AFL Power Rankings 2017: Round 4

Adrian Polykandrites Roar Guru

By Adrian Polykandrites, Adrian Polykandrites is a Roar Guru

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    A month into the season and things are starting to settle into place, which means there’s not a lot of movement.

    Rather than recap each team’s weekend, let’s take a look at how the teams are stacking up statistically after four games.

    1.Adelaide
    Last week: 1
    Ladder: 2

    The Crows are a well-oiled machine crushing teams on the turnover for a league-best 81.8 points a game. Their 71 marks inside 50 are 10 more than the next-best team. Rory Sloane has the second most tackles and clearances of any player.

    2.GWS Giants
    Last week: 2
    Ladder: 4

    The Giants are ranked second for points from turnovers at 75.8 points per game and have pumped the ball inside their forward 50 more than any other side.

    3.Geelong
    Last week: 4
    Ladder: 1

    After crushing the Hawks and claiming top spot on the ladder, the Cats are looking a lot like the top-four team of 2016. The 70 points they generated from stoppages against the Hawks are the most by any team this season. Geelong are scoring on a league-best 58.7 per cent of their inside-50s.

    4.Port Adelaide
    Last week: 3
    Ladder: 7

    Their only two losses have come against the top two teams on this list. Port are currently ranked second (behind the Cats) for points from stoppages at 42.5 points per game.

    5.West Coast
    Last week: 5
    Ladder: 5

    The Eagles were ranked third for scoring from stoppages in 2016, so far this season they are ranked 10th, whether that’s just early-season randomness or a result of Nic Naitanui’s absence is yet to be seen. Elliot Yeo’s 48 intercept possessions are 11 more than any other player.

    6.Western Bulldogs
    Last week: 6
    Ladder: 6

    The Dogs have been an average team through four rounds, though they have, somewhat surprisingly, taken the second most contested marks of any team. They are also ranked No.1 for tackles per game – Tom Liberatore has a league-high 47.

    7.Richmond
    Last week: 7
    Ladder: 3

    The Tigers are doing a hell of a lot right. Their scoring from turnovers is up from 46.3 points a game (ranked 13th) in 2016 to 65.5 points this season (ranked third). They are the No.1 team for tackles inside 50. Dustin Martin is No.1 for metres gained at 644.2m a game.

    8.Melbourne
    Last week: 8
    Ladder: 8

    Not a good week for the Demons. The 46 points they conceded in the third quarter to Fremantle ware the most they’ve conceded in a quarter this season. Ranked fifth for points scored off turnovers at 63 points per game.

    9.St Kilda
    Last week: 9
    Ladder: 10

    The Saints laid 21 tackles inside 50 against the Pies, which is the most of any team this season. The Saints have taken more contested marks (55) than any team, Tim Membrey leading the league with 12.

    10.Essendon
    Last week: 10
    Ladder: 11

    Adelaide will make a lot of teams look bad this season. Zach Merrett is second for metres gained at 642.5m a game.

    11.North Melbourne
    Last week: 13
    Ladder: 17

    Another close loss to a top-eight team. North are ranked third for points from stoppages at 42 points a game, but are last for points against at 41.8 per game. The Roos’ 55 marks inside 50 are the fifth most in the league.

    12.Collingwood
    Last week: 11
    Ladder: 13

    The Magpies midfield strength has translated to them conceding the fewest points from stoppages this season – just 75 points. Not much good news after that. Collingwood are 15th for scoring efficiency, converting only 47.7 per cent of inside-50s into a score. Jeremy Howe is tied with Tim Membrey for the most contested marks this season (12) and is equal third for intercept possessions at 8.5 per game.

    13.Sydney Swans
    Last week: 12
    Ladder: 16

    Things are getting pretty grim for the Swans. After conceding a miserly 66.8 points per game in 2016, Sydney are giving up 97.8 so far this season. They’ve already conceded 100 points twice this season after doing so only three times all of last year.

    14.Fremantle
    Last week: 16
    Ladder: 12

    Round four was the first time the Dockers cracked 100 points since round 11 last year.

    15.Gold Coast
    Last week: 15
    Ladder: 9

    Could definitely make a case for the Suns to be higher after a couple of wins. Tom Lynch’s seven goals against the Blues equals Charlie Dixon’s club record. Gary Ablett has the most inside-50s of any player this season.

    16.Carlton
    Last week: 14
    Ladder: 14

    Carlton have conceded only two points from kick-ins this season after conceding a league-best 1.5 per game in 2016, which points to a well-organised team.

