The last thing this spluttering, stop-start opening to this AFL season needed was Sunday’s three offerings.
At least Brisbane’s wet and humid conditions meant Geelong and the Lions had no choice but to grind out their ‘Gabba duel.
Cats coach Chris Scott conceded it was not the prettiest game of football.
But North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs could only manage four goals in the first half between them under the Etihad Stadium roof.
Meanwhile, West Coast tore hapless Melbourne apart by 93 points at the MCG before just 22,226 fans.
After the split first round and only 62,000 fans at the MCG on Thursday night for Richmond’s win over Carlton, the league needed a big weekend.
Hawthorn’s pulsating win over Essendon on Friday night was followed by the first Adelaide Oval Showdown, Nick Riewoldt’s heroics for St Kilda and a big Collingwood win over Sydney.
So far, so good – but Sunday had little to recommend it.
North eventually broke clear of the Bulldogs in the last term to win by 29 points, 12.11 (83) to 8.6 (54).
West Coast belted Melbourne in the first term and then coasted to their 18.15 (123) to 4.6 (30) win.
The individual highlight of the day came from Geelong star Steve Johnson, who racked up 37 disposals and six clearances in the greasy ‘Gabba conditions.
The Cats overcame a strong first-half challenge from Brisbane to beat them by 25 points.
But Geelong veteran Corey Enright suffered an ankle injury in the 13.15 (93) to 10.8 (68) win.
On Saturday night, Collingwood rebounded from their round-one disaster against Fremantle with a 20-point win over Sydney.
The ‘Pies recovered from 25 points down in the second term to beat the Swans 12.17 (89) to 10.9 (69).
Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands starred as the Dockers beat Gold Coast at home by 48 points.
Sandilands had 58 hitouts, 20 of them to advantage, in the 12.15 (87) to 5.9 (39) win.
Port Adelaide marked their territory at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval with a 55-point Showdown win over Adelaide.
In front of a capacity crowd of 50,397, the Power out-ran the Crows to win 19.14 (128) to 11.7 (73) .
Riewoldt led the Saints to a seven-point win over Greater Western Sydney at Etihad Stadium.
Riewoldt was best afield, taking 14 marks and kicking five goals on Saturday as they held off the Giants 15.5 (95) to 13.10 (88).
Undermanned Hawthorn fought off Essendon on Friday night for an outstanding four-point win at Etihad Stadium.
Cyril Rioli kicked the winning goal with just over a minute left and the Hawks held on 13.12 (90) to 12.14 (86).
On Thursday night, the Blues again came back hard against Richmond.
The Blues paid for their inaccuracy, with the Tigers holding on this time to win 14.14 (98) to 12.14 (86).