AFL 2023 Round 1: Bombers on top, Magnificent Magpies, Ross ‘The Boss’ returns, Sheezel shines

AFL 2023 Round 24

Footy is back…and if the opening encounter was anything to go by then we are in for a cracking season ahead as Richmond and Carlton played out a pulsating draw.

Before an attendance of 88,084 – the second biggest Round 1 crowd ever – it went right down to the wire with Tigers forward Tom Lynch marking and then scoring from 30 yards out, with 17 seconds remaining, to earn his side a share of the spoils.

Not since the VFL semi-final back in September 1972 had these two clubs tied a contest. Jack Riewoldt (pictured below) now holds the record for most stalemates experienced by an AFL/VFL player, in the history of the sport, with eight across his 16-year career.

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Just 24 hours later and the ‘G’ was packed to the rafters again (86,595) to see Collingwood come from behind and run over the top of reigning premiers Geelong.

It was a big night for new signing Bobby Hill (pictured below), making his return having been out for nearly a year with testicular cancer, as the 23-year-old forward kicked three majors.

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Speaking, post-match, in the rooms he said “It was an unbelievable feeling to play in front of that many people. To have my family here as well and get the win; it is the best game that I have played in, it was really fast and exciting.”

On the atmosphere, he added “When I kicked the first one, I got a bit excited and had to take a moment to take it all in with so many people cheering for you.”

The only sour note was the injury to vice-captain Jeremy Howe – he had to be carted off the ground following a collision, which held up the match for seven minutes, with a fractured forearm. He was sent to the hospital for scans and then probably surgery.

Last year’s beaten finalists Sydney showed no signs of any hangover, as they travelled interstate and put in a dominant performance to thrash Gold Coast.

Forwards Tom Papley, Lance Franklin and Logan McDonald amongst the goals for a rampant Swans outfit that got off to a flyer and led for the whole afternoon.

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Essendon have the honour of sitting top of the ladder, at the end of this weekend of action, in Brad Scott’s first at the helm for the Bombers after they belted Hawthorn.

The Hawks have the youngest squad in the competition, following an overhaul in the summer, and it looks set to be a very long 2023 ahead as they set about a re-build.

Tipped by many that this could be their year for the flag, Brisbane were given a ‘reality check’ as they crashed to a 54-point defeat at the hands of Port Adelaide.

Before a ball had even been bounced, on this new campaign, there was already pressure on Power coach Ken Hinckley that “he couldn’t afford a similar start to last year when they went zip-five” so this was the perfect outcome to silence the critics.

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Speaking in the presser, the 56-year-old (pictured above) responded “We were very pleased with our pre-season but… the last game we played, which was on television, was what people got to watch and make comments about.”

“I get why those comments were made and they were rightly accurate after that game but I was confident, as all the coaches were that we had a good pre-season.”

He continued “The win was the result of a lot of hard work. The game was going at it early, ebbing and flowing, and we had to stay really composed and I was really proud of the way they came out after half time.”

Four-time premiership coach Alistair Clarkson’s reign at North Melbourne started on a winning note as he watched his new team get up over West Coast in a thriller.

Nick Larkey kicked a bag for the Kangaroos but it was the performance of Harry Sheezel that really caught the eye. The 18-year-old, No.3 draft pick in the summer, racking up 34 disposals; the third highest ever by a debutant in VFL/AFL history.

In a re-run of the 2021 Grand Final, Melbourne produced a scintillating second half showing to overcome the challenge of the Western Bulldogs by a 50-point margin.

Ben Brown and livewire Kysaiah Pickett booted four majors each although the latter was reported for a high bump on Bailey Smith, in the second quarter, which was graded as careless conduct, high impact/contact and been given a two-game ban.

Adam Kingsley’s senior coaching career is off on the right foot as Greater Western Sydney managed to defeat Adelaide by 16 points despite losing three players to injury, Lachie Whitfield (concussion), Harry Perryman (hamstring) and Josh Kelly (concussion), which severely hampered their interchange in the latter stages.

New captain Toby Greene (pictured below), a foundation member of the club and appointed just last month, led by example by putting four through the big sticks in an impressive display.

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Completing an excellent day for the Giants saw the welcome comeback of two long-term absentees to the line-up – Jack Buckley had missed 623 days having torn his anterior cruciate ligament and Brent Daniels 590 with recurring hamstring issues.

Despite coming into the contest with 14 players on the treatment table, a depleted St.Kilda still managed to find a way in triumphing over a below-par Fremantle.

This marked the homecoming of Ross Lyon to the Saints’ coaches box, against his former club, and “The Boss” couldn’t have asked for any more from his players.

Midfielders Brad Crouch (30 disposals, four clearances) and Jack Steele (28 disposals, seven inside 50s) made standout contributions for the hosts that scored the last five snags, enroute to victory, to the delight of their supporters.

Round 1 Results

Richmond 8.10 (58)
Carlton 8.10 (58)

Geelong 16.7 (103)
Collingwood 19.11 (125)

North Melbourne 12.15 (87)
West Coast 12.10 (82)

Port Adelaide 18.18 (126)
Brisbane 11.6 (72)

Melbourne 17.13 (115)
Western Bulldogs 9.11 (65)

Gold Coast 9.7 (61)
Sydney 16.14 (110)

GWS 15.16 (106)
Adelaide 12.18 (90)

Hawthorn 9.11 (65)
Essendon 19.10 (124)

St.Kilda 10.7 (67)
Fremantle 7.10 (52)

Related links

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