Carlton vs Collingwood at the MCG, Thursday 7:20pm AEDT
THE BIG ONE: Scott Pendlebury (In game 318) will play his 200th game at the MCG, joining Hall of Fame Legend Kevin Bartlett as the only players to play 200 league games at one ground – KB retired on exactly 200 games at the ‘G (Out of 406), and if all goes well, Pendles will break the record in Round 4.
Thanks to Collingwood’s win in Round 14 last season, the all-time ledger between the eternal rivals sits at 127-4-127, the first time it’s been tied since Carlton won the 1981 VFL Grand Final and tied it at 89-4-89.
If Colllingwood win, they’ll jump ahead of the Blues on the ledger for the first time Round 16 of 1981, when they won by a point at Victoria Park.
The biggest H2H lead the Blues enjoyed in the 40 years since they took the lead in Round 3 of 1982, was after they defeated the Pies in Round 3 of 2002 and led 117-4-103 (+14).
As it stands, the only two clubs Collingwood has a losing record against are the West Coast Eagles and the Brisbane Lions.
Geelong vs Brisbane Lions at GMHBA Stadium, Friday 7:50pm AEDT
Geelong fielded the most experienced team in the league in Round 1, but it couldn’t help them avoid the upset of the round to 2020 wooden spooners Adelaide, the first time in half a century that the previous season’s wooden spooner had defeated a Grand Finalist in Round 1…
Oddly enough, it was the first time that it didn’t involve Carlton:
Out of that game, Patrick Dangerfield became the first Brownlow Medalist to be suspended in Round 1 since Greg Williams in 1997, who was suspended for 9 matches for his notorious shove of umpire Andrew Coates, which resulted in a lengthy, and bordering on trivial, legal battle between Carlton and the AFL, which eventually led to Williams’ retirement at the end of the ’97 season.
In what could be considered ancient history, the merged Brisbane Lions won their first 10 games against Geelong between 1997 and 2003, but reflecting the fortunes of the teams in the 17 years since, the Catters now lead the head-to-head 21-15 as of their big win in last season’s Preliminary Final win at the Gabba.
On top of that, the Lions haven’t won at Kardinia Park since Round 6 of 2003, losing their past 11 games in Sleepy Hollow, by far their worst streak at any current regular ground in the AFL, and just to provide a reference, the Lions last win (And last game) at Princes Park is more recent, albeit by 3 weeks.
The Lions’ next-longest active winless drought at a current AFL stadium is at the SCG, where they haven’t won since Round 22 of 2009.
Sydney Swans vs Adelaide CROM at the SCG, Saturday 1:45pm AEDT
Between 2002 to Round 6 of 2012, Adelaide went 10-2 against Sydney, a period in history where the Swans broke their premiership drought and lost another Grand Final by a point, but the Swans have hit back since the 2012 Qualifying Final, going 7-3 in the past 10 meetings between the teams, although the Crows have won the last 2 at the SCG.
Round 1 Rising Star nominee Errol Gulden and Logan McDonald became the first teammates to kick 3+ goals on their AFL debuts since Adelaide’s inaugural game in Round 1, 1991 – That night, John Klug, Bruce Lindner & Peter McIntyre kicked 4 goals apiece for the Crows, and Rodney Maynard & Tony McGuinness both kicked 3 in the 86-point win against Hawthorn.
After 18 months on the sidelines, Lance Franklin is finally set to play his 301st game, right as wife Jesinta gave birth to their second child, a baby boy who will inevitably be named Errol Franklin in honour of his great teammate.
Of course, Buddy is one of only 3 players to play 300 games and kick at least 900 goals, the other two are Gordon Coventry and Leigh Matthews.
Adelaide’s win against Geelong last Saturday was the first time the least experienced team of the round (The Crows’ 23 players averaged 66 games compared to 137) defeated the most experienced team of the round since Round 13 of 2004, when the Cats defeated the Brisbane Lions.
Lastly, in Matthew Nicks’ 4 wins as coach of the Crows, they haven’t trailed at any stage in 3 of them, and in the odd game out – Carlton in Round 17 last year – They were behind for all of 2 minutes and 12 seconds after Eddie Betts kicked the opening behind of the game.
Port Adelaide vs Essendon at the Adelaide Oval, Saturday 4:05pm ACDT
Thanks to their 52-point win against North at Docklands, Port Adelaide retained top spot on the ladder after Round 1 for the second year running, which makes it 19 consecutive rounds that the Power have sat on top of the ladder.
For reference, the 1999-01 Bombers have the all-time record of 31 consecutive rounds sitting top of the ladder – They originally took top spot in Round 16 of 1999 (7 weeks), holding it all the way through their premiership year of 2000 (22 weeks), before losing it after Carlton defeated them in Round 3 of 2001.
Port are one of only three clubs to have a winning record against Essendon – The other two are Carlton and Collingwood.
After last week’s 2nd Half horror show to lose by a point to Hawthorn, Essendon have now lost their last 5 games decided by 1 point, with their 39 point Half Time lead equalling the biggest blown Half Time lead in club history (Round 7, 1987 against Fitzroy) – Ben Rutten also claimed the unfortunate record of the biggest blown lead on a coaching debut:
Lastly, after kicking 4 goals in his Port debut last week, Orazio Fantasia joined the coveted list of players to play an AFL game for both Essendon and Port Adelaide:
Gavin Wanganeen and Damien Hardwick are the most celebrated, given they played in a flag for both clubs (Dimma played in 6 consecutive minor premierships to boot), and there was names like Che Cockatoo-Collins, Paddy Ryder, Jay Nash, Angus Monfries, and current Dons player Will Snelling, who played 1 game for Port back in 2016 before he was delisted at the end of 2018.
