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The Roar


There's a big, big sound: AFL Power Rankings for teams who played (and teams who didn't)

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Roar Guru
13th March, 2024

How good is footy? Welcome to season 2024 everyone. The launch of the new season means one thing…power rankings.

Thanks to the marketing chicanery pulled by the AFL these rankings are more pseudo-rankings, factoring in both the performances of sides in the practice matches as well as the enormous amount of data that has been gleaned from the opening round.

18. Richmond Tigers

How the mighty have fallen. The Tigers are well and truly out of the Damien Hardwick era now, and Adem Yze has his work cut out for him. Part of their performances can be attributed to the absence of Tom Lynch, Toby Nankervis, and Dustin Martin, but I would argue the best ability is availability, and with the attrition of age the Tigers are looking a yard off the pace. The Tigers are staring down the barrel of a prolonged rebuild, and I just hope that Yze is given enough rope to rebuild them.

Adem Yze.

Adem Yze, Richmond’s rookie senior coach. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

17. Hawthorn Hawks

One thing I wish to make clear – Sam Mitchell is the best young coach in the AFL. He was an intelligent footballer and he is perhaps an even better coach. That being said, the Hawks have an injury crisis on their hands after losing James Blanck to an ACL, Changkuoth Jiath to a hamstring and assorted injuries to Will Day, Chad Wingard, Will McCabe and Bailey McDonald leaving them in the ominous ‘TBC’ timeframe. The Hawks will face a good challenge against the inconsistent Bombers this Saturday afternoon at the MCG.

16. Essendon Bombers


Speak of the devil and he shall appear. The Bombers are facing a very high likelihood of prolonging their finals drought into a 21st year after losing Jordan Ridley to a quadriceps injury (the very same he did last year) in a pre-season hitout with Geelong. I am not as cynical as some on this website about the Bombers, but that does not mean I am positive about their prospects either. The top ten selections that the Bombers have accrued over the years will need to start performing, specifically their acquisitions from the 2020 draft.

15. West Coast Eagles

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Eagles may have acquired Harley Reid and he very well may be a generational talent, but going into a two team town like Perth and without much else around him, Reid is going to struggle. West Coast are in year one of a rebuild that needed to start four years ago, and as a result I expect this year will follow a similar trend to last year.

Harley Reid with Nic Naitanui after being selected by West Coast with pick one in the 2023 AFL draft.

Harley Reid with Nic Naitanui after being selected by West Coast with pick one in the 2023 AFL draft. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

14. North Melbourne Kangaroos

This is probably a little bit harsh on the Kangas, everyone’s second favourite team. However, they were barely able to get over the line against a historically bad West Coast side condemning them to a third straight wooden spoon, so you’ll forgive me. They did manage to pull a fast one over the reigning premiers and they pushed St Kilda, but going off previous form we can only surmise that this is an early season sugar high. Additionally, given how the wheels fell off in the mid-season winter malaise I am reluctant to wax poetically about the Kangaroos.

13. Melbourne Demons


This wasn’t just an off-season from hell, it comes directly from the Seventh Circle of hell fast tracked to you and I. Drug charges, injury crises, and promising recruits this pre-season had it all for the Demons. Even a herculean effort from Jack Viney with 30 disposals and 2 goals was not enough to detract from the growing chorus of naysayers for the Demons. The Dees were exceptionally poor against the Swans in humid swampy conditions.

12. Fremantle Dockers

The Dockers face an intriguing season, with 3 first round draft picks in their arsenal to lure the best West Australian talent back home. Justin Longmuir has his work cut out for him after losing the bullocking Sean Darcy to pre-season knee problems which were not managed appropriately when first reported. Longmuir will be required to get his charges off to a brisk start, despite losing 2 best 23 players last trade period.

11. Adelaide Crows

The reasoning behind this low ranking is two-fold: 1. Their back six is depleted through injury. 2. A harder fixture. The Crows finished in the middle third last year and will face stronger opposition. Moreover, Taylor Walker has gotten one year older as well. That being said, under Matthew Nicks the Crows have had as close to a linear rebuild as possible.


10. Western Bulldogs

Luke Beveridge has always been a bit of a strange cat. Despite being the most successful coach in Bulldogs history he has never led the Bulldogs to the top four. He has some strange tendencies that result in him recruiting similar type players like Jedd Busslinger, Sam Darcy, and Jordon Croft, who if they’re all going to play in the same side will make the Bulldogs very top heavy.

Damien Hardwick.

