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Aussie Rules: Pies make early statement

The 2023 AFL campaign is up and running and week one did not disappoint as there were plenty of thrills, spills and surprise scorelines.

Arguably the biggest shock came in the very first game as Richmond and Carlton had to settle for two points each in a very rare 58-58 draw at the MCG.

Then, on Friday night, the reigning premiers Geelong could not start where they left off as they slipped to a 125-103 loss to Collingwood at the same venue. 

On Saturday, there were big wins for Melbourne and Port Adelaide over Western Bulldogs and Brisbane Lions respectively, while North Melbourne edged out West Coast Eagles and Sydney Swans thrashed the Gold Coast Suns. 

Greater Western Sydney got the campaign off to a winning start with 106-90 win over Adelaide and Essendon romped to a 124-65 win away at Hawthorn.

In the final game of the week, Ross Lyon got his second tenure with St Kilda off to the perfect start as they defeated another of his former clubs, Fremantle, 67-52 at Marvel Stadium. 

It was a cracking opening round, so let's take a closer look at the main talking points.

Collingwood make early statement

Collingwood were the surprise package of 2022 when finishing in the top four in new coach Craig McRae's first season in charge. They could not quite get the job done in finals but have started the new season with a bang to show that last season was no fluke.

It is still very early days, of course, but to beat Geelong the way they did on Friday night suggests they are set for another big season, and could even go a couple of steps further.

They are priced at 8.00 to go on and win the Grand Final and now need to back up the win with another solid display against another contender, Port Adelaide, on Saturday.

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Bad start for the Lions

Brisbane Lions were one of the pre-season hot fancies for the flag and are still priced at 9.00 to go all the way and win the Grand Final. However, there will need to be a big improvement on their performance in week one when they were completely outplayed by Port Adelaide.

Again, it is very early days but as Port showed last season, you cannot afford to get off to a bad start and then expect to make finals.

Brisbane need a big response in week two but it does not get any easier, as next up is a home clash against Melbourne, who are priced at 1.80 To Win and build on their big victory over the Bulldogs.

Gold Coast flop against the Swans

There had been suggestions that this could be the season for the Gold Coast Suns to break into the top eight, but they did not show it against Sydney Swans.

Losing by 39 points on home soil is not a good look for a side hoping to make the eight and they can be backed at 4.50 to do so.

Worryingly for all Suns fans, coach Stuart Dew named a very strong side but they were not at the races. They will be hoping the defeat will give them an early kick up the backside and get them back on track.

The Suns have some big games coming up against other sides hoping to play finals – Essendon, St Kilda and Fremantle. Throw in a date with reigning premiers Geelong and it is a big month for them.

Ross the boss back with a bang

St Kilda got off to the perfect start in Ross Lyon's first game back in charge as they saw off Fremantle late on to win by 15 points. The performance had Lyon written all over it as St Kilda nullified the Dockers in a low-scoring affair.

It may not be pretty but it can be effective and there will be no complaints from the success-starved Saints members if they can get into finals this year.

They are priced at 3.50 to achieve a Top 8 Finish.

The big losers of week one

There were a few big losers to begin with and alarm bells could already be ringing at Hawthorn and West Coast, who both suffered worrying defeats.

The Hawks were thrashed at home to Essendon and will be in for a tough year if that performance is anything to go by, while the Eagles lost a close one away at North Melbourne.

Things do not get any easier for Hawthorn, who travel to Sydney Swans next up and are priced at 7.00 To Win.

West Coast are home to GWS and nothing other than a win, which is priced at 2.02, will do.

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