AFL 2019 Round Three: Five Things We Learned Saturday

Jarrod Febbraio tells us what he learned from an exciting series of matches on Saturday.

Carlton are getting closer, but they may be further back in their rebuild than we think

Carlton continue to show their fight and to show that they are making continuous improvement. From last season where really, they were a rabble, to three competitive games against teams who we think will be quite good this season. They have had opportunity in all three to shock the footy world, which is the sign of progress. However what teams such as St Kilda and especially the Gold Coast have shown, is that they may not have the experience or the character to finish off a game just yet. Gold Coast fought off the Bulldogs just on Sunday to escape with the four points, as they did against Freo the week before. Maybe they are a few steps ahead of their rebuild than Carlton, which is something nobody thought they’d be saying when the season started three weeks ago. Carlton may just need that one gusty win to get their rebuild officially into the back end. What makes this better? Carlton travel to Metricon just this week. We will know plenty more in seven days time.

Injuries can kill the best of teams

You can’t really take Richmond’s performance on Saturday evening as a genuine indicator on how good they really are. In saying that, it doesn’t look like that sort of form will change any time soon. Sure, take every member of a clubs leadership group out of the team and they would probably lose by ten goals to the Giants too. With Jack Riewoldt, Trent Cotchin, Alex Rance and Shaun Grigg, Bachar Houli all injured, with Dustin Martin more than likely suspended, how much more can you expect? Dylan Grimes and Josh Caddy should return this week, but Jayden Short will be out, with Daniel Rioli questionable. What has just been listed are ten players who are all in their top 15. After two injury free seasons compared to other sides, their time has come to suffer injury after injury. But after a GWS team looked like kicking goals nearly every time they went inside 50, Richmond will be lucky to still be in contention after all their guns return. It’s no big shock, but that’s the reality for a team that has been so dominant in the past 24 months.

Brisbane are the real deal

Brisbane just look magnificent. It is a huge call, but maybe the Lachie Neale deal has provided more to the Lions than what Beams may have provided to them if he stayed? He has been superb, and despite a Port Adelaide team that managed to hit the front with a few minutes to go, Brisbane showed enough character to fight them off and win a game that was theirs all day long. Eric Hipwood has come on better than what many may have thought a year ago, and their contingent of youngsters around him have been superb thus far in 2018. Their recruitment of Linc McCarthy has also been a revelation. Who would have tipped them to be 3-0? Even when they were an average side, they were hard to beat at the Gabba. Now? Could be almost impossible

Collingwood just can’t find a way to beat the Eagles

Dom Sheed didn’t need to kick it in the last two minutes this time around, but he still managed to seal a win for his Eagles over Collingwood at the MCG once again. What is it about the Eagles that the Pies find so hard to break down? Three out of their last four losses at the MCG have been against them, and there was a Preliminary final loss at Optus Stadium too! That’s four losses in 14 games. I bet you wouldn’t have picked that. So what is it? Does Adam Simpson just have Bucks’ measure? Is it the quickness of the West Coast Eagles kids that have been lighting it up for the past 12 months? Maybe the forward line of the Eagles is too strong for a defence that is still Collingwood’s weak point!

Did we just watch a 2019 grand final preview?

It’s early, and while the Pies are 1-2, I feel as if we just watched the 2019 grand final preview. It isn’t often you see the grand final played between the same two teams in consecutive years, it isn’t even common to see one of the two teams in the big dance playing in it two years in a row! But this match was big, and it felt like being at a grand final once again. Geelong fans will read this and say, why no love for us? Richmond won’t count themselves out yet, and Melbourne will think their 0-3 start is a bump in the road. I tell you what though, as a neutral, I wouldn’t mind seeing these two play off once again.

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