The second of the three consecutive bye weeks continued to skew with the standings in Round 12, with some clubs impressing while others were on the couch.
But, there was still a shake-up in the True Ladder after another weekend of footy.
1. (Last week – 1) Hawthorn Hawks – Record: 10-1
While they weren’t at their best on Friday night, the Hawks did enough to win. Hawthorn has won ten in a row since losing to Geelong in Round One, and is now entrenched in the top four. The excellent start to the season now allows the Hawks to manage their players and build towards September.
2. (2) Sydney Swans – 8-1-2
While they didn’t have a game this week, the Swans held a rigorous training session and Kurt Tippett pressed his claims for selection in Round 13. Sydney travels to play Port Adelaide on Saturday.
3. (3) Geelong Cats – 10-1
Geelong enjoyed the break this weekend, especially Jimmy Bartel who travelled to the US for some NBA action. The Cats will be trying to focus when they meet Brisbane on Sunday, and will aim to put together a four-quarter performance.
4. (4) Fremantle Dockers – 8-1-2
The Dockers had a very comfortable victory against the Lions on Saturday, and Ross Lyon will be pleased that they held the opposition to just 46 points. Fremantle have conceded fewer points than any other team in the competition, a big reason for its success this season.
5. (5) Essendon Bombers – 9-3
The Bombers returned to the top four on the official ladder with a solid win over the Suns on Saturday night. Essendon now has a week off before they travel to Perth to face West Coast.
6. (6) Collingwood Magpies – 8-4
Collingwood had the game won very early yesterday and took its foot off the accelerator after half time. Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury were allowed to run free and burnt the Bulldogs, combining for 73 possessions. The Pies have a week off in round 13.
7. (8) Richmond Tigers – 7-4
It’s official; the Tigers are marching towards the finals. With games against the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda in the next two weeks, Richmond has a chance to solidify its spot in the top eight.
8. (7) Carlton Blues – 6-6
Much like last week, Carlton was arguably the better team on Friday night against Hawthorn but fell away late in the game and lost. The loss was compounded by an injury to skipper Marc Murphy that will hurt the Blues as they try to secure their spot in the top eight.
9. (9) West Coast Eagles – 6-5
The week off will have allowed the Eagles some reflection time, and they have a lot of work to do to finish in the top eight this season. West Coast plays Hawthorn this Friday night.
10. (10) Gold Coast Suns – 5-7
The last time Gold Coast played Essendon in Melbourne it conceded 15 goals in the first quarter. To mark their improvement as a football team, the Suns conceded 17 for the whole game. While fans won’t be happy with a loss, the fact Gold Coast is competitive every week is a big step in the right direction for the club.
11. (12) North Melbourne – 5-7
North Melbourne had the week off, but will surely be hell bent on making up for the disappointing loss to Gold Coast, when it faces Fremantle on Sunday.
12. (11) Adelaide Crows – 5-7
Saturday may have earmarked Richmond as a finals team, but it could be a season ender for Adelaide. Once again Patrick Dangerfield and Rory Sloane were amongst the best for the Crows, but didn’t have enough support to win the game.
13. (13) Port Adelaide Power – 6-5
Port Adelaide returned to the form that saw it win the first five games of the year yesterday, dismantling GWS to stay in touch with the top eight. Port Adelaide hosts Sydney next week, and a win would give the club real hope of playing finals this season.
14. (14) St Kilda Saints – 2-9
After a narrow defeat at the hands of West Coast last week, St Kilda had the bye this week. As they head in to the second half of the season, the Saints will be looking for some improvement from their younger players.
15. (15) Brisbane Lions – 3-8
Brisbane was never in the game on Saturday, but didn’t get blown out by Fremantle. The horror draw for the Lions continues when they face Geelong and Hawthorn in the next fortnight. Michael Voss will be hoping for a pair of competitive performances, or his job may be up for discussion.
16. (16) Western Bulldogs – 3-8
The skills on show by the Bulldogs yesterday, particularly early in the game, was simply not at an AFL standard. While the Bulldogs work hard for contested ball, it is worthless if they turn it over. They face an in-form Richmond Saturday night, hoping to turn their fortunes around.
17. (17) Greater Western Sydney Giants – 0-12
After an impressive showing against Geelong, GWS was smashed all across the board against Port Adelaide. Tom Scully was one bright light for the Giants, picking up 30 possessions. GWS now has a week off to rest its young players.
18. (18) Melbourne Demons – 1-10
It mightn’t have lost this week, but the Melbourne Football Club is still firmly planted at the foot of the True Ladder. It’d be nice to say things can only get better from here, such is the speculation and rumour swirling around the club, rock bottom may still be waiting a few further ebbs down.