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48 points is the magic finals number

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Roar Rookie
21st July, 2021

There are five rounds to go in the AFL season and it seems like there are seven teams fighting for finishes at seventh and eighth.

The way that the season is shaping up, it looks like teams that get 12 wins (48 points) or more will make finals.

Clubs like Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, Geelong, and Port Adelaide have passed this mark and Brisbane and Sydney are one win away.

West Coast sits at seventh but are two games behind the team above them (Sydney), so we can assume with five games to go every team above the Eagles will make finals.

A lot of teams in finals contention play each other, so their future is in their own hands.

Who will jump into the top eight and who will be out by season’s end?

West Coast Eagles, currently seventh, 36 points, 98.0 per cent
The Eagles are likely to record three wins from their next five games, beating St Kilda, Collingwood, and Fremantle, with losses against Melbourne and Brisbane.

Nic Naitanui of the Eagles takes the ball

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Three wins will take them to 48 points, so an unexpected win pretty much guarantees a finals spot, but an unexpected loss – especially against the Saints – puts them in danger of not making it to September.


Essendon, currently eighth, 32 points, 104.5 per cent
The Bombers, like the Eagles, are expected to win three of their next five games. They are likely to beat GWS, Gold Coast, and Collingwood, which would mean they will need to have an upset win against the Swans or Bulldogs to get the 48-points mark by the end of August.

They have a better percentage than the Eagles now, which may get them into the finals if West Coast or Richmond stumble.

Richmond, currently seventh, 32 points, 100.8 per cent
The Tigers have not been in great form but are looking to turn that around after a win against Brisbane. They will lose this week’s game against the Cats but should win the next four games after that when they come up against Fremantle, North Melbourne, GWS, and Hawthorn.

Tom J. Lynch of the Tigers celebrates

(Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

I expect Richmond to get to 48 points, but if they lose a game unexpectedly they are in danger of finishing in their classic place of ninth. The loss of Dustin Martin will test the depth of the Richmond list.

Fremantle, currently tenth, 32 points, 92.5 per cent
The Dockers have one of the hardest runs home playing teams already in the top eight or teams right next to them on the ladder. I do not see them getting another win for the 2021 season as they come up against Sydney, Richmond, Brisbane, West Coast, and St Kilda.

Fremantle need to get three wins from their next five games to get to 48 points and make finals (if one of those wins is against Richmond). They have such a young list and I can only see one upset happening, which will be against the Saints.

St Kilda, currently 11th, 32 points, 86.6 per cent
The Saints are the last team sitting on 32 points now, and like the others sitting on the same points, they need to record four or more wins until the end of August.


I am a St Kilda supporter myself but can only see them win two of their upcoming games which are against Carlton and Fremantle.

The Saints have already played the three teams this year they are likely to lose against: the Eagles who they beat, and Geelong and Sydney where more accurate kicking may have changed the result in such close games.

The Saints have been very inconsistent this year and could win all five games or lose all five games depending on who shows up.

GWS Giants, currently 12th, 30 points, 95.5 per cent
The Giants are the other team with a very tough run home, and maybe only recording one win against Carlton in the last round.

They come up against Essendon, Port Adelaide, Geelong, and Richmond, and in order to get to the 48-points mark or above they need to win every game. It is possible but very unlikely.

Josh Kelly of the Giants celebrates kicking a goal

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Carlton, currently 13th, 28 points, 93.9 per cent
The Blues are the last team to mathematically reach 48 points for the year but will need to win every game to get there.

They are likely to record wins against North Melbourne, Gold Coast, and maybe GWS and Saints, with a loss against Port Adelaide. I cannot see Carlton being undefeated from now until the end of the season.

Projected finishes
7th. Richmond, 48 points
8th. West Coast, 48 points
9th. Essendon, 44 points
10th. Carlton, 40 points
11th. St Kilda, 40 points
12th. Fremantle, 32 points
13th. GWS, 30 points