Essendon, Carlton, Collingwood, Brisbane Lions, Port Adelaide, Richmond, Gold Coast, West Coast, Fremantle, North Melbourne. That’s the run home for the Greater Western Sydney Giants.
It’s also the final reason you should need to lock them in for a top four spot and throw away the key.
(The Eagles game, crucially, is in Sydney. That leaves the Power and Kangas games on the road as the main stumble possibilities, but on current form, GWS win those too.)
For good reason, there’s been a buzz around the Giants this season. Also for good reason, that buzz seems to have been elevated since the win over the Swans on Sunday.
Is it over the top? Let’s just say I have no problem with their inclusion in the premiership discussion.
They’ve delivered good results against good teams and you can see the strides made by a host of players taking their games to another level.
They’ve arrived, alright.
No change // Ladder: 7th (8W, 4L)
The very idea that the Crows could be playing the competition’s best footy right now wasn’t well received last week, but it should be easier to digest now. Their last month has included the biggest win over Gold Coast at Metricon this season, a 22-point win over fellow in-form side GWS, an 88-point win over the not-that-horrible St Kilda and a 29-point win over the generally-good-at-home Eagles. Not too shabby.
No change // Ladder: 6th (8W, 4L)
You could highlight a bunch of players here. Phil Davis kept Buddy Franklin to just his third game with less than three goals this season. A further 10 players had 20-plus touches. Toby Greene was one of them and he also had four goals. Just a nice, even spread. Even the GWS fans were bringing plenty.
+2 // Ladder: 2nd (8W, 3L)
Patrick Dangerfield had a minimum of 10 touches each quarter on his way to 48 disposals against North Melbourne. He gained more than 1000 metres, too. Freak. Joel Selwood, who had 19 disposals each half, shouldn’t be forgotten either. As for the Cats’ goal kicking, well, let’s just say that’s another thing that shouldn’t be left out of the discussion.
-1 // Ladder: 4th (9W, 3L)
Trailed at the final break but came back for a gritty three-point interstate win against Port Adelaide. Tom Liberatore had 13 clearances, five of which came in the fourth quarter. Should be a good contest this weekend with the Dogs facing the Cats at Etihad Stadium.
+1 // Ladder: 8th (7W, 5L)
The rankings continue to be friendly here — the +1 was a result of the Swans slipping by more — but there was definitely more cause for concern for the Eagles this week. In the final 46 minutes against Adelaide, the Eagles scored just two behinds while their opponents ran away with it kicking 8.9. Now Nic Naitanui is out for two months? Ouch.
+2 // Ladder: 5th (9W, 3L)
You could obviously argue the case for a +3 here given who’s above the Hawks, but it’s hard to read too much into a thumping win over Essendon, even if it was the Bombers’ biggest defeat so far. We may well find out whether Hawthorn is indeed starting to flick the switch Friday night against North Melbourne.
-3 // Ladder: 3rd (9W, 3L)
Outplayed by their crosstown rivals and Kurt Tippett picked up a six-week injury. You can put this down to a weekend to forget for the Swans. Overall, worth noting Sydney do have the best time in front percentage in the comp and the second best percentage.
+1 // Ladder: 9th (6W, 6L)
That’s the third loss by single digits in five weeks. Port would be riding a seven-game win streak right now had those fixtures gone the other way. Will those three losses go on to define their season? Time will tell, but they must surely hurt right now.
-2 // Ladder: 1st (10W, 2L)
The Roos actually did quite well considering the pressure of multiple injuries. Despite the Dangerfield-Selwood masterclass, they were up by 16 at half time. While another fall in the rankings may seem harsh in that context, we have now seen two losses by more than four goals in three weeks. A good showing in the next fortnight (against Hawthorn and Adelaide) would certainly turn the outlook around.
+1 // Ladder: 10th (6W, 6L)
A big Queen’s Birthday win over Collingwood must surely feel good for Dees supporters. We talk about Max Gawn a lot, but even Nathan Buckley admitted to planning for him at the selection table and having those plans turned on their head. Dominant in the ruck, three goals and 27 touches. Not bad.
+1 // Ladder: 12th (5W, 7L)
Some are scratching their heads about how to read the Saints, but it’s pretty simple. They’re 5-0 against teams below ninth. They’re 0-7 against those ninth and up. They ain’t yet ready to make the jump – but they are more likely than not to put away a side like Carlton.
+2 // Ladder: 16th (2W, 10L)
Hot tip: If you’re at the bottom end of these rankings, winning by 83 will help you move up. Well, that and the fact Freo actually have a bit of a gap between them and the bottom sides, despite what the ladder has been saying.
-3 // Ladder: 11th (6W, 6L)
Air had to be let out of the bubble eventually, didn’t it? The Blues will take lots of confidence from the first half of the season and the loss to St Kilda shouldn’t detract from that.
+1 // Ladder: 13th (5W, 7L)
Gold Coast were in the game relatively late, but the Tigers won it when it was there to be won. This week it’s time for a much-needed bye. Let’s just say it’s hard to see a second half to the year as miraculous as the last couple of years.
-2 // Ladder: 14th (4W, 8L)
The Pies have had their moments when it has clicked, but their form has tended to revert back to what we’ve seen in the last fortnight. The tall stocks were again an issue against Melbourne.
No change // Ladder: 15th (3W, 9L)
Speaking of much-needed byes, a week of rest awaits the Suns. There were some handy ins before the Richmond game, but supporters will be hoping for more on the other side of the break.
No change // Ladder: 17th (1W, 11L)
Losing by such a margin to Fremantle at home has rightly raised eyebrows. Six rounds have been played since the Lions last got within five goals of another AFL team.
No change // Ladder: 18th (1W, 11L)
Just checked — there are no more Friday night games for the Bombers this season. (Though there is a Thursday night game coming up in three weeks. Clear your social calendars accordingly.)