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Your AFL team’s run home: Part 1

mastermind5991 Roar Guru

By mastermind5991, mastermind5991 is a Roar Guru

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32 Have your say

    Just seven rounds remain in what could go down as the craziest season yet.

    This week I am resting my weekly round previews to provide an analysis of your team’s run to September.

    As always, there will be two parts. Part one will look at the teams currently in the eight, while part two will focus on the teams still in finals contention as well as the battle to avoid the wooden spoon.

    Adelaide Crows (currently first, 11 wins, four losses, 139%, 44 points)
    Matches to play: Melbourne (TIO Stadium), Geelong Cats (Adelaide Oval), Collingwood (MCG), Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval), Essendon (Etihad Stadium), Sydney Swans (Adelaide Oval), West Coast Eagles (Domain Stadium)

    A crucial month looms for ladder leaders the Adelaide Crows, with all but one of their seven remaining matches coming against sides still in finals contention.

    This weekend the Crows travel up to Darwin to face a Melbourne side which is closing in on its first finals appearance since 2006.

    That is then followed by a potential grand final preview when they host the Geelong Cats in what is expected to be another sellout at home.

    They then make two trips to Melbourne on either side of a home Showdown, before finishing their regular season at home to the Sydney Swans followed by the trip west to face the West Coast Eagles.

    At the rate in which the Crows are performing all year, it’ll be hard seeing them drop another game between now and the end of the season.

    The only genuine challenges they should expect are those from the Geelong Cats, whom the Crows haven’t beaten since 2013, the Sydney Swans, who have emerged as the form team of the past ten weeks, and the West Coast Eagles, who despite their patchy recent form are tough to beat at home.

    The upside for Don Pyke’s men are that the matches against the Cats and Swans are both at home, which should boost their chances of securing the minor premiership and two all-important home finals.

    It would also ease their path to a third premiership, which would be a long-awaited one for their fans who haven’t experienced such glory since 1998.

    Predicted finish: first (17 wins, five losses)

    GWS Giants (currently second, ten wins, three losses, two draws, 117.8%, 44 points)
    Matches to play: Sydney Swans (Spotless Stadium), Richmond (MCG), Fremantle (Spotless Stadium), Melbourne (UNSW Canberra Oval), Western Bulldogs (Etihad Stadium), West Coast Eagles (Spotless Stadium), Geelong Cats (Simonds Stadium)

    Talk about playing to the edge.

    Close matches have become the theme of the GWS Giants’ 2017 season, the club winning four of five matches that have been decided by less than ten points, as well as drawing their last two matches in succession.

    Their draw against Hawthorn in Launceston last week not only cost them top spot on the ladder, but also saw them become the first team since Carlton in 1921 to draw two consecutive matches.

    This Saturday night they face the form team of the past ten weeks, the Sydney Swans, in what looms as yet another massive Sydney Derby at Spotless Stadium.

    That is followed by their only appearance at the MCG this season when they face Richmond, who will be keen to atone for their heartbreaking three-point loss the last time these two sides met.

    After that, they play Fremantle at home, followed by Melbourne in Canberra, the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium and the West Coast Eagles back at home before they head down to Geelong in Round 23 to face the Cats.

    It is possible that the rematch against the Cats at Simonds Stadium could potentially decide who hosts their qualifying final clash, should it come to shape, in the first week of the finals.

    The two sides fought out a thrilling draw back in Round 15 and with the Giants enduring another draw last week, percentage will not matter anymore if the gap between the two sides is half a game come the end of Round 22.

    Predicted finish: third (15 wins, five losses, two draws)

    Geelong Cats (currently third, ten wins, four losses, one draw, 119%, 42 points)
    Matches to play: Hawthorn (MCG), Adelaide Crows (Adelaide Oval), Carlton (Etihad Stadium), Sydney Swans (Simonds Stadium), Richmond (Simonds Stadium), Collingwood (MCG), GWS Giants (Simonds Stadium)

    Like the Adelaide Crows, the Geelong Cats are in for a crucial run home as they look to secure the double chance for the ninth time in eleven years.

