Just two to three years ago GWS and Gold Coast were the whipping boys of the AFL.
Fast-forward to now, just days after they both knocked off premiership favourites, and all of a sudden we're talking about a changing of the guard.
The Giants upset a Geelong side that had beaten the reigning premiers Hawthorn in round one. The relentlessness and fight they showed after the first quarter was brilliant to watch, as was the speed of which they were transferring the ball from defensive 50 into attack.
A day earlier, Gold Coast showed they're no longer reliant on captain Gary Ablett as they proved too strong for Fremantle over in the west. The 2009 and 2013 Brownlow Medallist was held to just 23 disposals as Aaron Hall, Alex Sexton and Dion Prestia ran riot.
Did you know? 2016 is the first year the Suns have won their opening two matches in a season.
Even with leading goal-kicker Charlie Dixon departing the club in the off-season, the Suns are still finding plenty of avenues to goal. In their two matches this season the Suns have booted 120 plus points on both occasions; an ominous sign for the competition.
The pressure and energy these sides are bringing is great for the game but it's the ability to work hard for four quarters which has been most impressive.
Both teams have shown flashes of brilliance in the past but consistency seemed to be what was lacking - understandable for such young sides. But now we're at the stage where these lists have a good deal of players approaching the 100-match milestone, and it's now they will begin coming into their own as AFL footballers.
I also believe Gold Coast and GWS have benefited tremendously from the AFL abandoning the substitution rule. The ability to work up the ground is now critical in modern football and these two young, fit and quick sides do it better than most. Players are still running 12-16 kilometres per match but it's the metres run per minute that's skyrocketed.
Is it a changing of the guard?
It's probably a little too early to say just yet, but if the Suns and Giants can continue playing the way they are, finals football is certainly on the horizon.
Friday, April 8
Port Adelaide ($1.07) v Essendon ($8.00), at Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide: B - Jack Hombsch, Tom Jonas, Jasper Pittard; HB - Karl Amon, Jackson Trengove, Matthew Broadbent; C - Jimmy Toumpas, Ollie Wines, Brad Ebert; HF - Jake Neade, Charlie Dixon, Sam Gray; F - Robbie Gray, Justin Westhoff, Jared Polec; FOL - Matthew Lobbe, Travis Boak, Aaron Young; Interchange - Paul Stewart, Jarman Impey, Darcy Byrne-Jones, Brendon Ah Chee
Essendon: B - Matt Dea, Mitch Brown, Mark Baguley; HB - James Gwilt, Michael Hartley, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti; C - Brendon Goddard, David Zaharakis, Jackson Merrett; HF - Zach Merrett, Kyle Langford, Adam Cooney; F - Mathew Stokes, Joe Daniher, Nick Kommer; FOL - Matthew Leuenberger, James Kelly, Ryan Crowley; Interchange - Darcy Parish, Martin Gleeson, Orazio Fantasia, Patrick Ambrose
UBET verdict: Essendon won last week, have won on their last 2 trips to Adelaide, but are again big under-dogs at $8.00 to win. Port were poor against the Crows but the home crowd will be looking for a percentage boosting win here
Saturday, April 9
St Kilda ($3.00) v Collingwood ($1.38), at the MCG
St Kilda: B - Jarryn Geary, Sam Fisher, Dylan Roberton; HB - Jack Newnes, Sean Dempster, Sam Gilbert; C - Leigh Montagna, David Armitage, Shane Savage; HF - Maverick Weller, Nick Riewoldt, Jack Billings; F - Jack Lonie, Josh Bruce, Paddy McCartin; FOL - Tom Hickey, Luke Dunstan, Jack Steven; Interchange - Sebastian Ross, Jimmy Webster, Jack Sinclair, Darren Minchington
Collingwood: B: Ben Sinclair, Nathan J. Brown, Tom Langdon; HB - Brayden Maynard, Ben Reid, Marley Williams; C - James Aish, Adam Treloar, Levi Greenwood; HF - Jarryd Blair, Darcy Moore, Jordan De Goey; F - Alex Fasolo, Travis Cloke, Jeremy Howe; FOL - Brodie Grundy, Scott Pendlebury, Taylor Adams; Interchange - Tyson Goldsack, Jack Crisp, Matthew Goodyear, Adam Oxley
UBET verdict: Saints have a poor record of one win from their last 10 against the Magpies, but have been specked to beat them this week at $3.00. Collingwood will have to overcome the high of that thrilling win last week.
