I’m writing part of this week’s rankings on a crowded train leaving Optus Stadium after witnessing a great game, so it’s been a good weekend in Western Australia for me.
And also for fans of the Western Australia teams. Enjoy the rankings.
(1) Geelong (last week: 1)
Yikes. For all the talk they would dominate the Suns, it was instead them suddenly on the back foot for much of the clash. Got the win, but let’s talk the elephant in the room: Ablett’s apparent wish to be suspended. Nothing short of a farce if he isn’t after the latest incident.
(2) Collingwood (last week: 2)
History dictated the Pies’ trip to Sydney would be close, and history was right. Did enough when it mattered, and the Pies remain up the top.
(3) GWS Giants (last week: 3)
The Giants’ blistering opening three terms personally surprised me, but perhaps shouldn’t have been a surprise. Despite the continuous talk about how they couldn’t win at the ‘G, the Giants did enough to come through.
(4) West Coast (last week: 4)
Damn, the West Australian sides sure know how to provide plenty of heart attacks. The Eagles didn’t waver when faced with a substantial deficit in front of a vocal South Australian crowd, and forged ahead. It’s the sort of win that makes most step back and take notice.
It sounds dumb saying that about the reigning premiers, but it’s their most impressive win thus far this season.
(5) Richmond (last week: 7)
I mentioned in last week’s column that Essendon should’ve been nervous. I didn’t expect a Richmond win of this magnitude. The final scoreline didn’t evidence that, but the Tigers destroyed the Dons in a big display.
(6) Brisbane (last week: 5)
From ecstasy to agony in a week. Yikes. Lachie Neale’s return game was looking excellent – all credit to them, really – but oh my, that last quarter would be brutally disappointing. It’s a reminder to not get complacent; even against an inaccurate Fremantle.
(7) Adelaide (last week: 6)
Not the only side to capitulate a game against a West Australian side late. But oh my, the Crows’ capitulation was a horror-show. They never should have lost that game, and it’s an indictment on the fact that Adelaide is a fairly inconsistent side, despite the facade of being a strong one.
(8) Hawthorn (last week: 8)
Good win, good day for Gunston (six goals!) and they’re now in a good position on the ladder (equal-seventh). Their season has a pulse.
(9) Port Adelaide (last week: 8)
Don’t ask me why I tipped them. They’ve had a rough few weeks, and like Port Adelaide usually does, they’re sparking a lot of debate about whether they’re a genuine finals contender or not. The Saints in China next week.
(10) Fremantle (last week: 13)
I just wanna say that halfway through Sunday’s clash, I turned to the boisterous young man next to me – who was continually rooting for the ball to be given Walters – and joked that Walters would probably boot a goal near the end to clinch the win.
I’m not saying I’m Nostradamus or anything, but I wasn’t too far off the mark. In all seriousness, Freo still have a dozen deficits to improve on, but a win is a win.
(11) St Kilda (last week: 12)
This was a win they absolutely needed to get, and they got it. Not without some nervy moments and old foes – inaccuracy is a problem – but being realistic, it’s a good win that proves zilch. The Saints still struggle against the best in the competition, and that’s still their key problem.
(12) Western Bulldogs (last week: 10)
Not the best day in the office. Tough clash next weekend against the premiers in Perth, but the Dogs are another of the inconsistent sides this year. Finals possible, but in my eyes pretty unlikely.
(13) Essendon (last week: 11)
Dreamtime at the ‘G very quickly turned into a nightmare, as Essendon’s deficiencies came to light in wet conditions. Inaccuracy mixed with the Tigers’ strong forward line to tear the Bombers apart.
(14) North Melbourne (last week: 17)
Lost a coach, but won the game. I still find it humorous that Saturday’s strong win against the Bulldogs became a referendum, of sorts, on Scott’s coaching record: it puts him one ahead on the win-loss ledger.
North’s next clash, against the Tigers, is a tough beginning to a new era: a win would be perfect.
(15) Gold Coast (last week: 14)
Fifteen feels tough given the Suns’ genuinely impressive effort. It was fantastic seeing the game within their grasp for the bulk of the clash, but it was almost inevitable that the Cats would pull away towards the end. A big learning curve, and one that the Suns will welcome.
(16) Sydney Swans (last week: 16)
Sydney made it close, which is good, but couldn’t close it out, which is bad. Tough trip to Geelong coming. But am I insane if I smell a potential upset coming?
(17) Melbourne (last week: 15)
Seven goals in the final quarter will probably cover up a lot of the glaring failures through the ground, as the Demons put in a horrendous performance against an opponent who virtually cannot win at the ‘G. Relief might be coming; plenty of their men return from injuries in the weeks to come.
(18) Carlton (last week: 18)
At least they made it close? Not a whole lot to say about Carlton anymore. Their traditionally competitive clash against Essendon only a week away though, if you want to be optimistic.