Dave Cardamone takes a look at what to expect around the league on the eve of Round 3.
Reid v Reid
It’s incredible both Ben Reid and Sam Reid have had injury interrupted careers but will finally play off against each other for just the third time since 2013 this week, having previously played against each other in Round 9 (2013) and Round 20 (2015). With Ben playing just the four games in 2014 and five games in 2015 and Sam missing the entirety of the 2016 season, the brothers have had limited opportunities to line up on one another. That all changes Friday night as the Pies will call upon Ben to quell the early season form of younger brother Sam who has kicked nine goals already this year including six last week against the Dogs.
Stars under the microscope
Every Monday, sides are publicly scrutinised and dissected based on their weekend performances, with Gary Ablett, the Swans engine room and ‘Dangerwood’ all coming under the microscope this week. Gary Ablett’s lack of intensity has raised the eyebrows of the football community and with the Suns playing the Hawks in the last game of the round, all will be laid bare.. New Sydney skipper Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery have not performed to their high standards the last two weeks and although they’ve avoided close scrutiny, another Friday night clash will mean the spotlight is firmly on. On the flip side, there’s the now famed Dangerwood combo who bailed Geelong out yet again. With no Hogan and Lewis for Melbourne, the Cats will have no excuses this week as the media wait for the cracks to appear at the Cattery.
Heat on Ross
Any coach that has a post-match press conference like Ross did after Round 2 is seriously burning. All the talk of youth and servants to the football club, have we missed something? If Fremantle didn’t get the memo after the weekend then they never will. They’re simply not good enough and need to start thinking long term; but their pressing issue right now is that Nat Fyfe is yet to re-sign. The task doesn’t get any easier either with reigning premiers the Western Bulldogs awaiting them this week, as if things couldn’t get any worse.
Questions will be answered
How good are Richmond?
Competitive, but this weekend will show the Tigers as potential final contenders, anything more than a four goal loss against the Eagles will tell us otherwise.
Have Melbourne matured?
Two seasoned players are out this week so we will get to see how mature a performance the Demons can produce. A victory against the Cats would be a massive step forward.
Are Hawthorn and Sydney still flag contenders?
Only three sides have won the premiership from a 0-2 start (Carlton 1982, Essendon 1993, North Melbourne 1999). Hawthorn haven’t had much personnel missing so an expected win against the Gold Coast probably won’t tell us much, rather the margin will say more. The Swans on the other hand simply can’t afford to lose to Collingwood. If injuries and their star players down on form create another loss, then the doubts will begin to linger.
Seasons to be finished
For Fremantle and Gold Coast, poor performances and another home loss this week would see the writing on the wall for both clubs, with the outlook to coincide with planning for season 2018.