AFL H&V Round 3: Key forwards earn their keep, Dusty Martin beyond poor

Round 3 saw the Bombers chalk up their first win at the expense of the woeful Dees, a cult hero named Gryan emerge at the Cattery, while Richmond superstar Dustin Martin continued his underwhelming start to season 2019.

Here are the round's biggest heroes and villains.


New-look Cats: For so long we banged on about Geelong's 'bottom five' holding them back, but no longer does this seem to be the case.

Chris Scott has dumped the baggage and introduced some serious talent into the line-up, all of which was on display against the Crows on Thursday night. In fact, eight of the 14 goals kicked by the Cats were from players who weren't even in the team last year.

The likes of Gryan Miers (three goals) and Gary Rohan (two goals) have injected pace into the Geelong forward line, while Charlie Constable, Jordan Clark and Tom Atkins all managed to hit the scoreboard. Now at 3-0, and with Collingwood losing, perhaps Geelong is the best team in Victoria...

Isaac Heeney: A lot of the preseason rhetoric coming out of Sydney involved Isaac Heeney. Now in his fifth year at the Swans, was the 22-year-old gun going to start spending more time in the midfield? The answer may have materialised during Sydney's 19-point win over Carlton: why change a winning formula?

Against the Blues, Heeney was clearly the best man on the ground, playing as a forward who rotated through the midfield. He finished with 26 disposals -- 14 of which were contested -- and four goals, including the match-winner late in the piece. Heeney was a constant presence both in the air and on the ground inside the Swans' forward 50 and you get the feeling that's where he should remain.

With his strength through the hips and ability to take contested grabs, it seems pretty logical to keep him in the forward line, while keeping the option of throwing him in the middle up your sleeve.

The league's tall timber: Who said there's no place for tall forwards in modern day footy? Round 3 proved the big man can still play a monster role in deciding the outcome of matches, with a host of tall forwards hitting the scoreboard in a big way across the weekend.

Nobody did it better than Giants spearhead Jeremy Cameron who kicked a bag of seven in GWS's crushing defeat of Richmond on Saturday afternoon. Had he not hit the post twice in the opening term, he could very easily have finished up with nine for the game. Cameron was well supported by Jeremy Finlayson who went forward and kicked a career-best five majors.

Up the other end of the ground, Tigers recruit Tom Lynch contributed four goals while later that night at the Gabba, Eric Hipwood equaled his career-best goals mark of six in Brisbane's thrilling win over the Power.


Dees' dismal defence: If the bare result of Friday night's loss to Essendon wasn't bad enough viewing for for Melbourne fans, the stats aren't kind to its patchwork defence, either.

In addition to allowing 20 goals from just 53 inside 50s (or a goal from 37.7 percent of the Bombers' entries) and a score on 56.6 percent of entries, Essendon was allowed to run riot on the rebound with Melbourne allowing a staggering nine coast-to-coast goals throughout the evening.

The Dees also desperately miss an elite intercept mark in the back half. The Bombers managed to take 16 marks inside 50 (to Melbourne's 10), while Demons key back Oscar McDonald tallied zero marks (intercept or otherwise) on the night.

Sure, they're missing Jake Lever and Steven May from key defensive posts, but with Sydney having played themselves into some sort of form against the Blues, the warning signs are there for an undermanned and underdone Melbourne side.

Dustin Martin: If the critics came for Dustin Martin after two weeks without a tackle, they're unlikely to go anywhere after Dusty's efforts in Richmond's 49-point loss to the Giants on Saturday.

In addition to finding the ball just 15 times in his side's listless defeat, Martin only impact on the scoreboard was two behinds, while he is also likely to face MRO scrutiny for what looked like a punch on Adam Kennedy more than 50 metres off the ball.

The Tigers are already without two of their biggest '17 flag heroes in Jack Riewoldt and Alex Rance. Martin's brain fade may cost him a week and put the Tigers at real risk of an unwanted 1-3 start to the year.

Dawdling Dogs: You're down by three scores with less than two minutes remaining. Even an eight-year-old would understand time is of the essence. But down by three scores late against the Gold Coast Suns on Sunday, the Western Bulldogs showed no such urgency.

In the last 90 seconds of the match, Bulldogs Aaron Naughton and Billy Gowers took two excellent marks inside forward 50 but failed to adequately sense the need to rush. Naughton eventually converted from the goal square to close the gap to just one straight kick, but Gowers really needed to do better.

The forward took a strong grab inside 50 with just 1:03 on the clock, but proceeded to go on a bizarre Sunday stroll to the top of his run-up, only kicking the footy with 30 seconds remaining. He missed, narrowing the margin to five points, but the Dogs were left without enough time to regain possession.

Billy: jog back to your mark, take a deep breath and send the footy on its way.