    They’ll certainly be relishing Saturday afternoon’s clash against Hawthorn at the MCG, following a fortnight away from home which saw them bank six out of a possible eight premiership points.

    But the biggest test will come in Round 18 when they travel to the Oval to face the ladder-leading Adelaide Crows in what looms as a potential grand final preview.

    Patrick Dangerfield Joel Selwood Geelong Cats AFL 2016 tall

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    If ladder positions hold, then the Cats could travel to the City of Churches with the chance to take top spot on the ladder with five rounds of the season to go after that.

    After their final interstate trip for the season, they will then face Carlton, the Sydney Swans, Richmond and Collingwood before a potential second-place decider against the GWS Giants at home in Round 23.

    Such is the hype around that final clash, which could double as the final time former favourite son Steve Johnson plays in Geelong, that many have called for it to be played on the Monday night.

    It could decide who finishes second and hosts a potential qualifying final two weeks later. For the Cats, that could mean back-to-back meetings against the Giants in their own backyard.

    But of course, the Cats would need to be within half a game of the Giants in either second or third place on the ladder come the end of Round 22 for that potential second-place play-off to eventuate.

    Predicted finish: second (16 wins, five losses, one draw)

    Port Adelaide (currently fourth, nine wins, six losses, 132%, 36 points)
    Matches to play: North Melbourne (Adelaide Oval), Melbourne (MCG), St Kilda (Adelaide Oval), Adelaide Crows (Adelaide Oval), Collingwood (Adelaide Oval), Western Bulldogs (Mars Stadium, Ballarat), Gold Coast Suns (Adelaide Oval)

    Port Adelaide couldn’t have possibly asked for a dream run into September.

    Five of their last seven games are at home, including a stretch of three straight games at the Oval, and they only have to face one higher-ranked team in that stretch (cross-town rivals the Adelaide Crows).

    However, they do have to trek to the MCG one last time to face fifth-placed Melbourne, while they will also take on the Western Bulldogs in the first premiership match to be played in Ballarat.

    Ken Hinkley’s men leapt into the top four following their impressive 32-point win over the West Coast Eagles in Perth, and will start favourites against struggling North Melbourne at the Oval this Saturday afternoon.

    They will receive a sterner test as to where their finals hopes lay against Melbourne the following round, after which they face St Kilda, the Crows, Collingwood and the Bulldogs before finishing against the Suns at home.

    The match against the Dees next week could ultimately decide where the Power finish at season’s end; in their favour is the fact that they have a superior percentage (132% to 110.8%).

    With cross-town rivals the Adelaide Crows likely to claim the minor premiership, wherever the Power finish out of fourth or fifth will not matter, but what will matter though is what privileges they get in September.

    Predicted finish: fifth (13 wins, nine losses)

    Melbourne (currently fifth, nine wins, six losses, 110.8%, 36 points)
    Matches to play: Adelaide Crows (TIO Stadium), Port Adelaide (MCG), North Melbourne (Blundstone Arena), GWS Giants (UNSW Canberra Oval), St Kilda (MCG), Brisbane Lions (MCG), Collingwood (MCG)

    What a perfect time in the season to be a Melbourne fan.

    The Dees are closing in on its long-awaited first finals appearance since 2006, which if achieved will be well deserved given what the club has endured over the past decade.

    Since Neale Daniher last took the club to September 11 years ago, the club has been turned over significantly from the top down, to the point where Nathan Jones remains their only survivor from their most recent final.

    It is exciting times ahead for the club that was once self-branded “an impediment to the industry”.

    But before all that can happen, the Dees face a tough run home, starting with this Saturday night’s trip to Darwin where they will host the top-placed Adelaide Crows.

    That is then followed by matches against Port Adelaide, North Melbourne, the GWS Giants, St Kilda, the Brisbane Lions and Collingwood, with the final three matches at the MCG set to provide the club the perfect finals lead-in.

