1. The Tigers need to get their mojo back

Richmond wrote a premiership blueprint based on pressure. The Tigers in 2017, on their way to the flag, were manic and played with an intensity around the ball that was unmatched. They also carried that into 2018, before stumbling in the preliminary final. But that tenacity was missing on Thursday night against Collingwood, with Richmond registering only 33 tackles for the game. The Magpies laid 60, and also had far more of the ball (467 disposals to 303). There were six Tigers who didn't lay a tackle, and another 10 who could manage just one, with all of a number of their small forwards – Daniel Rioli, Mav Weller, Jason Castagna and Jack Higgins – in that boat. The Tigers aren't looking themselves at the start of 2019, and getting their pressure back will be a big factor in returning to form. - Callum Twomey

2. There's something not right at Essendon

After a disappointing 2018, and a listless first-up display, the natural assumption would be to expect a switched-on Bombers outfit against St Kilda. That did not happen, and there were several examples. Kyle Langford running to the bench after conceding a free, allowing Jack Lonie to run down the wing with no one manning the mark, was gobsmacking. OK, he made a mistake. One error would be an outlier. What about the recalled Darcy Parish not paying attention after Matthew Parker took a grab in the forward line, allowing him to sprint in and boot it from the goal line? Or Aaron Francis literally kicking into Michael Hurley, who was about two metres away? Then there was Dylan Shiel and David Zaharakis, who are stars, letting Jack Steele escape their tackling attempts and set up a Luke Dunstan goal. They're the sort of blunders that can't be committed by any team, let alone one with a list supposedly primed for a premiership assault. - Dinny Navaratnam

3. Home is where the heart is for Dahlhaus and Rohan

Much was made of the inclusion of Luke Dahlhaus and Gary Rohan as off-season acquisitions to the Cattery. Already the astute recruiting of the two players, both locals from the Geelong area, is paying dividends. The impact the pair have made to Geelong's game style has been evident, with Dahlhaus' 11 tackles and two goals against Melbourne setting the tone for an 80-point thumping in slippery conditions. Rohan booted three majors and his gut-busting efforts are already starting to win plaudits. Add in Tom Atkins and Gryan Miers – players hungry to make the most of their opportunities – and the transformation in personnel of Geelong's forward line from a team that struggled to put heat on the opposition has quickly become one of its main weapons. Undoubtedly, Dahlhaus and Rohan have been central to Geelong's 2-0 start to the season. - Ben Guthrie   

4. There's no need to panic about the Eagles' forward stocks

With four key members of its premiership forward line missing in round one, West Coast made a very scratchy start to its premiership defence. Three of those – Willie Rioli, Jamie Cripps and retired sharpshooter Mark LeCras – were still missing on Saturday night, but this time the future was on show. Oscar Allen, who debuted as a defender against GWS last year, returned as a forward on Saturday night and was magnificent in the air, marking the ball at the highest point and converting from long range for three goals. His support of Jack Darling (four goals) meant star Josh Kennedy could ease his way back in, kicking just one goal. With Jake Waterman and Jarrod Brander also pushing for games, the Eagles look to have their forward line sorted for years to come. Saturday night's win was a correction after a worrying start. - Nathan Schmook

5. Power ruckman is an early contender for recruit of the year

Scott Lycett's move to Port Adelaide at the end of last season was overshadowed by several other high-profile switches, but he's on track to have the most impact at his new club. The former West Coast premiership-winning ruckman was outstanding for the Power in their gritty 16-point win against Carlton at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Lycett's 25 disposals – 17 of those contested – and 10 clearances were both career highs, while also he also contributed 34 hit-outs, five marks and four inside 50s. The 26-year-old, who signed a five-year deal with the Power until the end of 2023, forms the perfect one-two punch with 2017 All Australian big man Paddy Ryder. - Lee Gaskin

6. Josh provides the Schach-attack

This was what footy fans have been waiting to see from Josh Schache. The former No.2 draft pick took Sunday's clash against Hawthorn by the scruff of its neck, helping to drag the Western Bulldogs back from 30 points down at three-quarter time to complete an incredible comeback at the MCG. Schache kicked three goals in the final term, including two while playing in the ruck, as the Dogs masterminded a 49-point turnaround in one quarter alone. The young key forward led strongly throughout, claimed five marks and looked every bit the talented junior prospect draft observers saw back in 2015. Now with 42 AFL games under his belt at Brisbane and the Bulldogs – and with a clearly defined role handed to him by coach Luke Beveridge – the 21-year-old looks set for a big year. - Riley Beveridge

7. It's time to take notice of Sexton

The same week he inked a new four-year contract, Alex Sexton again showed why he is so valuable to the Suns. Just seven days after opening his season with four goals against the Saints, Sexton bagged another four from nine shots in the thrilling win over the Dockers. The 25-year-old now has the outright lead in the race for the Coleman Medal. To those that watch Gold Coast closely – and you could be excused for not falling into that category – this is no major surprise. Thrust forward for much of 2018, Sexton kicked 28 goals to top the Suns' tally and finish fifth in their best and fairest. He's fast, he's nimble and he's lethal with a right foot snap, from any angle. He caught the Suns' disease of missing during the third quarter against Fremantle, but it's time to start watching the boy from Logan a little closer. - Michael Whiting

8. The Swans are missing McCartin and need him back

It seems an outrageous call to make, absurd even. The kid is 19 years old and has 15 matches to his name. But Tom McCartin is a crucial part of the Sydney forward line. He doesn't have to ability to kick bags of goals like Lance Franklin or have the athleticism of Sam Reid, but McCartin is a competitor and will perfectly complement his more experienced teammates. He's rarely outmarked because if the ball gets kicked on his head, he scraps and fights to get it to ground. He's had some concussion issues but if he gets through another NEAFL game unscathed he should come straight in the face Carlton next week. After two losses in a row, coach John Longmire's needs his best fighters in the team. - Adam Curley

9. Robinson is underrated and crucial for the Lions

There's nothing flashy about Mitch Robinson, and he can make a mistake or two. But the tenacious Brisbane midfielder has become a valuable player for the Lions because he is prepared to do whatever task is thrown his way. On Sunday, in the Lions' win over North Melbourne, it was Robinson who largely took a free-wheeling Aaron Hall out of the game. The new North midfielder was starring in the first half, with 19 disposals and a goal, but had little impact after the main break with just seven more disposals. Robinson also finished with 22 disposals and a goal himself. The ex-Blue had to relaunch his career after getting dumped from the Blues at the end of 2014 and he's become a reliable member of the lions' line-up. - Callum Twomey