With the two top teams beaten, and the Western Australia and South Africa intrastate championships both being non events in terms of closeness, it is still hard to make much sense of the season.
Geelong, West Coast, Brisbane and Richmond all still look likely finalists, but the other places are all up for grabs.
Collingwood’s form slump is puzzling and it has put their position not just in the top four, but in the eight in jeopardy. Two away games against the Eagles and Giants before a tough encounter at the G against Richmond are all losable and could put them on the edge of the eight.
Greater Western Sydney, Adelaide, Port Adelaide, Fremantle all need to find consistency, and Essendon, North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs and even Hawthorn and Sydney need to keep winning as the ultimate prize may be a finals berth.
A statistical case can be made for the first fourteen teams on the ladder and – while some may be fanciful – anything can happen in this topsy-turvy season. Next week’s games will hopefully make things a bit clearer.
Tom McDonald (Melbourne) and Josh Bruce (St Kilda) shared the goal kicking honours for the weekend with six goals and for McDonald who has only regained form recently, it was a significant statistical and historical achievement.
He smashed the 100 goal barrier to finish the game on 102 career goals and passed six Melbourne Top 100 goal scorers elite and drew level with another two!
Josh Bruce passed five (including fellow twin tower Tim Membrey) and drew level with the great Carl Ditterich.
Traditional goal kicking milestones were achieved by Ben Brown (North Melbourne) 250 goals, Luke Parker (Sydney) who bought up 150 goals and drew level with Nick Davis. 50 goals were recorded by Jake Stringer – at his second club Essendon – and Kane Lambert (Richmond).
An honourable mention should be given to Jason Castagna who booted five goals and was the clubhouse leader until Sunday’s games.
While still not a Top 100 elite goal kicker at the Tigers, he is now only two goals short of the target and likely to replace Michael ‘Swamp fox’ Patterson and Laird Smith who jointly sit in the hot seat before season’s end.
Amongst the AFL elite, Tom Hawkins (Geelong) got the two goals he needed to join Essendon legend John Coleman on 537 goals and earn a place just outside the Top 50 AFL goal kickers of all time.
Luke Breust, in his 200th game for Hawthorn scored two goals and matched Alec Albiston’s 383 goals for the Hawks. Albiston – born 102 years ago and aided by the six goals he scored in his one year at North Melbourne in 1950 – still remains a member of the AFL all time elite goal scorers although he now sits in the 100th position hot seat with Philip Matera (West Coast Eagles) and Geelong’s Lloyd Hagger.
They were passed by Adelaide’s ‘Tex’ Walker earlier this year. Walker is now 95th on the list.
The trio appear likely to have their goals total of 389 usurped before season’s end by either Breust (383 goals) or Greater Western Sydney’s Jeremy Cameron (372 goals)