    17.Brisbane Lions
    Last week: 17
    Ladder: 15

    Tom Rockliff’s 48 clearances are 15 more than the next best player (Rory Sloane), he’s also ranked third for contested possessions and fourth for tackles. They’re still conceding too many points too easily, but 108.5 is a huge improvement on the 130.5 they gave up on average last season.

    18.Hawthorn
    Last week: 18
    Ladder: 18

    Yikes. The Hawks were fifth-best at defending turnovers in 2016 – giving up 45 points a game – and second only to the Crows at scoring from them at 62.4 points a game. This season they are conceding a league-worst 79.8 points and scoring just 46.3. The last time they lost four home-and-away games in a row was 2010.

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • April 18th 2017 @ 8:45am
      mattyb said | April 18th 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

      I think North are far to high and the the Dockers to low. The rest seems fair enough or nothing more eyebrow raising as most weeks.

      • April 20th 2017 @ 1:10am
        dontknowmuchaboutfootball said | April 20th 2017 @ 1:10am | ! Report

        Interesting to see in the Hun in the lead up to last round, all of the tipsters bar two tipped Melbourne over Freo. Of the dissenters, one was “The Kiss of Death”, who I take it is a running gag, tipping the team they think is going to lose.

        The tipster genuinely favouring Freo? Marcus Bontempelli, the only one out of the lot of them who’d recently had the privilege of seeing what Freo is capable of up close and personal.

        I’m still a bit never about facing North this week, mind. And there’s still plenty of scope for Freo to fall to pieces again.

    • April 18th 2017 @ 9:33am
      andrew said | April 18th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      i wonder how some of the other mid-table sides (coll, saint, demons) would have fared in the first 4 rounds if they had played the cats, giants, eagles and dogs so far in 2017, like north have. north have clearly had the hardest start to the season. as a north fan, i was hoping they might be 1-3, but truly expected to be 0-4.

      the north forward line is buckling with wood and waite out. id accept one of them being out (insert waite joke/comment here), but tough to have both out at same time. this leaves ben brown only, who has had no pre-season. and makeshift ruckman spending time forward like goldy, preuss and daw. goldy and daw both having injury pre-seasons too. little wonder its not getting them over the line against above opposition.

      phew…. north finally land an ‘easy’ game now, freo in freo………(toungue in cheek).

      • April 18th 2017 @ 9:49am
        Daws said | April 18th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        North have done remarkably well To be competitive given their list turnover. Looking forward to a cracking game between this coming week

      • Columnist

        April 18th 2017 @ 10:29am
        Cameron Rose said | April 18th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

        Couldn’t agree more Andrew. When you play teams is one of most important overlooked factors, particularly in the first half of the season. North could easily be 3-1 with Geelong or Richmond’s draw.

        The Cats got Freo at their oldest and slowest rather than now when they are far more vibrant. They get Melbourne without Hogan and Lewis, and with Gawn going down against them. And then Hawthorn at their lowest ebb. An absolute dream run.

        • April 18th 2017 @ 11:07am
          spruce moose said | April 18th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          Hold up,

          You’ve written an article saying injuries are no excuse for Sydney, but then seem to imply that injuries were an excuse for Melbourne against Geelong??

          Happy to stand corrected.

          • Columnist

            April 18th 2017 @ 2:05pm
            Cameron Rose said | April 18th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

            I haven’t said injuries are no excuse for Sydney, simply that there are other important factors to consider.

            Sydney are easier to beat right now than they will be at stages later in the season. Those teams drawn to play the Swans in the first four rounds have benefited.

        • Roar Guru

          April 18th 2017 @ 12:09pm
          Cat said | April 18th 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          Easy to say ‘Hawthorn at lowest ebb’ now but prior to the game everyone expected Hawthorn to have some kind of response to the previous weeks 86 point loss. Otherwise I agree, there are always good times and bad times to play sides, every premier needs some luck to fall their way.

    • April 18th 2017 @ 11:27am
      I ate pies said | April 18th 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

      Anyone else think that the ladder is just about set already? I can see Melbourne dropping out, but that’s about it.

      • Roar Guru

        April 18th 2017 @ 12:12pm
        Cat said | April 18th 2017 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        But to who? Those below them have as many, if not more, queries over them. Still early but it’s looking like there are only going to about half as many true contenders this year compared to last. Don’t see this season being nearly as ‘even’ as last.

