Overreacting to the first four rounds in the AFL

It’s a trap that we all fall into every year. We get a handful of glimpses at certain players or teams and then begin to make sweeping judgements from a tiny sample size.

These judgements often end up being way off the mark, and in some cases they’re disproved less than a week after being made.

With only four rounds of football played so far, let’s dive in and see what bold statements we can make without any significant evidence to back it up.

Overreaction 1: Fremantle won’t lose a single game this year
Who could possibly stop the Fremantle juggernaut?

They proved their fitness and poise in the opening round of the season by holding off a fast-finishing Port Adelaide and on Saturday night they proved how suffocating their defence is by holding Sydney to just nine points in the opening half.

The Dockers also proved they can perform on the road by defeating Geelong at Simmonds Stadium comfortably, and who could forget their first quarter pounding of West Coast?

Nathan Fyfe also appears to have already won this year’s Brownlow Medal, while Sandilands, Mundy, Neale and Barlow round out a dominant midfield.

Even the loss of arguably the best tagger in the league, Ryan Crowley, hasn’t set the team back.

In fact, Ross Lyon appears to have used this loss to make the team more attacking and as a result, far more devastating.

After four games it’s safe to say that Fremantle will finish the season undefeated and will win their first premiership.

Overreaction 2: Football is dead in Queensland
The only teams left winless after four rounds are the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns.

While Brisbane was always expected to struggle this season, Gold Coast was expected by most to play finals.

The Suns look to be years away from playing finals based on their start to the season.

Brisbane is rebuilding but the inclusions of experienced players in the offseason such as Dayne Beams and Allen Christensen gave the impression they would be spirited even in defeat.

They have looked anything but spirited so far, save for a last-quarter challenge against Collingwood in the opening round.

However, let’s ignore that they’ve been struck down with the most injuries of any team in the league, leaving their forward line more barren than the Sahara Desert.

With crowd numbers dropping due to the Lions’ and Suns’ poor performances, expect the AFL to announce any day now they are merging the teams and relocating them to Tasmania.

Overreaction 3: Alex Rance has sewn up full-back in the All-Australian team
Richmond might not have a whole lot to cheer about after losing to Melbourne on Friday night, but they can take solace in knowing they already have a player in the All-Australian team.

Rance’s talents have been known for a while, but he has taken his game to another level this year.

Through the first three rounds Rance didn’t have a single goal kicked on him, taking the huge scalps of guys like Lachie Henderson, 19-year-old Tom Boyd and whoever Brisbane tried to fill in the gaps with at full-forward.

The Tiger star faced his ultimate test against Melbourne, going toe-to-toe with fourth game player Jesse Hogan.

It was a back and fourth battle all night in which Hogan became the coveted first player to kick a goal on Rance this season.

Hogan came out the winner, on what seemed to be an off night for Rance.

Even the most dominant players have an off night on occasion, but if Rance can nullify Tom Hawkins this week we could be talking about him being the greatest defender of the modern-era.

Overreaction 4: Paddy McCartin is a bust
Paddy McCartin is two games into his career and has already proved that he is a bust.

St Kilda had high hopes for McCartin when they drafted him with the first pick of the 2014 National Draft.

He was seen as the perfect replacement for Nick Riewoldt when he decides to retire, but after two lacklustre games it might be time for the Saints to start looking elsewhere.

From his first two games McCartin has had a combined 14 disposals, six marks and has kicked just a single behind.

There were concerning signs in his debut game, dropping a number of overhead contested marks in the pouring rain.

His inability to hold onto huge grabs while the ball had properties similar to that of a bar of soap led Wayne Carey to question the youngster.

McCartin carried this form into the Saints Anzac day clash in Wellington against Carlton, and it appears that there is no stopping this slippery slope.

If McCartin doesn’t impress in his next game it wouldn’t surprise me if the Saints give up on him and he is delisted by the end of the year.


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