What to make of the first seven weeks?
Well, as predicted, it's almost impossible to predict who will win what. Which is no great surprise as the teams have been getting closer to one another in the previous four or five seasons, culminating in the Dogs winning fifteen games to only finish seventh and then taking out the flag.
How does this apply to the Tiges? Most observers said that after each of the first five wins, they hadn't beaten an opposition that was a bone fide contender/top eight team. Each game coming up was the next test, however when it was passed, it was decided by commentators that it was an easy test. Then of course the proof came with the Adelaide thrashing.
I'd like to make a counter argument. Richmond has beaten a top eight side in Melbourne, and a top four team in West Coast. Even the Giants were flogged in Adelaide at the start of the season. In the Richmond game, they outplayed and out contested the Crows for the first quarter. Despite being eventually blown away, Richmond had a chance to close the gap to eight points with four minutes left in the second quarter. They turned it over, and Adelaide did what they do when you turn it over at half forward, and then they were unstoppable.
Fast forward to the Dogs game, and Richmond was without their number one, two and three ruckmen, and debuted a new one. They had Prestia and Conca (in career best form as a rebounding half back) out, and lost Vlaustin in the second quarter, robbing them of a gun player and a rotation for most of the game. This coming off back to back six day breaks. They've also been missing Shane Edwards for five weeks, who started the season on fire. After all this, a respectable five point loss ensued.
More tests are on the horizon. Every game for every team will be a 'test' this season. Nankervis and Edwards back this week should be a huge help. Fremantle are playing some great footy and will be hard to beat. And GWS on their home turf next week will be super tough. Win one/two and it's a great 6-3 start. Win both, and 7-2 is a great launching pad for a top eight and perhaps top four berth.