Richmond ($2.00) v Adelaide ($1.80), at Etihad Stadium
Richmond: B - David Astbury, Alex Rance, Troy Chaplin; HB - Nick Vlastuin, Bachar Houli, Brandon Ellis; C - Connor Menadue, Shaun Grigg, Kamdyn McIntosh; HF - Kane Lambert, Dustin Martin, Jayden Short; F - Jack Riewoldt, Sam Lloyd, Daniel Rioli; FOL - Shaun Hampson, Shane Edwards, Trent Cotchin; Interchange - Anthony Miles, Ty Vickery, Corey Ellis, Ben Lennon
Adelaide: B - Luke Brown, Daniel Talia, Kyle Hartigan; HB - Rory Laird, Jake Lever, Kyle Cheney; C - Paul Seedsman, Scott Thompson, Brodie Smith; HF - Mitch McGovern, Tom Lynch, Richard Douglas; F - Eddie Betts, Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins; FOL - Sam Jacobs, Rory Sloane, Matt Crouch; Interchange - Brad Crouch, David Mackay, Rory Atkins, Wayne Milera
UBET verdict: Tigers supporters were talking premierships pre-season, but with an ordinary win and a narrow loss, surprisingly the Crows have been heavily backed to inflict more misery on Richmond this week. The loser will be in trouble, so plenty at stake here.
Sydney ($1.40) v GWS ($2.90), at the SCG
Sydney: B - Nick Smith, Ted Richards, Dane Rampe; HB - Zak Jones, Heath Grundy, Jeremy Laidler; C - Dan Hannebery, Josh P Kennedy, Isaac Heeney; HF - Callum Mills, Lance Franklin, Jake Lloyd; F - Harry Cunningham, Kurt Tippett, Tom Papley; FOL - Callum Sinclair, Kieren Jack, Luke Parker; Interchange - George Hewett, Ben McGlynn, Tom Mitchell, Daniel Robinson
GWS: B - Heath Shaw, Phil Davis, Matt Buntine; HB - Nathan Wilson, Aidan Corr, Will Hoskin-Elliott; C - Lachie Whitfield, Toby Greene, Adam Kennedy; HF - Devon Smith, Jonathon Patton, Steve Johnson; F - Ryan Griffen, Rory Lobb, Tom Scully; FOLL- Shane Mumford, Stephen Coniglio, Josh Kelly; Interchange - Joel Patfull, Callan Ward, Dylan Shiel, Rhys Palmer;
UBET verdict: It looks like the Swans have 'reinvented' themselves again, and they are expected ($1.40) to take the 4 points from their cross town cousins on Saturday. The Giants ($2.90, can score, but how are thye going to shut down Buddy and co?
Gold Coast ($1.16) v Carlton ($5.25), at Metricon Stadium
Gold Coast: B - Trent McKenzie, Steven May, Sean Lemmens; HB - Adam Saad, Rory Thompson, Nick Malceski; C - Kade Kolodjashnij, Gary Ablett, Jarrod Harbrow; HF - Aaron Hall, Tom J Lynch, Jack Martin; F - Brandon Matera, Sam Day, Clay Cameron; FOLL - Tom Nicholls, Michael Rischitelli, Dion Prestia; Interchange - Matt Rosa, Alex Sexton, Jesse Lonergan, Ryan Davis
Carlton: B - Kade Simpson, Michael Jamison, Jacob Weitering; HB - Dale Thomas, Sam Rowe, Zach Tuohy; C - Sam Docherty, Bryce Gibbs, Matthew Wright; HF - Nick Graham, Levi Casboult, Charlie Curnow; F - Sam Kerridge, Andrew Phillips, Blaine Boekhorst; FOL - Matthew Kreuzer, Patrick Cripps, Marc Murphy; Interchange - Ciaran Byrne, Dylan Buckley, Mark Whiley, Ed Curnow
UBET verdict: The Suns are on track already for a final 8 spot ($2.50), and are not only expected to beat the Blues ($1.16), but to also give them a hiding with the handicap set at -32.5 points.
West Coast ($1.36) v Fremantle ($3.10), at Domain Stadium
West Coast: B - Shannon Hurn, Eric MacKenzie, Brad Sheppard; HB - Elliot Yeo, Will Schofield, Sam Butler; C - Jack Redden, Matt Priddis, Lewis Jetta; HF - Chris Masten, Jeremy McGovern, Jack Darling; F - Mark LeCras, Josh J. Kennedy, Josh Hill; FOL - Nic Naitanui, Andrew Gaff, Luke Shuey; Interchange - Jamie Cripps, Liam Duggan, Scott Lycett, Jackson Nelson
Fremantle: B - Garrick Ibbotson, Zac Dawson, Lee Spurr; HB - Stephen Hill, Michael Johnson, Tommy Sheridan; C - Cameron Sutcliffe, David Mundy, Danyle Pearce; HF - Ed Langdon, Matthew Pavlich, Nat Fyfe; F - Michael Walters, Chris Mayne, Hayden Ballantyne; FOL - Aaron Sandilands, Michael Barlow, Nick Suban; Interchange - Lachie Weller, Lachie Neale, Matt De Boer, Alex Pearce
UBET verdict: The wheels have fallen off the Dockers, and if they lose against the Eagles, they will need a minor miracle to make the finals. The one thing in their favour is they have won 6 of the last 7 with the Eagles, but UBET punters are happy to be on the Eagles at $1.36.
