Carlton drop out of the top half of the ladder this week, while North Melbourne is on the move up and Geelong returns to the top two.
1. (Last week – 1) Hawthorn Hawks – Record: 12-2
It was the same old story for the Hawks, getting close to the Cats but not winning. Hawthorn stay on top of this ladder, and is still on track for a premiership, but the fact the team one spot below has such a hold over the Hawks will be a concern in the business end of the year.
2. (3) Geelong Cats – 12-2
In a typically tight contest the Cats continued their streak over the Hawks. While the talk will be about a certain curse, Geelong got home on the back of some timely contributions from youngsters Josh Caddy, Jordan Murdoch and Jesse Stringer. Advantage, Cats.
3. (2) Sydney Swans – 10-1-3
It wasn’t the convincing victory many were expecting but Sydney got the points on Sunday. Kieren Jack was terrific in the midfield while his brother Brandon chipped in with four goals. Sydney may look to rest some key players before the run home when it plays Greater Western Sydney this Sunday.
4. (4) Essendon Bombers – 11-3
The collarbone injury to captain Jobe Watson could have major ramifications on the top four hopes of the Bombers. Essendon was impressive holding off Port Adelaide, but losing Watson potentially for matches against Hawthorn and Collingwood could be costly.
5. (5) Fremantle Dockers – 10-1-3
It was most important stars Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands and David Mundy returned to the side and got some form, and they all got through unscathed against St Kilda. Fremantle need to keep striving for a top four spot and need to win against West Coast on Sunday to put pressure on the top four.
6. (7) Collingwood Magpies – 9-5
After a slow start, Collingwood returned to form on Friday night. The team performance and pressure was back for the Magpies, and they will hope to keep up that kind of form leading in to September.
7. (6) Richmond Tigers – 9-5
They still sit comfortably in the top eight, but Richmond fans might start to be getting nervous after the loss to North Melbourne on Saturday. The Tigers were awful all over the field and need to turn it around quickly.
8. (9) Port Adelaide Power – 8-6
Ken Hinkley noted a key patch in the second quarter that was costly, but Port Adelaide played well against a top side in Essendon on Sunday. The Power used the ball poorly at times, but also had some chances in the last quarter to get back in the game. Port Adelaide is shaping as the only side in the top eight who could fall out, so a win against Hawthorn this week would cement their spot.
9. (10) West Coast Eagles – 7-7
The Eagles even their ledger and stay in the hunt for the finals with a win this week. The Eagles have a tough run home and will start favorites in only three matches in the back end of the season, meaning they have to find peak form quickly. The best way to find it will be against Fremantle in a derby this week.
10. (8) Carlton Blues – 6-8
2013 is shaping to be a wasted year for the Blues, with finals hopes fading quickly after another injury to key forward Jarrad Waite. After building a 28 point lead, Carlton was smashed all over the ground and some wayward kicking from Collingwood saved Carlton from a humiliating score line.
11. (13) North Melbourne Kangaroos – 6-8
North Melbourne kicked eight goals to Richmond’s zero in the second quarter on Saturday, blowing its opponent out of the water. That quarter showed how devastating the Kangaroos can be when going forward, even with the occasional brain fade.
12. (11) Gold Coast Suns – 5-9
Gold Coast will be disappointed with the result on Saturday night. The Suns have fallen out of form in recent weeks, and now lost three games in a row. A more consistent effort will be needed against Richmond this week.
13. (12) Adelaide Crows – 6-8
It is tough to see Adelaide making the finals now. The Crows needed to win on the weekend, but fell short due to a Josh Kennedy match winner. Adelaide was up by 13 points late in the match, only to let it slip inside the final minute.
14. (14) Brisbane Lions – 5-9
The form of the Lions in recent weeks has been impressive and Michael Voss looks to have turned around his fortunes. The Lions are playing high quality football and if they keep it up their fans will be happy with the effort.
15. (15) St Kilda Saints – 3-11
The Saints came out firing on Sunday and played aggressive football in the first half against Fremantle. The pressure from the Saints was excellent and they led at half time, only to drop off as the game progressed. Tom Lee provided a target at times, and kicked three goals in a display that will encourage fans.
16. (16) Western Bulldogs – 4-10
The Dogs dodged a bullet on Saturday when they just defeated the Giants. The Bulldogs dominated the stats and had 21 more inside 50s than their opponents, but weren’t efficient going forward.
17. (17) Melbourne Demons – 2-12
Suddenly things at Melbourne are looking a little brighter. Whether or not Neil Craig wants the coaching job full time next season is unknown, but he has brought optimism and enthusiasm to the Demons. Finally there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
18. (18) Greater Western Sydney Giants – 0-14
GWS played entertaining football, and was unlucky to be behind when the siren went. The final chance for the Giants to win this year could have passed them by, and should cop a hiding this week against the Swans.