        • April 18th 2017 @ 12:39pm
          I ate pies said | April 18th 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

          Not sure, maybe St Kilda or Collingwood or GC. Melbourne are definitely a maybe at the moment. I reckon you’re right that there’s less contenders. Probably only Adelaide, GWS and Geelong are the serious contenders at the moment.

          • April 18th 2017 @ 4:48pm
            Jaxson said | April 18th 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

            I’d say Adelaide, GWS and Port are the only ones that have done enough right to call them ‘contenders’ 4 weeks in.

            Geelong, West Coast and the Bulldogs have too many question marks. Geelong’s 4-0 has been pretty unconvincing (and in a slightly alternate universe they would be 2-2 having lost to North and Melb); West Coast hasn’t faced any top ~6 contenders except for Richmond, though that scoreline was respectable, and the Bulldogs could’ve been 0-4 in a slightly alternate universe (if Collingwood could score goals, if Sydney hadn’t slipped as much this year as they seem to have, and if North could get that last goal).

            If we list the groups of teams as tiers, Port would probably be in a tier 1.5 – less convincing than GWS and Adelaide, but in their 2 losses – to those top 2 teams – they did enough to suggest they’re playing good football.

            Adelaide is simply crushing it, and besides that round 1 hiccup GWS hasn’t done much wrong. Tier 1 clearly.

            The 3 teams mentioned earlier, plus Richmond, would be tier 2. Richmond is 4-0, and while they won against fellow top-6 contender in WC the margin wasn’t enough to say that they’re better than tier 2. You have about 5 or 6 teams in a tier ~3 section fighting for that bottom spot in the 8, and 5 or 6 teams that don’t have much of a chance at finals already.

            • Roar Guru

              April 18th 2017 @ 5:26pm
              Cat said | April 18th 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

              Only thing GWS has proven is they still can’t win on th e road in front of big crowds – right or wrong they will have to if they want a flag.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 19th 2017 @ 2:39am
                hairy fat man said | April 19th 2017 @ 2:39am | ! Report

                The Giants have won in every Australian State (plus the ACT) in the past 12 months, at nine different venues.

                Crowd sizes don’t seem relevant with regards to GWS, given the club’s small supporter base relative to other AFL clubs.

              • Roar Guru

                April 20th 2017 @ 3:19pm
                Cat said | April 20th 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                They are 1-9 at the MCG, 1-6 at Subiaco and 1-4 at Adelaide Oval. That’s a rather unimpressive 3-19 overall at the major away grounds.

                GWS’s only win at the MCG was in front of a massive crowd of just 17,227 back in round 21, 2014.

      • April 18th 2017 @ 4:41pm
        Jaxson said | April 18th 2017 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

        Edit: ok, made this whole post, then checked out upcoming weeks for Geelong to see when they might start getting tested. But seriously, look at their fixture. Based on current form, they have a huge amount of winnable games. On current form I would’ve put them as the 4th or 5th best team based on how convincing they’ve been (or, in my mind, haven’t been), but based on their fixture I could see them finishing in the top 3.

        Honestly, I might be a rare breed in this lot – but I don’t think Geelong is as good as 4-0 might otherwise suggest, and I’d definitely rate Port ahead of them – maybe West Coast, but West Coast has a similar issue to Geelong (not overcoming any serious tests). If you look at Geelong’s wins:

        1. Beat Freo by 7 goals – a Freo team that was so insipid they got absolutely smashed the week after.
        2. Beat North by a point – early season, sure, but they very easily could’ve lost this game to a team that no-one expected to finish in the top 8. Heck, they probably should have. Wasn’t Geelong’s last goal gifted via a free kick?
        3. Beat Melbourne by 29 – decent margin, but you wouldn’t be ecstatic beating a Lewis-less, Hogan-less, mostly Gawn-less Melbourne outfit that actually had 6 more scoring shots.
        4. Beat Hawthorn by 86 – big margin that’d make them happy, sure, but it doesn’t prove a whole lot. The margin was still winnable for Hawthorn at 3QT, and they pretty much just stopped playing. When GC beat Hawthorn by a similar margin the week before, it’s hard to say that Geelong convinced us they were a top 4 team on that margin alone.

        End of the day, Geelong and West Coast have the same issue – they haven’t really overcome a test from likely top-6 opposition. Adelaide and GWS have, and have been pretty convincing for this first month (except GWS’ first week, but they haven’t done anything wrong since). Port failed in their 2 tests against likely top-6 teams in Adelaide and GWS – but did enough to say that they could well be in the top 4. Geelong hasn’t played a team likely to feature in the finals, and West Coast lost to Richmond – though by a fairly respectable margin.

