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Is the top eight locked in? It’s early days, sure, but this weekend the claim exploded in popularity.
With good reason, too. The top eight of the Power Rankings share the same eight teams as the ladder, albeit in different order. What’s more, there’s stability in that group.
As always, there were improvers and fallers this week — but there was zero crossover between the top eight and the bottom ten.
Underscoring the gap, the three sides closest to the eight in last week’s Power Rankings — Melbourne, Gold Coast and Collingwood — all did their best to run away their lofty rankings this week.
Now, it should be stressed once again that the Power Rankings are not a ladder predictor. They aim to be an accurate representation of where a team is at right now.
But it goes without saying that to make the finals, teams not currently in the eight are going to need to start building up some form. We’re not seeing any top eight-level form from that group.
Maybe St Kilda are starting to hint that they can’t be ruled out. Port Adelaide? Perhaps. There’s still a very, very long way to go. Anything’s possible, right?
Then again, maybe not.
Most likely, it will take a current top eight side falling well off the wagon for a spot to open up.
+2 // Ladder: 2nd (5W, 1L)
The Suns rolled over, but you don’t register 120-point wins by accident. The Cats are clicking. Dangerfield and Selwood are clicking. Josh Caddy, Cameron Guthrie and Mitch Duncan are also winning plenty of the ball. There’s an oversupply of defenders. Tom Hawkins is firing. A lot going right at the Cattery.
+2 // Ladder: 5th (4W, 2L)
Last week’s GWS ranking attracted its fair share of critics. It was trolling, according to one response. Like I’ve said before, the rankings aren’t about wins and losses. Often they pick up on things that are happening away from the spotlight. It took beating Hawthorn by 75 points to bring the Giants back into the spotlight, but they’ve been building for a while now. Keep an eye on Rory Lobb. Eight contested marks, four goals is a decent evening.
-2 // Ladder: 3rd (5W, 1L)
The Swans didn’t lose to the Brisbane Lions, the conditions were horrible, it’s harsh to see them drop by two places. But when there are others near the top registering big wins — one against the reigning premiers, the other against a side that shouldn’t be losing by 120 — movement happens. Sorry Swans!
+2 // Ladder: 1st (6W, 0L)
North’s lowest score this season going into round 6? 107 points. They scored 46 less than that, but it turns out they can win in a grind, too. Jarrad Waite’s four goals really stood out in a game where no other forward imposed themselves in the goal kicking sense. Is 9-0 now a possibility? St Kilda, Essendon and Carlton — all at Etihad Stadium — are up next.
-3 // Ladder: 4th (4W, 2L)
The Dogs haven’t lost an inside 50 count this season and that trend continued on Friday, but they just didn’t seem smart enough with their entries. Again and again the ball would go to a contest, often one where North had the numerical advantage. The loose man down back was a killer.
-1 // Ladder: 8th (4W, 2L)
We just got so used to seeing the Hawks finding a way to get the job done that it was hard to tip against them against GWS. Turns out, the Giants didn’t even give them a chance to pull one out of the hat. It was well over by the final quarter. There were a few remarkable stats to come out of it all, but I thought this had the most wow factor: Hawthorn hadn’t had as many points kicked against them in a game since 2005.
No change // Ladder: 7th (4W, 2L)
In a weekend of big margins, Adelaide were the only side where each of the 22 players recorded at least 10 disposals. All bar four of those had more than 15 touches against Fremantle. Talk about an even spread of contributors.
No change // Ladder: 6th (4W, 2L)
Right now, West Coast look the most vulnerable of the top eight teams. Good teams on the road have registered strong wins against them. Their trip to Geelong this week should be interesting.
+4 // Ladder: 12th (2W, 4L)
Blake Acres had 28 disposals and two goals. Tim Membrey kicked five goals. Seb Ross, Luke Dunstan and Jack Billings each topped 20 touches. Yep, the under-50-game brigade led the way in the win over Melbourne and are coming along alright.
+2 // Ladder: 16th (1W, 5L)
Yes, the conditions were wet, but Sunday’s game against the Swans wasn’t low-scoring. Getting within three points is a fair effort. It’s about bringing that level every week. The Lions’ home record this year stands above its away record. Something to correct against Port Adelaide this week, perhaps.
+3 // Ladder: 11th (3W, 3L)
Chad Wingard out, Robbie Gray out, interstate. You give Port a tick for their 35-point win over Richmond. Expect Port to go on a semi-run in coming weeks given their light draw: Brisbane, Carlton, Melbourne, West Coast, Collingwood is what they have ahead of them.
-3 // Ladder: 12th (3W, 3L)
That was so very Melbourne, wasn’t it? Following up their first consecutive victories in five years with a loss to an opponent below them on the ladder. Just like how they followed up a round 1 win over GWS with a loss to Essendon. Just like how their last loss to St Kilda followed a win. Just like how … okay, I’ll stop here, we could be here a while.
+2 // Ladder: 14th (2W, 4L)
Did we really just have a two-team goalless quarter? In the AFL? In 2016? I’m not sure Carlton deserve this +2. Still, Brendon Bolton will take two wins in a row. Credit to Dale Thomas for his strong showing. His spot in the 22 had been questioned by many earlier this year. He belongs, we can all calm down.
-4 // Ladder: 10th (3W, 3L)
So that didn’t look good. The first triple-figures loss of the season, and it just got worse and worse: the Suns conceded five goals in the first quarter, then it was six, then seven, then another seven. I feel there was some genuineness to the Suns’ very-early-season form, but it looks like we’re back to the Suns of 2015 now.
-4 // Ladder: 13th (2W, 4L)
Where to the Pies belong? They’re bouncing around a bit, so they’re perhaps the hardest to get an exact read on. Funnily enough, the Pies actually won two quarters against West Coast, but their first and fourth terms left a lot to be desired.
+1 // Ladder: 18th (0W, 5L)
One of the fascinating things about the Dockers’ sixth loss of the season was this: After three quarters against Adelaide, they had kicked 3.14. It’s a horrid figure on two fronts. Kicking three goals in three quarters won’t win you too many games of footy. Kicking at a ratio of almost five behinds to each one goal definitely won’t. Oh, and the Dockers now officially own the record of worst start to a season by a previous season’s minor premier.
-1 // Ladder: 14th (1W, 4L)
You can understand the club wanting to project a positive image and expressing faith in their list at what is still an early point of the season. But boy, is now not the time to be raising the prospect of trading away high draft picks. “Clearly we need to improve our top-end talent and the best way to do that is through early picks or bring in some A-grade talent, and to do that you need to give up early draft picks,” football manager Dan Richardson said. The word rebuild and playing the kids also seem taboo topics. The time for that to change has surely arrived.
No change // Ladder: 17th (1W, 5L)
No really, did two teams really go an entire quarter against each other without a goal? Not one goal? The 0.6 to 0.3 second quarter will go down as one of the lowlights of 2016.