Adelaide’s victory over Melbourne wasn’t the most impressive of their six-game win streak. Indeed, you could argue it was the least impressive.
But with six straight wins by 22 points or more, few are willing to dismiss their form or describe it as a fluke.
Taylor Walker, who was below his normal output in the opening eight rounds, has been winning more footy and kicking more goals in the matches since.
Rory Sloane is earning further praise for his toughness and hasn’t dipped below 10 contested possessions in a game since round 6.
Rory Laird hasn’t dipped below 20 disposals all season and a look at the games he missed hints at his importance – he’s played in only two of the Crows’ losses and those games had a combined margin of 13 points.
Dig around and it’s hard to really fault their recent run. It’s got enough staying power that a double chance and home final isn’t out of the question.
The Crows are in fifth place now, but they are one of six teams on 40 points trailing a percentage-weak top side on 44 points.
Home finals are seemingly there for whoever is ready to take them. The Crows are playing like a team prepared to do just that.
No change // Ladder: 5th (10W, 4L)
Melbourne had the half time lead and there was nine points in it at the final change, but the Crows got on top in what would have been an emotional week. Carlton at the MCG are the next challenger into the ring.
No change // Ladder: 3rd (10W, 4L)
Week off done, now it’s on to Collingwood at Spotless Stadium. The Giants are another side that must surely be considered right in the top two race, if for no other reason than their draw.
No change // Ladder: 2nd (10W, 4L)
Another to have the week off. They’ll host a Sydney Swans side on the rebound on Friday night. Their record against top teams isn’t the record that’s being debated, but this will be an intriguing battle all the same.
+3 // Ladder: 6th (10W, 4L)
Registering a thrilling win interstate against the Swans shows there’s still bite in these Dogs yet. The scoreline had a poetic touch: after kicking 5.13 against Geelong prior to the bye, it was their 13.5 in Sydney that won them the game (the Swans were 11.13.) Marcus Bontempelli is having some season for a bloke that just ticked over 50 games.
No change // Ladder: 4th (10W, 4L)
Buddy Franklin is also having some season. Leads the Coleman race with 52 goals, but it’s the consistency of his performances that is really impressive. You can set your watch to him kicking two-plus goals.
-2 // Ladder: 8th (9W, 5L)
Where West Coast have been placing had been bothering me for a few weeks and going through the comments, it had clearly been a bother for readers as well. I investigated. Basically, it seemed like there was one game in particular that was having an outsize effect on the Eagles’ ranking, the big win over St Kilda. This week I made the decision to adjust for matches such as this so that they continue to boost a team’s ranking, but not to the extent they did in the Eagles’ case, hence why the Eagles have a -2. While it’s not ideal to have to make an adjustment, hopefully this eases a few concerns out there. As for the weekend, took care of Essendon as expected and now it’s on to a fellow top eight side, North Melbourne. That one should be interesting.
-1 // Ladder: 1st (11W, 3L)
The Hawks didn’t play at the weekend, but got the Western Bulldogs made the overtake here for the -1. Hawthorn did succeed in holding on to top spot on the ladder though, an impressive feat after 14 games. A trip to face Port Adelaide this week looms on Thursday night.
+2 // Ladder: 9th (7W, 7L)
I’m as confused as anyone when it comes to Port but I still feel there’s something there if they can just get going. Maybe we’ll see that against the Hawks. In the meantime, they avoided another shock loss by taking care of Richmond.
-1 // Ladder: 7th (10W, 4L)
The weeks leading into the bye didn’t bring the best results, but it will be interesting to see how the Kangas come out after having a week off. A trip to face West Coast is going to be good test for both teams involved.
+1 // Ladder: 10th (6W, 8L)
The Dees competed with Adelaide, which is hard to do at the moment. Paul Roos was left to rue that the intensity wasn’t maintained for the full four quarters.
+1 // Ladder: 11th (6W, 8L)
It was hard to pick, the Collingwood-Carlton game. Ultimately, it was the Pies who had their noses in front. Decent outing for Scott Pendlebury, who surged to 22 disposals by half time and also finished with eight clearances and a goal.
-3 // Ladder: 13th (6W, 8L)
From the highs to the lows … what a contrast in the space of a week for the Saints. The loss to Gold Coast also reinforced the idea that this team can’t win interstate. This team has tall targets, so to win the inside 50s yet have nine fewer marks inside 50s begs some questioning.
No change // Ladder: 14th (6W, 8L)
Not the dream debut for SOSOS, Jack Silvagni, though 15 touches and six marks should get some nerves out the way. It will be good to get a look at some more Blues debutants in the latter part of the season.
+2 // Ladder: 15th (4W, 10L)
They’re making a move. There’s still a two-game gap between the Suns and the sides 10th to 14th on the ladder, but it’s fair to say this much: the Gold Coast team of even a month ago would not have gotten within 26 points of Hawthorn, let alone beaten St Kilda by 40. Pleasing to see Michael Rischitelli and Nick Malceski step up for their best games of the season.
No change // Ladder: 12th (6W, 8L)
Dropped off after leading at quarter tim against Port Adelaide. Quiet night for Trent Cotchin but three players got 30-plus touches (Brandon Ellis, Dustin Martin and Brett Deledio).
-2 // Ladder: 16th (3W, 11L)
Freo head to Darwin this week to face Melbourne. Interesting to see which version of the Dockers we see. As for the -2, obviously Gold Coast made a deserved move up with a strong win and the gap between Richmond and Freo was slender enough last week to be overturned even without the Tigers getting super-close to Port.
No change // Ladder: 17th (1W, 13L)
The bottom two keep trading places, this time after a sizeable Essendon loss. It could easily flip back if the Q-Clash turns ugly for the Lions.
No change // Ladder: 18th (1W, 13L)
Both Brisbane and Essendon have led for 13 per cent of game time this season. The next closes, Fremantle, has led for more than double that at 32 per cent.