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AFL Power Rankings: Round 14

The Saints take on the Giants. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)
Expert
26th June, 2016
101
2100 Reads

St Kilda’s record going into the bye was just a little too cute. Against the bottom nine they hadn’t lost. Against the top nine they hadn’t won.

What better way to break a pattern than by going right to the top.

A thrilling win over Geelong gives them their first big-time scalp of the season, and a much-needed one at that, given margins against top opposition this season had ballooned into the 80+ and 100+ zones.

There were plenty of positives to go with the outcome. Seb Ross hurt Patrick Dangerfield the other way with 33 disposals. Jack Steven was superb when it counted.

They won the clearance count and were on top of the inside 50s most of the game – and then soaked up the pressure when that changed late.

It was a good win, but it’s also worth noting that when it comes to Geelong, we’ve been here before.

For all Saturday night did to break one team’s trend, it reinforced an odd trend of the other – the Cats seem to play to their opposition, excessively so when it’s an opponent outside the eight.

The challenge for St Kilda is to prove they weren’t just as much in the right place at the right time as Collingwood and Carlton.

The challenge for Geelong is to figure out why this is happening.

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1.Adelaide

+1 // Ladder: 6th (9W, 4L)
The win over North Melbourne could’ve been more emphatic given the Crows scored the most behinds in a game since the Brisbane Bears in round 11, 1995. But let’s give credit, that’s now three wins over top eight sides in their last four matches. The other game in between was an 88-point demolition of the Saints. This team is flying.

2.GWS Giants

+1 // Ladder: 4th (10W, 4L)
Speaking of flying, the Giants can’t do much wrong either. Against Carlton, the trio of Dylan Shiel, Callan Ward and Stephen Coniglio had 98 disposals, 23 clearances, eight rebound 50s, 14 inside 50s and three goals between them. Damaging all over. And how about Zac Williams gaining 732 metres at 92 per cent efficiency?

3.Geelong

-2 // Ladder: 3rd (10W, 4L)
On the bright side for Cats fans, you won’t play any teams outside the eight in finals. So that’s something.

4.West Coast

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+1 // Ladder: 8th (8W, 5L)
Week off out of the way, it’s a home game against Essendon coming up this Thursday.

5.Sydney Swans

+1 // Ladder: 2nd (10W, 3L)
Swans are back in action with a Saturday twilight blockbuster against the Western Bulldogs at the SCG.

6.Hawthorn

-2 // Ladder: 1st (11W, 3L)
The Hawks may have moved to the top of the ladder, but they’ve slipped here due to their shaky start against lowly Gold Coast. Hawthorn have the second-lowest percentage of the top eight sides, which is a tad concerning.

7.Western Bulldogs

No change // Ladder: 7th (9W, 4L)
Bring on the Swans. Should be a good game. And you just have to love that we’ve got these type of fixtures every single week this season.

8.North Melbourne

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No change // Ladder: 5th (10W, 4L)
The last three weeks were a test of where North were at and while in-game injuries muddied the waters somewhat, we’ve probably got a better read on them. The Roos can compete with the best and are very much a threat, but we shouldn’t pretend there aren’t seven other teams you can describe in a very similar way.

9.St Kilda

+2 // Ladder: 12th (6W, 7L)
Now that’s done, let’s move on to this trend: it’s been over a year since St Kilda have won interstate. Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium is their chance to change that.

10.Port Adelaide

No change // Ladder: 9th (6W, 7L)
Are the Power ready to get serious? Then they absolutely have to beat Richmond at home on Friday night.

11.Melbourne

+1 // Ladder: 10th (6W, 7L)
Host the red-hot Adelaide at the MCG on Sunday. Will need to bring their A-game.

12.Collingwood

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+3 // Ladder: 14th (5W, 8L)
Full credit to the Herald Sun for illustrating the historical significance of Friday’s low supporter turnout against Fremantle. The last time Collingwood played in such a small crowd at the MCG, “Australia was at war with Germany, but Japan was still 19 months short of bombing Pearl Harbour.” Bleak times for Pie fans, it would seem.

13.Carlton

No change // Ladder: 13th (6W, 7L)
Bryce Gibbs had 29 disposals in his 200th game, but the Blues faced one of the toughest assignments in footy travelling to Spotless to play GWS. Arch rivals Collingwood at the ‘G will be a more comfortable environment.

14.Fremantle

-5 // Ladder: 15th (3W, 11L)
The Dockers were off from the opening bounce against Collingwood. To have one goal at half time was quite the contrast on the previous three weeks. Any air in that bubble didn’t survive the flight over.

15.Richmond

-1 // Ladder: 11th (6W, 7L)
His coach wasn’t as impressed as everyone else, but Dustin Martin was the standout in the Tigers’ win over Brisbane. He’s averaging 2.5 more disposals a game this season and 2.4 of those are on target, going by the increase in his effective disposal numbers. Surprisingly, this team has won five of its last six, but it’s hard to read too much into that given who four of those wins were against.

16.Gold Coast

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No change // Ladder: 16th (3W, 10L)
Led at quarter time and half time (just) against the reigning premiers. A good first post-bye step. Oh, and Gary Ablett had his first 40-disposal game in two years (well, 729 days, but no one’s counting, right?).

17.Essendon

No change // Ladder: 18th (1W, 12L)
Back in action on Thursday night but it’s a difficult ask: West Coast at Domain Stadium.

18.Brisbane Lions

No change // Ladder: 17th (1W, 13L)
For a while there, it did seem Justin Leppitsch’s post-game press conference a fortnight ago bought some clear air around the Lions. But it’s difficult to see that being sustained if the underwhelming performances continue. Somehow, there were 10 players who didn’t get above 10 touches against Richmond. Bright spot was the three-goal haul of second gamer Eric Hipwood.