    Jesse Hogan Melbourne Demons AFL 2016 tall

    (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

    Their showdown against the Power at the MCG next week could ultimately decide where the Dees finish on the ladder. If the club continues on their good form all year, they may achieve their best ladder finish since 2004, when they finished fifth before bowing out to Essendon in an elimination final that year.

    Not helping their cause is a lengthening injury list which includes both their co-captains, Nathan Jones and Jack Viney, while Tomas Bugg is unlikely to play again in 2017 given he is not guaranteed to return once his six-match suspension for striking Sydney’s Callum Mills expires in Round 22.

    It will now remain to be seen how the Dees attack the final seven rounds of the season.

    Richmond (currently sixth, nine wins, six losses, 105.3%, 36 points)
    Matches to play: Brisbane Lions (Etihad Stadium), GWS Giants (MCG), Gold Coast Suns (Metricon Stadium), Hawthorn (MCG), Geelong Cats (Simonds Stadium), Fremantle (Domain Stadium), St Kilda (MCG)

    According to coach Damien Hardwick, “it was good to get a reality check”.

    That’s exactly what happened last week when Richmond were blasted off the park by St Kilda in the annual Maddie’s Match at Etihad Stadium last Saturday night.

    While their percentage took a significant hit after that heavy defeat, they still remain in sixth position and still in prime position to contest its fourth finals series in five years.

    But that defeat, along with many other close defeats, is proof that they still need to bridge the gap between their best and worst football.

    This Sunday’s clash against the Brisbane Lions at Etihad Stadium will provide the club the perfect opportunity to bounce back before they face the GWS Giants at the MCG the following week.

    They also have to make road trips to the Gold Coast and Perth to face the Suns and Fremantle in rounds 19 and 22 respectively, on either side of a pair of matches against Hawthorn and the Geelong Cats.

    All that then leads up to a rematch against the Saints in the final round, this time at the MCG, in a clash which could determine where the Tigers finish on the ladder.

    In the end, the complexity of the Tigers’ final seven matches, as well as their narrow defeats that have shaped their season, will eventually cost them their berth in September.

    Predicted finish: 10th (11 wins, 11 losses)

    Dustin Martin Richmond Tigers AFL 2017

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    St Kilda (currently seventh, nine wins, six losses, 104%, 36 points)
    Matches to play: Essendon (Etihad Stadium), Sydney Swans (SCG), Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval), West Coast Eagles (Etihad Stadium), Melbourne (MCG), North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium), Richmond (MCG)

    Not only did last Saturday night’s huge win over Richmond boost St Kilda’s percentage, it also boosted their chances of playing finals for the first time since 2011.

    Currently sitting in seventh place on the ladder, the Saints have the chance to further consolidate their place in the eight when they host Essendon at Etihad Stadium this Friday night.

    After that, though, they will be on the road for two consecutive weeks, first facing the resurgent Sydney Swans at the SCG followed by a second trip to the City of Churches to face Port Adelaide at the Oval.

    Alan Richardson’s men won’t have to travel after that, with their final four matches being split evenly across Etihad Stadium and the MCG.

    Though they have to face the West Coast Eagles, a side they haven’t beaten since mid-2011, the Saints will fancy their chances given that it is their home game, plus the fact that the Eagles have been modest on the road this year.

    It would take only a lapse in form for them to miss out on a berth in September.

    Predicted finish: sixth (13 wins, nine losses)

    Sydney Swans (currently eighth, eight wins, seven losses, 113.3%, 32 points)
    Matches to play: GWS Giants (Spotless Stadium), St Kilda (SCG), Hawthorn (MCG), Geelong Cats (Simonds Stadium), Fremantle (SCG), Adelaide Crows (Adelaide Oval), Carlton (SCG)

    Who would’ve thought that the Sydney Swans would be in the position they are now after such a poor start to the season?

