AFL W2W4, Round 2: Eagles facing a Giant problem

Round 1 threw up a host of upsets, shocks and storylines and already some teams are feeling the heat.

Here's What To Watch For in Round 2.

How do the Tigers replace the 'irreplaceable'?

When your coach defies the normal 'one soldier down, another steps up' mantra and labels an injured player as "irreplaceable," it's a fair sign that said player will be sorely missed.

After it was confirmed Alex Rance would require an ACL reconstruction following his injury in the season-opener against Carlton, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick couldn't help but admit his absence was going to leave a gaping hole in the Tigers' backline.

"Alex is irreplaceable, let's be honest. We cannot replace (him), he's that good a player that you can't just slot in another player," Hardwick told AFL360.

For so long, the key defender -- the only player to make the past five All-Australian teams -- has been Richmond's Rock of Gibraltar: imposing, just about impassable and, until last Thursday night, indestructible.

Richmond certainly won't be used to playing without him patrolling their backline -- with Rance missing just seven games since the start of 2014 -- but they need to quickly find a way, with Collingwood, the team destroyed them in last year's preliminary final, ready and waiting for a Thursday night blockbuster.

Somewhat ironically, that prelim loss was one of a handful of games where Rance was taken to the cleaners as the Pies' American cult hero Mason Cox played like a reborn John Coleman.

Rance would no doubt have pencilled in this Round 2 clash as his chance at redemption but instead, he'll be sitting on the sidelines, wondering how the Tigers will cope without No. 18 strutting around at centre-half back.

How will Essendon respond after last week's shocker?

Boy, where do you start? The lack of intensity around the ball? The atrocious skills? The laughing and smiling at the final siren after the humiliating loss to GWS?

In his post-match press conference, coach John Worsfold said he'd be disappointed if his side came out and trained harder on the track this week, as it would mean they weren't putting in 100 percent over the preseason.

But something needs to change. The Bombers were smashed in a number of key stat areas, losing the disposals (308-371), marks inside 50 (6-16), centre clearances (6-12) and contested possessions(116-156). Glaringly, despite chasing the Giants for most of the afternoon, they were also out-tackled (58-63).

The Bombers face an upbeat St Kilda side on Saturday afternoon at Marvel Stadium, and dishing up a similar performance to that of last Sunday might not even cut it against the Saints - a team many had in their bottom two.

The last thing Essendon fans want to see is another slow start to the year. It's been over 5,300 days since the Bombers last won a final, and considering preseason expectations were high leading into 2019, missing the eight this year could be a disaster for players, coaches and supporters alike.

Can reigning premier West Coast avoid an 0-2 start?

Since 2010, only three of the 49 teams to start a season with two consecutive losses have gone on to play finals. What does that mean? The pressure is well and truly on the Eagles this weekend.

We'll excuse West Coast for their Round 1 loss to Brisbane. The Lions are a much improved young side that will trouble plenty at the Gabba this year, and who knows, they may even sneak into the finals. Plus it was the season-opener and nobody ever seems to be at their absolute best.

But when the Eagles host GWS at Optus Stadium, it really is an early must-win clash.

It's not going to be a simple task. The Giants were just about the standout performer in week one with a ruthless 88-point win over Essendon. With no Josh Kelly or Callan Ward, it really was the perfect start to 2019 and both of these star midfielders could be available this week which makes the Eagles' challenge even more daunting.

The Eagles were smashed by the Lions in ground-ball gets, -42 for the game, and that has to be the area of concern for Adam Simpson. Over the past two seasons it seems that if you can win the ball at ground level against West Coast you have a big chance of banking the four premiership points.

In 2017, the Giants won all three games against the Eagles but last year they came up short in both clashes. Redemption will certainly be on their mind as they look to stay at the summit of the AFL ladder.