Round 23 is done and dusted, and with that come this year’s final edition of the Power Rankings. Enjoy finals, and see you next season for more weekly critiques of eighteen fascinating teams.
Last week: 2
Richmond fans have been without a doubt the most eager to see your side top these rankings. And here they are. Beating Brisbane – the heavy sentimental finals favours, it appears – deserves applause.
Richmond, who looked lost towards the beginning of this season. are headed into the finals in superb touch, and a visit to the Gabba for their first final.
Last week: 1
A disappointing loss, but who really cares? They get a home final – against the Tigers, funnily enough – and they got to see Lachie Neale putting in a stunning performance in a losing effort.
Fifty-two touches, twenty-five contested possessions, fifteen clearances and an 88 per cent disposal efficiency. Remarkable stuff.
This year’s already a resounding success for the Lions, but finals time is where the real stuff lies.
Last week: 4
They may have played – and secured an important win – on Friday night, but Collingwood remained a story for the whole of the weekend.
Jaidyn Stephenson’s controversial VFL return was a point of controversy for some, but Hawthorn assisting them into the top four was better news, before the fact they’ll essentially ‘host’ their first-up final against minor-premiers Geelong is now becoming a headache for the league.
Last week: 5
Secured the minor premiership, and secured a ‘home’ final… at the MCG. The Cats simply did what they had to do against the dogged Blues, and they’ll head into finals as the top-ranked team.
It really is a pity, though, that they’re forced to travel up to the MCG ‘host’ that final. On a Friday evening, too, of all days.
Last week: 3
Round 23, headed into finals as reigning premiers, is arguably one of the worst times for a team to display their worst form.
Yet that’s what the Eagles did. A damaging loss to Hawthorn on Saturday saw them inflict damage to their premiership hopes and drop out of the top four.
While their finals matchup of Essendon at home isn’t the most intimidating or challenging clash, they’ll literally have to make history to go back to back.
Last week: 6
The form team of the competition eviscerated a lacklustre Adelaide outfit, broke the hearts of Hawthorn’s optimistic supporters and made it perfectly sure they were headed into September.
They’ve won this competition from seventh once before. They couldn’t possibly do it again, could they? The Giants will be the first to know, in two weeks’ time.
Last week: 7
Given how bad their past fortnight has been, the Giants would have been happy to face the Gold Coast on Saturday night.
The win was as comfortable as you would imagine, but the Giants has something else to celebrate – the nine-goal haul of prolific forward Jeremy Cameron, who managed to claim the Coleman Medal at the hands of a powerful third quarter, and an admittedly lacklustre opposition.
Last week: 8
Did brilliant work on Saturday night – seriously, one of the better upset wins you’ll see this year – but given their season frustratingly missing an extra win, they were left barracking hard for Adelaide to provide an upset.
An upset which never came to fruition, but the Hawks will nonetheless be proud of their season. Clarko will have them back and competing hard next year, surely.
Last week: 9
The good news, they’re in finals. The bad? They’re headed to Perth first up to face the reigning premiers.
A big effort will no doubt be required, lest they fall at the first hurdle yet again. They’ll be getting players back, of course, but my feeling is that the Bombers are going to be crashing out of September soon enough.
Last week: 11
The narrow win was a fantastic ending to cap off a tumultuous year for the club, but I’m genuinely quite saddened that local hero Ben Brown was overrun by the Giants’ Cameron for the Coleman Medal. Onwards and upwards, of course.
Last week: 10
It wasn’t the prettiest win you’ll ever see, but a workmanlike effort from the Power saw them claim the scalp of a Western Australian team for the second time this year.
Freo provided a challenge to begin, but buoyed by a (disappointingly small) home crowd, the Power ran out relatively comfortable winners.
It’s a bit hard to get enthused about a Sunday afternoon game, in Round 23, when it’s a dead rubber, but Port provided just enough entertainment.
Last week: 12
Not a whole lot to say, except they’ll be beyond glad this season is over. Adelaide is headed into a super revealing off-season, and I can attest some of the mood here in their home city is decisively anti-Pyke.
I don’t subscribe to the sack Pyke brigade, but the club has evidently got some decisions to make. A far, far cry from their lofty heights of 2017.
Last week: 13
Given all the hubbub around some of the high ranked teams this round, the Saints’ ordinary loss against a celebratory Sydney didn’t lead much footy coverage, not will it be remembered in the history books.
The Saints’ last two weeks – this loss, and last week’s against Carlton – will frustrate their hierarchy. Brett Ratten isn’t locked in (yet), and there’s plenty of decisions to come in what’ll be a long summer.
Last week: 16
While blogging Sydney’s Saturday afternoon clash, the pessimist in me was disappointed in the fixation on Buddy who – while deserving praise for his 300th game – was seemingly monopolising all the attention over a couple of retiring veterans.
Wwith both Jarrad McVeigh and Kieran Jack hitting the scoreboard in front of a euphoric crowd, the Swans were sure to cap off an emotion day with a big win.
Last week: 14
Geelong down at GMBHA Stadium was always going to be a tough challenge for David Teague’s men, and that’s precisely how it panned out.
Perhaps the only remarkable moment from an otherwise routine loss was Daisy Thomas’ final farewell – it’s always good to see a warm reception to a retiring veteran.
Carlton seem to be in a good place headed into the offseason. I’m optimistic about their season in 2020.
Last week: 15
Finishing the year sixteenth on these rankings is a little harsh, but a poor final few weeks – including Sunday’s limp loss against Port Adelaide – added some final damage to an erratic season.
Freo were the only team to skip the apparent ‘post-coach-sacking-bounce’, with a great first quarter becoming lost in the midst of an ugly, and at times uncomfortable, lack of simple skills.
There’s many a task over the summer. Finding a new coach is obviously key, but settling a deeply unsettled side is another.
Last week: 17
And a long, not-expected-to-be-this-rough season draws to a merciful close. In perhaps a very Melbourne-esque manner.
They actually played reasonably well in Saturday’s clash, but losing the clash at the death down in Tassie provided one final downer to a miserable season.
A long and probably hectic off-season awaits; you’d expect there to be a rigorous post-mortem as to why exactly their 2019 season failed.
Last week: 18
And a long, very much expected-to-be-this-rough season draws to a merciful close. The Suns provided a little spirit in Saturday’s loss, but anybody would be forgiven for thinking the Suns spirit dissipated a long while before that.
Gold Coast remain the AFL’s biggest enigma. Will we see something different in season 2020, or more of the same?