    After being upset by Carlton at the MCG in Round 6, the Swans’ season appeared dead and buried, last on the ladder for the first time since 1999 after enduring its worst start to a season since 1993.

    But somehow, the Swans have turned things around to the point where, following their 67-point thrashing of the Gold Coast Suns last Saturday night (as well as other results going their way), they find themselves in the eight for the first time this season.

    The Swans’ impressive form over the past ten weeks (eight wins from their past nine matches) sets them up well for revenge when they face the GWS Giants in what looms as a massive Sydney Derby this Saturday night.

    John Longmire’s men will have every reason to be confident it can win, given their opponents this weekend are coming off some patchy form, including losing to Carlton by one point and drawing two consecutive matches.

    They’ll also start favourites in each of their remaining home matches, though the first cab off the rank is seventh-placed St Kilda, whom they could meet in the finals if my predictions are anything to go by.

    They also have to contend with back-to-back trips to Victoria, for a second time this season, as well as the always-tough trip to Adelaide to face the ladder-leading Crows on a Friday night in Round 22.

    It could then come down to Round 23, where all the Swans may need to do is beat Carlton at home to ensure their place in September, or risk taking their earliest post-season mortem since 2009.

    Despite some tough road trips, I have the Swans finishing in the eight.

    Predicted finish: seventh (12 wins, ten losses)

    If my predictions hold, then this would be the fixture for the first week of the finals:

    Qualifying finals
    Adelaide Crows versus Melbourne, Adelaide Oval, Thursday September 7 at 7:20pm
    Geelong Cats versus GWS Giants, Simonds Stadium, Saturday September 9 at 3:20pm

    Elimination finals
    Port Adelaide versus West Coast Eagles, Adelaide Oval, Saturday September 9 at 7:20pm
    St Kilda versus Sydney Swans, MCG, Friday, September 8 at 7:50pm

    Part II will look at the sides currently outside the eight.

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    The Crowd Says (32)

    • July 12th 2017 @ 5:32am
      Roger of Sydney said | July 12th 2017 @ 5:32am | ! Report

      Gee I hope your right about Swans v St Kilda, Swans in a dash. Crows would beat Melbourne, Cats over GWS which I would not have said in the beginning of the season and Port West Coast , sadly probably Port. An interesting season

      • July 12th 2017 @ 7:26am
        Hyena said | July 12th 2017 @ 7:26am | ! Report

        Correct me if I’m wrong but for Swans to win the Grand final they would need to beat:

        St Kilda, then
        Melbourne, then
        Geelong, then

        Tough but doable….

      • July 12th 2017 @ 11:35am
        Pelican said | July 12th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

        Port v West Coast was last week and yes happily Port won.

    • July 12th 2017 @ 6:32am
      dylillama said | July 12th 2017 @ 6:32am | ! Report

      Is this a joke?

    • Roar Guru

      July 12th 2017 @ 9:18am
      JamesH said | July 12th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

      Lol. Predicting that the Tigers will only win two more games is about as silly as predicting that they will win all of them. They were appalling against the Saints but there is no reason to think that it was anything more than an aberration. With the exception of their thumping by a then red hot Adelaide back in round 6, they have been in a position to win every other match they have played.

      Could they fall apart? Sure. Will they? Unlikely. Only three of the sides they play are in finals contention. They’ll start favourites against Brisbane, GC, Hawthorn, Freo (they have a solid record at Subi) and potentially St Kilda, depending on how the Saints are travelling at that point. I wouldn’t put it past them to beat GWS or Geelong, either.

      Not a Tiges fan, BTW. I just think you are massively underselling what they have done this year based on one poor game.