        I think the power rankings are fine for those top 5 teams given WL ratios and how the first 4 rounds have progressed, but give it a couple more months before locking in the ladder.

        • Roar Guru

          April 18th 2017 @ 5:24pm
          Cat said | April 18th 2017 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

          1. if you are going to mention how Geelong’s 7 goal win was less convincing because Freo got smashed the following week, How about Adelaide’s ‘less than convincing’ 24 point win over Hawthorn right before that same Hawthorn got smashed by 86 in consecutive weeks? For the record I think both comparisons are silly.
          2. Played like crap – still won. If it’s Geelong ‘its less than convincing’ other sides people say ‘good teams find ways to win when they don’t play their best’. Goal wasn’t gifted. The free was clearly there and the kick still had to be slotted.
          3. Everyone assumes those outs would have made them play better – and most times they probably will – but would it have been most? Would Geelong have been better if Guthrie, Scooter, Menegola, Cockatoo were available? Probably but can only play who is selected. How many games does a side that conceded 126 points in a match win? Not very many.
          4. Because you took the time to mention it during point 3 – Cats also played with Dangerfield severely corked shortly after the game started and Ruggles knocked out cold. Sometimes you lose players in games. It’s not an excuse to lose.

          ————–

          If you want to talk about unconvincing, look no further than Richmonds fixture so far. They’ve beaten no one. WCE are an 8-10 goal worst side at the MCG.

          —————

          GWS looks great – at home and against lowly side. On the road in front of big crowds they still can’t win.

          —————

          Adelaide have looked great – no questions there but who wants to play their best footy in rounds 1-4? Long season to go yet.

          • April 18th 2017 @ 5:54pm
            Egbirt said | April 18th 2017 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

            Who’s to say Adelaide’s footy has been their best? In fact hadn’t they lost the first quarter in their first three games? That wouldn’t suggest ‘best footy’s to me…and as for beating bombers in the first quarter last weekend, well Adelaide’s third quarter wasn’t much chop…they’re yet to put a full game together but you can’t deny the fact they’ve looked the best so far. At least they’ve been convincing.

          • Roar Rookie

            April 18th 2017 @ 6:55pm
            bdosi said | April 18th 2017 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

            Who says Adelaide are playing their best right now???
            We have 3 guns to still come back in (McGovern, Jenkins, B Crouch) and are likely to get considerably better with those inclusions.
            Unlikely to lose any at home and very likely to finish top two.
            Your comment is redundant.

      • April 18th 2017 @ 5:46pm
        BEPE said | April 18th 2017 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

        Richmond are looking good, top 4 good maybe, on the field but I wouldn’t put it past them to capitulate. To be clear, I do expect them to play finals but not locking them in yet

        • April 18th 2017 @ 6:34pm
          tibor nagy (big four sticks) said | April 18th 2017 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

          BEPE: What are you talking about? We are certain premiers. Martin will win the Brownlow and Norm Smith, while Dan Butler will win the rising star award. Dimmer will win coach of the year. It is highly likely that we will go through undefeated. They know we are coming!

    • April 18th 2017 @ 2:25pm
      Mullo said | April 18th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

      Very hard to argue with much of that Adrian. I think the top 8 is pretty well spot on and my gut tells me there’s more uncertainty in the ordering of the bottom 8. Gold Coast probably the one that could be higher now and I’d expect to be in a month’s time.

    • April 18th 2017 @ 3:15pm
      hal said | April 18th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

      Gold Coast are total front runners. If they were playing a top side they would have been smashed. When Carlton were able to sustain pressure GCS wilted like dead flowers. They are only good when it is on their terms. Tom Lynch was good.

      Melbourne are gawn!

    • April 18th 2017 @ 6:30pm
      hal said | April 18th 2017 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

      I expect to see Melbourne slide down further over the coming weeks. I was never sold the lemon that is the Melbourne Football Club. I did not have them in my eight. They beat a pathetic St Kilda side in round one, who are yet to get out of second gear, and in round 2 they had to resort to thuggery to overcome Carlton, arguably this year’s wooden spooners. I expect Richmond will give them a right whack on Monday night.

      Gold Coast will also slide. Tom Lynch will not get such easy supply when the GCS come up against top sides.

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