The trio of Adelaide, Brisbane and West Coast saw September dreams dashed by defeat over the weekend, securing the top nine for the remainder of the season. A loss to Hawthorn sees Essendon drop out of the top four this week, replaced by Fremantle.
1. (Last week – 1) Hawthorn Hawks – Record: 15-2
Once again, Essendon had no answer for Lance Franklin on Friday night. Returning from a two-week injury, Franklin kicked eight goals but even he said the war was won in the middle of Etihad Stadium. Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis and Luke Hodge were too big and strong in the midfield, subsequently having their way with a hopelessly outmatched Essendon.
2. (2) Sydney Swans – 13-1-3
After falling behind in the first quarter, the Swans dominated the Tigers for the final three terms to record a powerful win. Tall forwards Jesse White and Kurt Tippett kicked seven between them and looked dangerous all day, prompting Fremantle to take notice of White’s talents.
3. (3) Geelong Cats – 14-3
After a slow first quarter, Geelong kicked in to gear to run away with a 101-point victory over St Kilda on Saturday night. With Tom Hawkins dominating up forward and James Podsiadly flying high, Geelong had too much offensive firepower.
4. (5) Fremantle Dockers – 12-1-4
In typical Ross Lyon fashion, Fremantle was beaten in most statistics, including being minus 22 on inside 50s, yet won the match on Saturday night. Nathan Fyfe was instrumental in the victory, kicking four goals and racking up 29 possessions.
5. (4) Essendon Bombers – 13-4
Beaten in every quarter, the Bombers leaked goals too easily and were bullied in the middle without Jobe Watson, in a top of the table encounter. The Bombers showed they are still a year or two off being a true premiership contender.
6. (6) Richmond Tigers – 11-6
Richmond was given to a lesson from a premiership contender Sunday evening. The Tigers couldn’t gain control over the contest and the Swans eventually ran over them in the closing stages.
7. (7) Collingwood Magpies – 11-6
When the Giants led by 16 points at half time there would have been many nervous Magpie fans, but they managed to get the four points on Saturday. Collingwood didn’t have an answer for Jeremy Cameron all evening, with Nathan Brown and Lachlan Keefe struggling to contain the GWS spearhead. In the end, the Magpies had the firepower to run out 40-point victors.
8. (8) Port Adelaide Power – 10-7
The Power held on to their spot in the top eight with a narrow win over the Lions on Sunday. Port had their chance to pull away in the third quarter but kicked 3.7 and allowed their opponents back in to the match. Travis Boak was once again the best player for the Power, continuing a stunning season.
9. (9) Carlton Blues – 9-8
The Blues took care of business and kept pressing for the top eight with a simple victory over the Suns in round 18. Sitting one game behind Port Adelaide for eighth spot, Carlton must keep winning when they meet Fremantle on Saturday night.
10. (10) Adelaide Crows – 7-10
Adelaide kicked 3.8 from set shots on Saturday night, and with the limited opportunities Fremantle allowed, wasted chances cost the Crows the match. With the Showdown against Port Adelaide this week, Adelaide will be hoping to disrupt their rivals and cost them a spot in the top eight by defeating them.
11. (13) North Melbourne Kangaroos – 7-10
North Melbourne was in total control against Melbourne on the weekend. Unfortunately for North fans, the display was one barely sighted this season.
The challenge for the Roos is finding the right balance offensively and defensively for the rest of the season and into next year.
12. (12) Brisbane Lions – 7-10
While Michael Voss indicated that this decision against Daniel Merret was crucial in the result, Brisbane was only in the match on Sunday because of Port Adelaide’s poor kicking. The Lions had nine fewer shots on goal over the course of the match and were beaten throughout the day.
13. (11) West Coast Eagles – 7-10
The season is officially over for the Eagles after their loss to the Bulldogs on Sunday. West Coast was met by a surprisingly efficient Western Bulldog side and after leading in the second quarter, it couldn’t stop the run in the second half.
14. (14) Gold Coast Suns – 6-11
Following up a landmark victory against Collingwood, Gold Coast was sluggish in the first quarter on Saturday. The Suns will be aiming for a seventh against the Eagles on Saturday.
15. (15) Western Bulldogs – 5-12
The Bulldogs gave their fans something to cheer about when they ended the slim finals hopes of the Eagles on Sunday afternoon. Led by the experienced heads of Robert Murphy, Adam Cooney and Ryan Griffen the Dogs powered away with the game in the second half.
16. (16) St Kilda Saints – 3-14
St Kilda was demolished by Geelong on Saturday, despite making a bright start. Injuries to Nick Riewoldt, James Gwilt and Lenny Hayes aggravated the loss and the Saints really look like they are hobbling towards the end of the season.
17. (17) Melbourne Demons – 2-15
The Demons returned to their embarrassing ways when the Kangaroos smashed them this weekend. The Demons are a chance against the Giants this weekend, but it wouldn’t be a shock if the AFL newcomers inflicted more pain on the league’s oldest club.
18. (18) Greater Western Sydney Giants – 0-17
With Jeremy Cameron kicking seven goals and winning best afield honors, GWS led Collingwood at half time and was within a kick at three-quarter time. They faded late, but the Giants showed good signs and a repeat performance against the Demons this week could see them pick up their first win of the season.