking his second game in a row with at least 25 disposals and a goal. He finished Sunday’s encounter with 28 touches, nine tackles and a goal in the last-quarter victory.

Darcy Parish had 11 clearances in his 30 disposals with 569 metres gained, while Kyle Langford enjoyed a move forward to kick five goals with seven marks.

Matt Rowell was incredible defensively against Essendon, finishing with 37 pressure acts (14 clear of the next best) and having 10 clearances from just 22 disposals. Touk Miller was at his usual best, 30 disposals and 16 contested possessions.

Mason Redman and Andrew McGrath worked in a nice paring across the half back, combing for 47 disposals, almost 1000 metres gained and 17 intercepts.

Total Centre Bounces – 30

Essendon

90% – Will Setterfield

90% – Zach Merrett

66.7% – Darcy Parish

50% – Dylan Shiel

3.3% – Jye Caldwell

The exact same mix as their win over the Hawks, Merrett is the biggest mover, rising over 20 per cent in the middle. Shiel lost just under 20 per cent of his chances in the switch. Parish and Setterfield had a rough 15 per cent switch that saw Setterfield become the number one choice in the middle.

Gold Coast

93.3% – Touk Miller

90% – Matt Rowell

76.7% – Noah Anderson

36.7% – David Swallow

3.3% – Sam Flanders

Gold Coast cut their centre list down dramatically, having four names over 10 per cent instead of last weeks’ seven. Miller and Rowell had a 10 per cent bump but stayed as the two main names, though Anderson and Swallow both received minor rises due to the small number of names rotating through.

Kick ins (Play on percentage)

Essendon

6 – Jordan Ridley (100%)

4 – Mason Redman (100%)

1 – Andrew McGrath (100%)

1 – Massimo D’Ambrosio (100%)

1 – Jake Kelly (0%)

Gold Coast

4 – Lachie Weller (100%)

3 – Charlie Constable (100%)

2 – Darcy Macpherson (100%)

2 – Ben Long (50%)

1 – Jack Lukosius

West Coast, 14.16 (100) def GWS, 11.15 (81)

Eagles take flight.

The Eagles scored 100 points for just the third time in their last 37 games, fuelled by an eight-goal second quarter. The Giants were slow defensively and struggled bringing balls to ground, allowing the Eagles’ talls to combine for seven goals and five behinds.

Tim Kelly had the performance he was recruited for, 32 disposals, a goal, and team-leading 12 contested possessions. Jake Waterman kicked three of West Coast’s eight goals in the second term, he finished with four, as well as nine score involvements.

Jamaine Jones had a career game, having 776 metres gained from 27 disposals in a move to half-back. He combined with Jayden Hunt on the wing to give important run and carry in a drastic change of game style.

Matt Flynn had another strong performance in the ruck, comfortably accounting for Bailey Williams. He finished with 39 hit outs and five clearances as he helped the Giants win the midfield battle. Coniglio was impressive again with 14 contested possessions, nine tackles and nine clearances.

Toby Greene kicked another four goals and had ten score involvements in the loss.

Total Centre Bounces – 28

West Coast

82.1% – Dom Sheed

64.3% – Reuben Ginbey

57.1% – Tim Kelly

46.4% – Luke Shuey

39.3% – Andrew Gaff

7.1% – Elijah Hewett

3.6% – Sam Petrevski-Seton

Kelly and Ginbey had a switch of splits against the Giants, but remain in the first-choice midfield. Sheed was the number one man again, seeing a small rise in percentage. Gaff replaced O’Neill after he was dropped. Hewett and Petrevski-Seton took the bit-part roles we’ve seen rotated over the last few weeks.

GWS

85.7% – Tom Green

67.9% – Stephen Coniglio

60.7% – Harry Rowston

42.9% – Callan Ward

21.4% – Toby Greene

17.9% – Finn Callaghan

3.6% – Brent Daniels

Coniglio saw an almost 20 per cent drop to make way for VFL inside midfielder Harry Rowston who was quiet in his first game. Callaghan saw a slight bump as suggested due to the vacancies left by Harry Perryman and Josh Kelly.

Toby Greene got a good run of midfield time, providing a point-of-difference for the Giants.

Kick ins (Play on percentage)

West Coast

6 – Shannon Hurn (100%)

4 – Alex Witherden (100%)

2 – Jeremy McGovern (100%)

2 – Liam Duggan (100%)

GWS

11 – Isaac Cumming (90.9%)

4 – Lachie Ash (100%)

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