Geelong, North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and Sydney all chalked up statement wins in Round 1 of the 2016 AFL season, while Fremantle and Collingwood received harrowing reality checks during a thrilling opening weekend.
Richmond snare nervy win over Carlton
Richmond kicked off the 2016 AFL premiership with a 14.8 (92) to 12.11 (83) victory over last year’s wooden spooners Carlton. The Tigers trailed by nine at three-quarter time, but landed four goals to one in the final term to close out the win in front of 75,706 at the MCG.
Dees upset Giants in come-from-behind thriller
A stunning final-quarter surge by Melbourne secured a surprise 12.8 (80) to 10.18 (78) win over GWS at the ’G. The Demons trailed by 21 at the last break, but scored six goals to two – including three to last year’s NAB Rising Star Jesse Hogan – to snatch the result.
Long road ahead for depleted Dons
Essendon’s arduous 2016 campaign began in predictable fashion, thumped 17.19 (121) to 9.6 (60) by Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday. Suns superstar Gary Ablett made a successful return from injury, while Tom Lynch led the home side’s charge with four goals.
Kangas break hoodoo with exciting win over Crows
A seven-year Round 1 drought came to an end for North Melbourne via a thrilling 10-point win over Adelaide at Etihad Stadium. Down by three goals at halftime, the Kangaroos cut the deficit to one point by the final change and kicked three majors to one in the last term to secure an important 16.11 (107) to 14.13 (97) victory. Brent Harvey’s three third-quarter goals were pivotal for the Kangaroos, while Josh Jenkins kicked five for the beaten Crows.
Swans swamp Pies at the SCG
Sydney doused the doubters by starting their campaign with an 80-point drubbing of Collingwood on Saturday night. Buddy Franklin kicked four goals, while Tom Mitchell and Tom Papley nabbed three each in the 18.25 (133) to 7.11 (53) cakewalk. The Magpies kicked just one goal in the first half to trail by 62 at the main break. A broken foot to Dane Swan compounded the Pies’ dreadful night.
Bulldogs bash woeful Dockers
Last year’s minor premiers Fremantle received a painful reality check from the rising Western Bulldogs, hammered 15.13 (103) to 5.8 (38) at Etihad Stadium. The Dockers trailed by 43 at halftime, and despite a brief third-quarter revival, they slumped to a dismal loss as the Bulldogs kicked five goals to one in the final quarter. Jake Stringer booted five for the victors.
Port outlast St Kilda
Port Adelaide held on for an unconvincing 20.13 (133) to 15.10 (100) win over unfancied St Kilda at Adelaide Oval on Easter Sunday, fighting back from a 21-point deficit during the third quarter. The gap was just a goal at the final change and the Power posted seven goals to one in a withering fourth-quarter burst, with Robbie Gray top-scoring for the home side with four majors.
Eagles pile on the points against Lions
The long-suffering Lions look set for another season in the lower reaches of the ladder if their 26.10 (166) to 15.12 (102) loss to the Eagles is any gauge. West Coast led by 39 at halftime and 50 at the final change, before piling on seven fourth-quarter goals, to the delight of a 35,201-strong home crowd. Josh Kennedy finished with eight goals for the Eagles.
Cats topple premiers on Easter Monday
Patrick Dangerfield starred in his first match for new club Geelong as the Cats notched a stirring 18.8 (116) to 12.14 (86) victory over archrivals Hawthorn. The ex-Crows star had a career-high 43 disposals as the Cats turned a two-point three-quarter time deficit into a sensational 30-point victory. The Hawks trailed by 30 at halftime before launching a spectacular comeback during the third quarter, but they couldn’t maintain it during the final term, outscored seven goals to two. Meanwhile, the premiers could be without Luke Hodge for some time after the skipper suffered a suspected broken arm.