Round 1 of the AFL has been run and won, and there probably wasn’t a huge amount of surprises for most punters in terms of how clubs performed.
Carlton look to be a decent improver after getting the jump on the Tigers early, while on the other side of the ledger the Bulldogs look to be in very poor shape and were put to the sword by a rampaging GWS.
Most notably, a number of clubs were hit by unfortunate injury setbacks which could well have a significant impact on the season.
- The big one was the knee injury to Tom Liberatore, which turned the Doggies’ day from bad to downright horrible. Liberatore has ruptured the ACL in his right knee and will miss the remainder of the 2018 season. He has previously suffered the same injury to his left knee, which caused him to miss the entire 2015 campaign. It’s a huge blow to the Dogs, who’ll sorely miss one of their prime on-ballers.
- Port Adelaide’s early-season hopes were also dealt a significant blow with All-Australian ruckman Paddy Ryder going down. Ryder injured his achilles and looks like missing around six weeks of footy. It leaves the Power short in the middle after they jettisoned both Matthew Lobbe and Jackson Trengove in the off-season, and may force Justin Westhoff and Charlie Dixon into extended spells in the ruck. Port’s other ruck options are young players Billy Frampton, Sam Hayes and Peter Ladhams, all of whom are yet to make their AFL debut.
- Geelong just got over the line against Melbourne, yet were hit with a worrying injury to key position player Harry Taylor. Exact details of the swingman’s injury are still a bit murky, but he aggravated an existing plantar fascia issue in his foot and will be missing for some weeks, at least. The 31-year-old is a multiple All-Australian defender, and in recent years has moved forward to provide a marking target for the Cats.
- Ruckman Matthew Kreuzer was a shining light for the Blues early against Richmond on Thursday night, but pulled up with a groin issue. The injury looks to be less serious however, with Kreuzer rated a good chance of playing against Gold Coast this week.
- The prognosis looks similar for Hawthorn young gun Ryan Burton, who limped from the ground against Collingwood after rolling an ankle. He appears a decent chance of appearing this week.
- Essendon prime mover Zach Merrett appeared to be concussed after a heavy collision with Adelaide’s Richard Douglas in the first quarter on Friday night, and indeed took no further part in the match. Merrett appears a good chance of playing this week, however will be managed carefully after suffering two other incidents of concussion in the pre-season.
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