St Kilda vs Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, Saturday 7:25pm AEDT
In what will be the first St Kilda home game with fans at Marvel Stadium since the passing of former captain Danny Frawley 18 months ago, the Saints are going to honour the boy From Bungaree with Spud’s Game: Time 2 Talk, tackling mental health issues in the AFL community, which will no doubt be Spud’s greatest legacy to the game, alongside giving defenders their due recognition with the Golden Fist.
The Saints come in off a great high of coming back from 2 goals down in the last quarter to knock off GWS at GIANTS Stadium, their maiden win at the ground, and the first time they’d won in Sydney since Round 1 of 2010.
Meantime, the win against Fremantle on Saturday was the Demons’ first win at the MCG since Round 16 of 2019, and their first win in Melbourne since Round 2 last season, with both of those wins coming against Carlton by a goal.
Lastly, being Spud’s Game, here’s the time when Spud chomped Brian Taylor on the Triple M Rub in 2016, regarding about a second-hand story Bristle told regarding Tony ‘Chompers’ Jones and Geoff Walsh from Brent Harvey’s book when Wayne Carey stood down as captain, causing Spud to send everyone into fits of laughter.
Ah, it’s infectious.
Gold Coast vs North Melbourne at Metricon Stadium, 7:10pm AEST
This will be the Gold Coast Suns’ 100th game at Carrara – Their first game was against Geelong in Round 10 of 2011, and their first win didn’t come until the 18th attempt, against GWS in Round 20 of 2012.
For the record, the Suns’ record through the first 99 games is 33-2-64.
Matt Rowell’s career has been one of the great diamonds or jagged rocks stories – In 6 career games, he’s had his debut, finished best afield in games 2-4, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in game 5, and injured his knee in game 6.
Last week, North Melbourne brought up an unfortunate milestone – It was their 1100th defeat in the VFL/AFL, and it also continued their rather terrible recent Round 1 history – The Kangas have won just 3 of their last 15 Round 1 games.
Hawthorn vs Richmond at the MCG, Sunday 1:10pm AEDT
The first meeting of the two most recent back-to-back premiers, and the only clubs currently sitting on 13 VFL/AFL Premierships.
Prior to Round 3 of last season, Richmond had won 4 consecutive games against Hawthorn, but the Hawks would win by 32 points, ending Richmond’s club record 14-game unbeaten streak that had stretched past a calendar year thanks to the season shutdown – Considering how both teams finished up in 2020, it truly was a random result, although it should be noted a certain Tiger wearing No.4 didn’t play that night.
Prior to this Sunday, that Round 3 encounter is the last time the Hawks have played at the MCG, as they played a home game at Docklands against North Melbourne in Round 4, and joined the great exodus from Victoria after Round 5 – Their last home game at the ‘G was Round 1 last year, when Gillon McLachlan announced the season shutdown at half time.
The Hawks’ comeback from 39 points down at Half Time against Essendon last Saturday night was their greatest Half Time comeback under Alastair Clarkson’s tenure (2005-), beating the 31-point deficit against Carlton in Round 6 of 2019.
It was the 5th time under Clarkson that the Hawks have been involved in a 1-point game, improving their record to 4-1 in such games, with the only defeat coming against Geelong in Round 17 of 2009 when Jimmy Bartel kicked a behind after the siren to win.
As for some personal milestones, Jack Riewoldt will play his 200th game in Melbourne, with this being his 160th game at the MCG to go with 40 at Docklands…
And finally, of all the former Clarkson assistants who have become head coaches, Damien Hardwick has enjoyed the most success against the 4-time Premiership coach, with 7 wins from their 13 encounters, although Chris Fagan does hold the best winning percentage at 66.66% (4 wins from 6).
Western Bulldogs vs West Coast Eagles at Marvel Stadium, Sunday 3:20pm AEDT
The last time the Bulldogs and Eagles played at Docklands was Round 2 of 2018, with the Eagles winning their first game of their Premiership season by 51 points on Easter Sunday, as the Bulldogs, barely 18 months after their own historic premiership, were anchored to the bottom of the ladder.
What was notable about that game was that Adam Simpson didn’t coach the Eagles after staying back in Perth to look after his sick daughter, which meant that forwards coach (And former Eagles ruckman) Jaymie Graham was the official coach of the day, leaving him with a perfect record from 1 game.
It’s the only Eagles game Simpson has missed since he was appointed as head coach back in the 2013 offseason.
Fremantle vs GWS at Optus Stadium, Sunday 3:10pm AWST
This will be Fremantle’s first home game in Perth since Round 14 of last season, which was coincidentally against GWS, who defeated the Dockers by 38 points in what was their first win at Optus Stadium on their 4th attempt.
After the defeat against St Kilda last Sunday, the Giants have now gone an equal-club record 17 consecutive games scoring fewer than 100 points – It’s equal with the first 17 games in the club’s history between Rounds 1 to 18 of 2012 (They had a bye in Round 12).
Sunday was also the first time Giant Matt de Boer had played in a losing Round 1 team, having gone 4-0 with the Dockers (2012-15) and 3-0 (2018-20) with the Giants, before the Saints staged their final quarter comeback.