AFL W2W4, Round 3: Tigers need the Dusty of old

The first two rounds of the season have thrown up a host of upsets, shocks and storylines and some teams and players are feeling the heat.

Here's What To Watch For in Round 3.

The depleted Tigers need Dusty to turn back the clock

By his lofty standards, Dustin Martin simply hasn't been good enough through the first two rounds of the season.

For the first time in his career, Martin heads into Round 3 without a single goal to his name. He hasn't been overly productive in the midfield, either, with the 2017 Brownlow medallist averaging a lowly 24 disposals and just three clearances per game. He is also yet to lay a single tackle in 2019.

Whether unfair or not, we hold Martin to just about the highest standards of any player in the competition. His 2018 was solid without being spectacular, but we all know the level he is capable of playing at and with that said, it's time for him to lift.

His team needs him now more than ever ahead of the huge clash against GWS at GIANTS Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Damien Hardwick's side will go into the game without key pillars Alex Rance (ACL), Jack Riewoldt (wrist) and Dylan Grimes (suspension) and will be hoping to avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time since rounds eight and nine in 2017.

Martin has a nice record against the Giants, having averaged 29 disposals, 16 contested possessions and seven inside 50s in his past four games. He's also booted five goals in those matches.

The Tigers will certainly go in as underdogs, but if Martin can rediscover some magic, help out Trent Cotchin in the midfield and fill the Jack Riewoldt void in the forward line, the Tigers may just return to Melbourne with four unlikely premiership points.

How will the Gaff factor influence the Grand Final rematch?

It's not often that a Grand Final rematch needs further spice added to it, but the return of Andrew Gaff to the West Coast side to take on Collingwood adds a further level of intrigue to Saturday night's clash.

Suspended for eight weeks after hitting first-year Docker Andrew Brayshaw in the face in Round 20 last year, Gaff faces the strange situation of coming into a side that managed to go all the way without him.

Gaff's inclusion will bolster the Eagles' already impressive midfield, but the Pies, too, have made some sage additions to their 22 since blowing a five-goal lead late last year. The addition of Dayne Beams to the midfield, Darcy Moore and Jordan Roughead to the backline and Jamie Elliott up forward should work in the Pies' favour.

Both the Eagles and Magpies enter their Round 3 clash with one win and one loss, and both are coming off equally impressive victories over the Giants and Tigers respectively. While it's the Magpies (bizarrely or otherwise) who host the Grand Final rematch, it's the Eagles who have the edge over Collingwood at the MCG in recent times.

Last year, these sides met three times, twice at the 'G, with the Eagles winning all three meetings, but Collingwood have shot into premiership favouritsm this week after their clinical effort against the Tigers.

Can the Eagles maintain their recent dominance over the Pies or will Collingwood's recruits outshine the return of Andrew Gaff?

Can the pop-gun Demons kick a winning score?

After kicking a paltry six goals from a monstrous 72 inside-50s in the 80-point smashing at the hands of Geelong, Melbourne must find a way to find better connection between the forward line and midfield. And they must do it before it's too late, starting with Friday night's 'mockbuster' against Essendon.

Getting repeat entries is one thing -- and playing a forward-half game is one indicator of a strong team in recent years -- but it's not much use if your opponent can easily soak up the pressure and then catch you napping on the fast break.

It boils down to Melbourne's midfield -- which has its own issues -- using the ball more intelligently and the Demons' forwards working harder and smarter.

The Dees were the highest scoring team in the AFL last season but have only managed nine and six goals in their opening two matches. No key players are in form, with Tom McDonald and Sam Weideman well down on last year's efforts, and Christian Petracca, Alex Neal-Bullen and Jake Melksham all struggling for impact. There's also a dire lack of pace across the park, especially inside 50, which is an area the Dons can look to exploit.

Friday night's clash between the 18th-placed Dees and 17th-placed Dons is a crunch game for both clubs who entered the year with so much promise, as the loser will face an almost insurmountable path to September. The Demons appear better placed to click into gear but if their issues in attack linger, it will be the Bombers who emerge victorious.