The second week of the NAB Cup’s round-one took place this weekend with six teams receiving their first real runs of the 2012 season.
The three-team, three-game schedule saw St Kilda, Geelong and Brisbane clash on Friday night with each team winning a game.
Over 18,000 people gathered at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium to see Sydney thrash St Kilda in the first match 59-29.
The Saints rested key players Nick Del Santo, James Gwilt and Leigh Montagna and played 14 guys that had between zero and 14 games experience.
New Saint Ahmed Saad was good and kicked the game’s first goal while 20-year-old Sam Reid of Sydney looked to be a future top-10 forward. His kicking on goal could use some work but he showed a great pair of hands and ability that will have Swans fans surely drooling over the future of their young prospect.
Geelong didn’t show much mercy when they played the Swans straight after, taking a 29-13 win, a margin that would have been bigger had the forwards capitalised on the midfield’s dominance. Resting the likes of James Kelly, Stevie Johnson, Allen Christensen, Matthew Scarlett and James Posidialy, among others, the Cats were missing just about their entire forward 50 lineup but still managed a cheeky win.
Former Browlow medalist Adam Goodes appears to be in amazing shape and could challenge for the medal once again despite his advanced age.
A rested Saints team came back to defeat Geelong 36-15 in the final game with Clint Jones playing a starring role in the midfield with 14 disposals while veterans Josh Hunt and Jimmy Bartel looked good for the Cats.
The Gold Coast, Melbourne and Brisbane played their three-way matchup in Blacktown on Saturday and the Suns edged out a 26-23 win in the opener against Melbourne.
21-year-old mature age recruit Aaron Hall was good at half-forward for the suns, kicking two goals, gathering six possessions and laying a couple of good tackles.
Gary Ablett was typically nice for the Suns and in a surprise move, coach Guy McKenna played veteran half-back Nathan Bock in the forward line with promising results.
Former Lion Mitch Clarke kicked a goal and took some strong marks in his first game for Melbourne and was among the team’s best.
Melbourne got the better of Brisbane in the second game winning 13-10, receiving solid performances from Jack Grimes, Matthew Bate and Matt Maguire.
Brisbane won a tight affair in the final match, downing the Gold Coast 18-16.
While star forward Jonathon Brown didn’t have an influential day it was pleasing to see the big man get through both games easily after suffering two horrific head injuries in 2011.
Jack Hawksley and Ryan Harwood were among the Lion’s best and rugby recruit Karmichael Hunt was decent in the midfield after playing his debut 2011 season in defense