I’m back in the saddle after an amazing trip to Asia (a land in which I am thankfully not known to the populace as a Freo fan)! A huge thank you to JamesH, who took over the perilous rankings for three weeks and produced some masterful work. Alas, I am back – and my Sunday nights will once again be fulfilled by some difficult decision making.
Last week: 1
Yeah, Josh Kennedy ain’t half bad. Seven goals, combining with Jack Darling’s two, led a powerful Eagles’ offensive performance. Without sounding like I’m trying to place all my eggs into one basket, I’d have them number one in premiership contention. The West Coast Eagles are a club I’m absolutely envious of.
Last week: 2
I’m stunned that Chris Fagan only this week uttered the ‘f-word’. Finals. I don’t particularly blame him for taking a conservative, kind of disbelieving route of accepting the Lions’ rise, but he’s got to embrace it. They’re gunning for big things, this club. And I’m starting to reckon much of the league is along for the ride.
Last week: 3
A win that’s very much par for course. There’s some footage that I saw emerge on social media, and that has fortuitously appeared to escape much attention so far, of Mark Bilclavs blatantly diving after an extremely soft hit. I’m opening a can of worms here, but it’s such a pathetic dive that I’d advocate for punishment. A blight on the game, for mine.
Last week: 4
There has been a dozen and one doubts about Tom Lynch this season, but he has shone brightly in the past fortnight. Superb yet again on Friday night with five goals, his reemergence has been a key driver into the excellent few weeks this team has had. Premiership contenders once more.
Last week: 5
Collingwood is well and truly stuck in purgatory right now. Ignorant of some hyperbole, they’ll be playing finals. Alas, how far will they make it? Who knows. Sunday’s frustrating news of injuries to Isaac Quaynor and Jordan De Goey is not what the club needed, coming off a hefty loss to Richmond. Top four is quickly becoming a pipe dream.
Last week: 7
A scrappy mess of a win. The operative word there being ‘win’. The Giants face Sydney, Hawthorn, the Bulldogs and Gold Coast in their final four rounds. Barring any surprises, they should be able to win out from here. Their only barrier to a top-four position will be other results, which is never a comfortable position to be in.
Last week: 6
We get it, Essendon fans: the umpire’s screwed up that one goal. But let’s put it in context: you were losing, relatively heavily, to the Suns. That should not have been happening. The Dons will make finals, but play like that terrible first half again, and you won’t be making it far.
To ensure I’m not producing utterly negative coverage of the red and black, I can do nothing but commend Jake Stringer’s brilliant performance to almost individually drag the club back into the clash and clinch the win.
Last week: 8
Not for the first time, I’m finding myself struggling to write about North’s performance. It was not awful – they weren’t really expected to salute victory in the West – but it demonstrates the gulf between North and teams the Kangaroos aspire to be like.
Reports surfaced over the weekend of Rhyce Shaw being signed up, which he quickly killed in his presser. I’d still argue he’s right for the job, though.
Last week: 9
I’m a little surprised they were the tipsters’ favourites headed into Saturday afternoon’s clash, to be honest. Brisbane has an increasingly good history against Chris Fagan’s former side, and not even Tasmania can propel the Hawks to immunity against a strong Brisbane outfit.
Last week: 10
One-point losses are always tough to swallow, and doubly tough when you’re gunning for a finals position. That’s three losses in a row, and the Power will be feeling infuriated by their inability to clinch the win. Mammoth clash against Essendon next week. Lose, and season 2019 is dead and buried – providing that it isn’t already, of course.
Last week: 14
If last week was a potential aberration, Saturday night’s win proved that this club has always had the talent, they just haven’t entirely shown it until now. Brett Ratten should be nothing short of pleased with his side kicking a century, for the second time in his short reign. They head to South Australia next week, where they play the Crows. Yeah, that’s winnable. But will anyone be brave enough to tip ‘em?
Last week: 13
I’m aware it was only Round 19, but they won a virtual elimination final – convincingly. Highlights aplenty during that clash; not least of which was Rhylee West’s sensational debut goal. Sunday’s result wasn’t a half-bad percentage boost, too.
Last week: 11
Neither South Australian side would hold any sort of pride in their weekend performances, although the Crows’ will be feeling horribly out of sorts. Lacking in confidence and looking dreadful at times against Carlton, it’s shocking that they are still narrowly holding onto eighth spot. #PykeOut appeared to spread through Twitter like a wildfire on Saturday afternoon. I’m not endorsing anything, but I’m also not surprised.
Last week: 16
I’ve bumped them up this week. Being proud of a football team that isn’t mine is not something I usual feel. But I’m unashamedly proud of Carlton at the moment. Galvanised by David Teague – it would almost be an injustice at the moment if he wasn’t signed permanently – this club is looking good at the moment. The only catch is they play West Coast next week. Gulp.
Last week: 12
Nothing too much I can say about a club that’s been the fascination of the media for another week. Fremantle’s challenge in the remaining few rounds is to simply, and non-negotiably, see out the season with some semblance of competitiveness. They face Geelong next week. It would be a damn shame if they repeated Sunday’s effort against a side that is incredibly likely to comfortably defeat the Dockers.
Last week: 15
One of the more self explanatory matches of the weekend, the Swans saw plenty of applaudable moments but were ultimately outclassed by their opposition. Heeney’s goal from the tight boundary one of those applaudable moments. The Swans have the same challenge as a couple of other teams, and that is to see out the season competitively. Easier said than done.
Last week: 17
I’ll let Max Gawn essentially write my words for me. “We’re a long way off a really good basic football team that gets the basics right. Our fundamentals are deplorable at times.”
The big man encapsulates Melbourne’s woes rather well. They had plenty of effort, but a horror final term saw them succumb to the team they were being heavily compared with two years ago and comfortably besting a year ago.
Melbourne’s frustrations won’t evaporate next week, either: they’re facing Richmond at the precise time wherein the Tigers’ have found form yet again. Could get messy.
Last week: 18
Not bad, eh? I mean, the result was bad, but the game itself could have been a lot worse. The Suns worked hard, jumped out to a 27 point lead, lost it, poached it back again early in the fourth but tired towards the end. Super admirable. But will anyone actually take notice, if the ‘W’ isn’t next to their name?