      • Roar Guru

        July 12th 2017 @ 11:54am
        Cat said | July 12th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

        Tigers are 1-19 in their last 20 against the Cats and winless in their last 13. Just sayin’

        • Roar Guru

          July 12th 2017 @ 3:04pm
          JamesH said | July 12th 2017 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

          I know. I don’t actually think that they WILL beat the Cats, I’m just not prepared to write them off. Particularly not this year. 😉

        • July 12th 2017 @ 5:13pm
          Peter the Scribe said | July 12th 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

          Sydney had lost 11 in a row to the Pies heading into the prelim final in 2012 and beat us pretty easily. Finals are a different story Cat….do I detect the fear of straight sets in your meow?

          • Roar Guru

            July 12th 2017 @ 5:17pm
            Cat said | July 12th 2017 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

            I’d still rather play two finals and lose both of them than have a mad Monday for the 5th straight year immediately after the H&A season ends like your rabble.

        • July 13th 2017 @ 9:38am
          sammy said | July 13th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

          cmon mean the crows are 1-19 against the cats coz it damn well feels like it

          • Roar Guru

            July 13th 2017 @ 9:48am
            Cat said | July 13th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

            5-15 and 0 for last 5. Slightly better than the Tigers.

            • July 13th 2017 @ 11:53am
              sammy said | July 13th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

              the next fortnight will be massive for the crows. If they can get over Melbourne and Sydney can get a win v GWS, then the crows Geelong game is massive as a win for the crows would then put them effectively 2 wins clear on top of the ladder. It would go a long way towards sealing a top 2 spot. A loss to Geelong though would probably mean the crows would need to win their remaining games to get that top 2 spot

              • Roar Guru

                July 13th 2017 @ 12:04pm
                Cat said | July 13th 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                That game is going to be massive, wish I could be there.

      • July 12th 2017 @ 12:06pm
        Shane said | July 12th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

        The best team Richmond have beaten is Port Adelaide or Melbourne, and none of the three clubs are in the same league as GWS, Adelaide and Geelong. Saints game last week was a fair summary of where Richmond actually sit – somewhere in the mix of 8 teams vying for the last 5 spots in the finals.

        I think you are just caught up on the Richmond hype train – it is conceivable they only win two more games – Saints and Freo have beaten them this year, Hawthorn are playing with renewed vigour, and they will not start favourites against GWS or Geelong. That, very reasonably, leaves only two bankable wins in GCS and Brisbane.

        • Roar Guru

          July 12th 2017 @ 3:01pm
          JamesH said | July 12th 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

          I feel weird defending a team I don’t like, but here goes.

          Richmond should have beaten GWS (at Spotless) and Sydney, so as far as I’m concerned they can mix it with the best teams. And beating Port (in Adelaide) and Melbourne is hardly anything to scoff at.

          The Saints game was a fair summary, was it? They why is it a clear outlier in terms of their form all year? Frankly, that’s a pretty bizarre comment that is totally unsupported by any actual evidence.

          Also, there is no Richmond hype train. Even most of their supporters seem wary, despite the fact they have every reason to be up and about this year. Decades of mediocrity and disappointment will do that to supporters. There are no bankable wins, either.

          It kinda feels like you didn’t actually read my comment. I never said it was inconceivable that the Tigers would only win two more games. Pretty much everything this season is conceivable. What I am saying is that tipping them to only win two more games, when they have been highly competitive (last-minute chokes aside) in all but two matches this year and currently sit 9-6, is not particularly sensible.

          • July 13th 2017 @ 9:20pm
            Philby said | July 13th 2017 @ 9:20pm | ! Report

            Well, I am a Tigers fan and I find it interesting how close finishes seem to be invariably put down to good play, rather than also relying on a good dose of old fashioned luck.

            I say that with reference to the Cats, who have been very lucky in their close finishes this year – North freezing in round two to lose by 2 points, Freo’s Walters missing a sitter with seconds to go, or GWS’ Patton being taken from the ground in the final moments, when the game was up for grabs and he was on fire.

            Even Dangerfield’s last minute winner against Port had an element of luck – with his kick managing to avoid smothering arms as it went goalwards (compare that to Richmond’s Bolton’s ‘winner’ and its marginal ‘touched’ decision).

