On the field: both the Thursday and Friday night games to start season 2023 were enthralling. The Blues and Tigers played a closely fought game that either team could have won, so it was probably befitting that the game ended in a draw. Carlton probably had the better of the play for 3 of the 4 quarters and each team made a number of mistakes, as is often the way in Round 1. On Friday night Collingwood showed that they have maintained top fitness over the summer by completely overwhelming the defending premiers Geelong late in the game. The Cats were up by 21 points approaching time-on in the third quarter but the Maggies slammed on 3 goals to reduce the deficit to 3 points at the final change. In the final quarter, Collingwood was full of running, kicked five unanswered goals and cruised to a 22-point win. It was a really impressive performance by Collingwood. North Melbourne got off to a winning start under new coach Alastair Clarkson when they just managed to hold off a late comeback by visiting West Coast at Marvel Stadium. Adelaide got an early jump over GWS at Giants Stadium, but a strong second half by the home team saw them run out winners by 16 points.
There were plenty of lopsided games this weekend. Port Adelaide put the rest of the competition on notice by recording a 9-goal victory over the visiting Brisbane Lions. Essendon scored an emphatic 59-point victory on Sunday afternoon over old foes Hawthorn, Melbourne disposed of the Western Bulldogs by 50 points and Sydney defeated the Gold Coast by 39 points. In the late game, St Kilda fought back in the final term to defeat Fremantle by 15 points and give coach Ross Lyon a victory in his return to the club after a 12-year absence.
Round 1 is often difficult. We all got a point for the drawn game last Thursday night (despite the site showing an X next to everyone’s name). Big congratulations to Lucas Tucker, Super Gilly, W Pete, Had a Gut Full, Maggies 23 and GPD 49er who splendidly tipped 8 winners this week. Very well done to all of you.