Damien Hardwick is off to a good start on the Gold Coast. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

9. Gold Coast Suns

I know, I know, the Suns are on top of the ladder, but you know who’s down the bottom of these power rankings, the Tigers. This was a perfect start for Damien Hardwick as his charges slaughtered the Tigers so comprehensively the World Wildlife Fund had to be called in. Matt Rowell had the pill on a string with 20 clearances and 33 disposals, with Ben King and Jack Lukosius the main beneficiaries of his work with a combined nine goals.

8. Geelong Cats

The Cats are gearing up for another charge at the promised land. The news about Cam Guthrie and his quad marrs an otherwise perfect off season for the old dogs of the AFL. I expect Chris Scott will expect rising contributions from Jhye Clark and Tanner Bruhn to offset the loss of Guthrie. Moreover, Max Holmes appears set to take another leap in his career, using his superior pace on the half back flank to decimate teams in the prototypical ‘quarterback’ role.


7. Sydney Swans

No Buddy, No problems for the Swans. Missing Callum Mills, Luke Parker, and new recruit Taylor Adams presented no issues against a Melbourne side that prides itself on their midfield. It was a near perfect match for new recruit Brodie Grundy too, single handedly resolving one of the weak points of the Swans list.

Christian Salem reacts to pressure from Brodie Grundy and Isaac Heeney.

New Swans ruckman Brodie Grundy tackles Melbourne’s Christian Salem. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

6. Port Adelaide Power

An acrimonious straight sets exit from the finals last year has done little to dampen the spirits of the Port faithful. The Power have managed to ‘moneyball’ the biggest holes on their list, adding Brandon Zerk-Thatcher from Essendon and Geelong’s Esava Ratugolea as a key defender alongside Ivan Soldo, with Jordon Sweet to their waning ruck department. The Power should surge this year, but they will require improvement from their big three midfielders in Jason Horne-Francis, Connor Rozee and Zac Butters.

5. Brisbane Lions


A phrase I often repeat is the bigger the win streak, the closer you are to a loss. Prior to their opening round loss to Carlton, Brisbane had won 14 consecutive matches at the Gabba. Adding insult to injury was an ACL injury to Keidean Coleman, increasing the number of Lions players out for the season to 3. The loss leaves the Lions without a valuable four points as they face the prospect of an extremely jammed top eight.

4. Collingwood Magpies

The start of the premiership defence is off to an inauspicious start, going down to the Giants (by an honestly flattering) 32 points. The Pies were unable to escape the suffocating press of the Giants as GWS frequently found easy ball out the back and the Pies’ halfbacks were busted in no-man’s land. Making matters worse was the attempted incitement of the lumbering Mason Cox, who failed to back up his tough talk on the park by going for the rare donuts before halftime. The Pies will come back when they’re in front of their parochial home fans, and they do have an easy fixture. But losing here does hurt.

Harry McKay kicked the winning goal in Carlton's one-point win over Brisbane.

Harry McKay celebrates the winning goal in Carlton’s one-point win over Brisbane. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

3. Carlton Blues

The Blues have not put a foot wrong in their pre-season, or their 46-point come from behind win against Brisbane. They were able to challenge the bigger and stronger Lions at the coalface, while Harry Mckay appears to have made peace with his goal kicking woes by slotting the winning goal with one minute and 14 seconds left. This was a momentous win, and a vital one before the start of the season proper giving the Blues the opportunity to get off to a ripper.

2. St Kilda


It is not defensiveness that defines Ross Lyon’s systems, but professionalism. Lyon will make good teams great, and poor teams good by giving every player he has available a role to play. Now I will probably end up with egg on my face for such glowing admiration for Ross as they face Geelong in round one at GMHBA, where they have not won since 1999. The Saints have not put a foot wrong this preseason and the additions they have made increase the offensive potency of the list. Lyon has been able to build a coterie of young talent that will serve the Saints well for a prolonged charge up the ladder.

Josh Kelly celebrates a goal.

GWS Giant Josh Kelly celebrates a goal. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

1. Greater Western Sydney Giants

As a native of Western Sydney myself I can tell you there is definitely a big big sound in the west of the town – the fickle Sydney supporters are finally taking notice of the orange tsunami in a crowded sports marketplace. They were able to dispatch an arrogant Collingwood side with brutal efficiency despite losing the territory battle by 7. It was a career day for the Irish import Callum Brown with 5 goals, ably assisted by Brent Daniels (4 goals 23 disposals), and Jesse Hogan (4 goals). I would be lying if I said the Giants would be able to prolong their continued rise up the ladder, however, I am glad to see the Giants get the rewards of their labours, and Adam Kingsley is a good coach.

There you have it folks. The first power rankings done for the year. Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I will do my best to respond.