We’re back in yet another footy festival/bonanza/streak (whatever word you wanna use).
What an intriguing round it was. Not a lot of upsets – but more uncertainty thrust into key races for minor premiership, top four and top eight. Next edition of these will be up next Saturday, given the quirky fixturing.
1. Geelong (last week: 3)
That was the club’s biggest comeback from a first term deficit since the 1930s. They’ve now won four in a row – three of those against finals contenders. For the second time in as many weeks, I’m promoting a new team to top of these rankings. Geelong is that team.
2. Port Adelaide (last week: 2)
For the second week in a row, the Power faced a dogged competitor from outside the eight. Unlike the Hawks last week though, they had a slightly easier time shaking off the Swans – largely thanks to Charlie Dixon’s four goals and some midfield ascendency. In a tough competition for the minor premiership, with Geelong and Brisbane hunting that spot, too.
3. West Coast (last week: 1)
A difficult team to judge this week. I don’t think one loss derails their awesome recent form but given they did lose to the reigning premiers and they were one of only two top eight teams to lose this week, I have to drop them in these rankings. Essendon up next.
4. Richmond (last week: 4)
A big win for the reigning premiers, and it was a brilliant one. They finish the round in the top four (for only the third time this year) and with Geelong the only one of their three remaining competitors that’ll be tricky, they’re in a very good position.
5. Brisbane Lions (last week: 5)
Had the bye.
6. St Kilda (last week: 6)
A bit of their lustre disappearing, with Saturday’s loss to the Demons their third in four games. They’ve now lost two games by a cumulative total of five points. Usually, I’d suggest they’d be a team to would learn from the close losses – but every win is vital for the Saints, so bouncing back against a vulnerable Hawks up next is now almost obligatory.
7. Collingwood (last week: 7)
They’d won four of their previous five before yesterday’s match, but the Pies had been widely seen as a weak finals contender. That’s why their latest win is so, so vital: it locks them in the eight for now, though they still have to navigate injuries and a tricky finish to the season.
8. Melbourne (last week: 10)
Their top eight chances live another day. They redeemed themselves after the capitulation against the Doggies, and sent themselves back into the eight – for now. A relatively easy fixture from here on out benefits them, too.
9. GWS Giants (last week: 11)
That’s how you bounce back! The Giants dominated the clash, stifling mini Freo fightbacks and having the game sewn up by the final break. They remain well and truly in finals contention, and if they play like they did on Saturday, they’re a chance to win out from here.
10. Carlton (last week: 8)
So, so much on the line – and they put up a stinker of a second half. The Blues failed to score a goal after halftime, and with this loss go their finals chances, you’d presume. That genuinely sucks, because in my eyes, Carlton are such a likeable team.
11. Western Bulldogs (last week: 9)
They “pulled a Hawthorn”, though not nearly as badly. Like that team, they started brilliantly – that first term was almost as good a quarter I’ve seen any team play this year – but they failed to hold off Geelong. A bad start to a critically important month for Luke Beveridge’s side.
12. Essendon (last week: 14)
I mean, I’m sure they’d rather not have to go through the comeback motions every time they win, but it was nonetheless a superb victory for the under-fire Bombers. Finals still remain a very unlikely proposition, but the Bombers can optimistically be a spanner in the works for four (!) finals-bound teams. Optimistically being the key word there.
13. Gold Coast (last week: 13)
Good win – and sorely needed after six weeks of losses and a draw. They’re not making finals, but this remains a reasonably impressive season for the young team. One blight on the game: they were reminiscent of their Queensland cousins in terms of goal accuracy, which halted what would’ve (should’ve) been a much bigger victory.
14. Fremantle (last week: 12)
And Freo’s good run of form comes to a crashing end. A little unfortunate that they came up against a GWS side desperate for a win, but the Dockers were poor from the outset on Saturday afternoon. Incredibly difficult encounter with Essendon up next … potentially without Luke Ryan.
15. North Melbourne (last week: 15)
I mean no offence when I say this, but they produced a bland performance in a relatively inconsequential clash. The Eagles, Port and Freo are their final three opponents. Yikes.
16. Sydney Swans (last week: 17)
To their credit, they produced a much-improved performance against Port, but beating the ladder-leaders in Adelaide was probably going to be a step too far. Face the Dees next week: any upset potential at all, I wonder?
17. Hawthorn (last week: 16)
That was … not good, to put it lightly. They looked superb early – and, indeed, almost everyone thought they’d run away with it – but Clarko’s squad couldn’t do anything as the Dons ran over them. Awful result for the club, if that doesn’t sound to hyperbolic.
18. Adelaide (last week: 18)
Had the bye.