With 9 teams breathing fire after losing in Round 1, there are certain players who need to stand up in order to reignite their team ahead of the second week of the season.
Adelaide: Patrick Dangerfield
Usually a huge accumulator of the ball, Dangerfield only managed 17 touches in Adelaide’s loss to Essendon. Coming up against a wounded Brisbane Lions side raring for redemption, Dangerfield will have to be as courageous and explosive as ever to get his hands on the footy ahead of Brisbane’s bigger bodies.
Brisbane: Daniel Rich
Despite a huge pre-season, Rich was hugely disappointing in defeat as his Lions were mauled by the Bulldogs. He will want to reassert his credentials against Adelaide in front of a home crowd.
Carlton: Chris Yarran
After missing two golden chances to seal a magnificent comeback win for Carlton against Richmond on Thursday night, the line-breaking speedster will have to reevaluate his role in the Blues side ahead of Carlton’s game against Collingwood. While he was used as a small forward last week, Yarran may return to the half back flank to try and break down the Pies’ spread.
GWS: Stephen Gilham
The former Hawk had a nightmare club debut in Round 1. He looked completely helpless as a resting ruck, and struggled to negate Sydney’s tall forwards. With 3 goals kicked against him, mostly due to undisciplined play, he will be on the brink of omission if he doesn’t provide a performance that is expected of an experienced player.
Hawthorn: Jack Gunston
Guston’s inability to get his hands on the ball in the Hawks forward 50 was a decisive factor in Hawthorn’s 10th straight loss to Geelong. When he gets the ball close to goal, he’s an assassin. His limited impact around the contested ball, however, may continue to haunt him on the big stage.
Melbourne: Jack Watts
Watts may have been slightly unfairly maligned for his role in Melbourne’s loss, considering he was one of about 18 without endeavour. Now in his 5th year, he will be wanting to attack the football with purpose if he wants to regain the respect of the football world and his coach.
North Melbourne: Shaun Atley
The much-hyped Atley managed to accumulate just 14 touches against Collingwood, being largely ineffectual against his direct opponent in Steele Sidebottom, who delivered a dominant performance in Round 1. Brad Scott will want to play to Atley’s strengths and allow him to break the lines against Geelong if he wants to keep the young gun in the game.
St Kilda: Stephen Milne
History may well prove that St Kilda’s shock loss to the Gold Coast was not an aberration, but it could have been a different result if St Kilda’s experience had stood up. Milne managed just 1 goal and 3 behinds playing on Greg Broughton, and seemed to lack some of his trademark agility and skill.
West Coast: Brad Sheppard
Now in his fourth season of AFL football, the first round draft pick from 2009 National Draft needs to lift his output. Sheppard only managed 10 touches in the West Australian Derby, and is in need of a big game against a highly-rated Hawthorn side, who will be looking to assert their dominance over an injury-plagued Eagles lineup.