            Point is, the Cats could easily be 3 or even 4 wins fewer at this point (or just 6.5 wins) and we’d be talking about them in completely different terms.

            The one thing we seem to all agree about is that it’s that kind of season. I don’t think the prediction of Tigers’ finishing 10th will happen, and for the reasons given, I could see the Cats fall a few spots by the season’s end.

            • Roar Guru

              July 13th 2017 @ 9:42pm
              Cat said | July 13th 2017 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

              If you look at the Cats record in close games over the last several years they have consistently won more close games than they lose. The opposite for north. Sure there’s some luck in it but teams also make their own luck. Gotta be good enough to be that close at the end up the game to even have a chance to be ‘lucky’

              • July 13th 2017 @ 11:18pm
                Philby said | July 13th 2017 @ 11:18pm | ! Report

                I take the point, but not sure that the win/loss record this year reflects the quality of the team.

              • July 14th 2017 @ 7:28pm
                Philby said | July 14th 2017 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

                I stick with the examples I gave above too – wins due mostly to mistakes of opponents rather than actual good play in the closing moments.

    • July 12th 2017 @ 11:58am
      Pelican said | July 12th 2017 @ 11:58am | ! Report

      Melbourne 4th and Richmond not in the eight. Sounds like a wish list not actual predictions.

      • Roar Guru

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

        Surely Tigers can’t slide to ninth from here.

    • Roar Guru

      July 12th 2017 @ 2:53pm
      DingoGray said | July 12th 2017 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

      One really bad half of footy from the Tigers and you’ve got them plummeting out of the 8 completely.

      Not going to happen. They finished 5 or 6 and probably lose in the 1st week of the finals……

    • July 12th 2017 @ 4:15pm
      kev said | July 12th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

      ‘At the rate in which the Crows are performing all year, it’ll be hard seeing them drop another game between now and the end of the season.’ ??

      Other than the second half of last week, the Crows have been a shadow of themselves since round 7. That’s not to say they don’t have the potential. But they still have to play two teams they have lost to this season, Port in a showdown and WC away. I’d be surprised if they don’t drop a game or two along the way, leaving the minor premiership up for grabs.

      But that’s what’s great, and infuriating, about this season.

      • July 12th 2017 @ 5:17pm
        Peter the Scribe said | July 12th 2017 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

        Kev…hard to see Adelaide losing a prelim final to anyone except Port should that be the match up? I for one, would love an Adelaide v Port Adelaide grand final…what a cracker that could be…

        • July 13th 2017 @ 9:40am
          sammy said | July 13th 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

          its not port in the finals that worries is geelong. as long as they can be avoided then the crows have a great chance

          • Roar Guru

            July 13th 2017 @ 9:51am
            Cat said | July 13th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

            Funny how we all have sides we hope someone else takes out first. I was happier when it looked like Sydney had no chance of finals, they are the side I’d least feel comfortable playing.

            • July 13th 2017 @ 11:50am
              sammy said | July 13th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

              don’t take this the wrong way cat, but I would love geelong to go on a big losing streak from here so that they are nowhere near the crows come end of season..I just have a bad feeling that they would be the team to put a premiership out of our reach…

              • Roar Guru

                July 13th 2017 @ 11:59am
                Cat said | July 13th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

                I understand where you are coming from, so no offense taken.

                I really don’t want to have to find a way to beat Sydney in finals. Cats just match up/play very poorly against them.

      • Roar Guru

        July 12th 2017 @ 6:39pm
        Cat said | July 12th 2017 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

        … still have to play two teams they have lost to this season, Port in a showdown and WC away.

        Make that three teams, they play Geelong again in two weeks.

        • July 13th 2017 @ 8:51pm
          Greg said | July 13th 2017 @ 8:51pm | ! Report

          Crows beat port and have yet to play West Coast this year. That said, the Crows do play 2 sides they’ve lost to: Melbourne and Geelong.

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