Sunday, April 10
North Melbourne ($1.26) v Melbourne ($3.85), at Blundstone Arena
North Melbourne: B - Michael Firrito, Robbie Tarrant, Sam Wright; HB - Shaun Atley, Scott D Thompson, Luke McDonald; C - Nick Dal Santo, Daniel Wells, Ben Jacobs; HF - Jack Ziebell, Jarrad Waite, Brent Harvey; F - Shaun Higgins, Drew Petrie, Lindsay Thomas; FOL - Todd Goldstein, Ben Cunnington, Andrew Swallow; Extended interchange - Lachlan Hansen, Trent Dumont, Aaron Mullett, Taylor Garner, Jamie Macmillan, Sam Gibson, Ben Brown
Melbourne: B - Neville Jetta, Tom McDonald, Tomas Bugg; HB - Matt Jones, Heritier Lumumba, Christian Salem; C - Bernie Vince, Dom Tyson, James Harmes; HF - Jack Watts, Aaron Vandenberg, Ben Kennedy; F - Dean Kent, Jesse Hogan, Jeff Garlett; FOL - Max Gawn, Nathan Jones, Jack Viney; Extended interchange - Clayton Oliver, Lynden Dunn, Billy Stretch, Sam Frost, Cameron Pedersen, Jack Grimes, Josh Wagner
UBET verdict: The last time Melbourne beat North, Twitter didn't exist (2006). The Roos have chalked up 14 wins in a row against the Demons since then and are tipped ($1.26) to continue that run on Sunday.
Western Bulldogs ($2.10) v Hawthorn ($1.72), at Etihad Stadium
Western Bulldogs: B - Matthew Boyd, Marcus Adams, Dale Morris; HB - Matthew Suckling, Easton Wood, Shane Biggs; C - Lachie Hunter, Tom Liberatore, Jason Johannisen; HF - Liam Picken, Marcus Bontempelli, Jake Stringer; F: Luke Dahlhaus, Tom Boyd, Robert Murphy; FOL - Jordan Roughead, Jack Macrae, Mitch Wallis; extended interchange - Tom Campbell, Toby McLean, Josh Dunkley, Koby Stevens, Joel Hamling, Caleb Daniel, Lin Jong
Hawthorn: B - Ben Stratton, James Frawley, Taylor Duryea; HB - Shaun Burgoyne, Josh Gibson, Grant Birchall; C - Billy Hartung, Jordan Lewis, Isaac Smith; HF - Luke Breust, Ryan Schoenmakers, Paul Puopolo; F - James Sicily, Jack Gunston, Cyril Rioli; FOL - Ben McEvoy, Sam Mitchell, Will Langford; extended interchange - Angus Litherland, Jonathon Ceglar, Jonathan O'Rourke, Marc Pittonet, Daniel Howe, Blake Hardwick, Liam Shiels
UBET verdict: Hawthorn have won the last 7 v the Bulldogs, and 5 of those wins have been by 25+ points. BUT, the Bulldogs have a new motor this year, and they will be taking on Hawthorn at their preferred venue, Etihad Stadium. The Hawks were awesome in beating the Eagles, but there is plenty of money around this week for the Bulldogs.
Geelong ($1.04) v Brisbane ($11.00), at Simonds Stadium
Geelong: B - Jake Kolodjashnij, Tom Lonergan, Tom Ruggles; HB - Andrew Mackie, Harry Taylor, Corey Enright; C - Jimmy Bartel, Joel Selwood, Mark Blicavs; HF- Steven Motlop, Shane Kersten, Darcy Lang; F - Daniel Menzel, Tom Hawkins, Lincoln McCarthy; FOL - Zac Smith, Mitch Duncan, Patrick Dangerfield; extended interchange - Josh Caddy, Nakia Cockatoo, Cory Gregson, Cameron Guthrie, George Horlin-Smith, Lachie Henderson, Rhys Stanley
Brisbane: B - Darcy Gardiner, Daniel Merrett, Claye Beams; HB - Sam Mayes, Harris Andrews, Daniel Rich; C - Ryan Lester, Allen Christensen, Lewis Taylor; HF - Pearce Hanley, Daniel McStay, Josh Green; F - Josh Walker, Josh Schache, Tom Bell; FOL - Stefan Martin, Dayne Zorko, Mitch Robinson; extended interchange - Ryan Harwood, Ryan Bastinac, Rohan Bewick, Nick Robertson, Liam Dawson, Tom Cutler, Billy Evans
UBET verdict: The only thing that looks in conjecture here is the winning margin to Geelong, but didn't that look the same way with a couple of games last week? The Cats are 'Black Caviar' odds at $1.04, with the Lions at $11, and the handicap is a hefty 54.5 points.