Only one of the True Ladder’s best five sides had a win this week, but the top half of the ladder remains largely unchanged.
The Lions’ upset win over the Bombers wasn’t enough to lift them above 14th position, while the Tigers – despite a comfortable win over the Demons – somehow find themselves a spot lower than last week, in ninth position. With plenty of teams vying for spots in the eight, some have to miss out.
1. (Last week – 1) Geelong Cats – Record: 7-1
In the third quarter Geelong looked like the undefeated, dominant side we’ve seen in the first seven rounds. In every other quarter the Cats were swarmed by the Magpies and couldn’t match Collingwood’s intensity. Geelong will be searching for a more consistent effort in coming weeks.
2. (2) Hawthorn Hawks – 7-1
Many were expecting Hawthorn to set records on Saturday afternoon, so an 83-point win was something of a let down. The Hawks did all they had to do to cruise to a comfortable victory, and have now won seven games in a row. Hawthorn now sits atop the AFL ladder ahead of Geelong – the last side to beat them.
3. (3) Essendon Bombers – 6-2
Essendon might have marked Saturday’s game against Brisbane down as a win before it had started, but it didn’t turn out that way. The Bombers won all the major statistics – and smashed the Lions in inside 50s – but couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard. For a side contending for the top four, losses like that can be very costly.
4. (4) Sydney Swans – 5-1-2
The Swans led by 27 points at the 11-minute mark of the fourth quarter, and looked almost certain to beat the Dockers. Sydney didn’t completely let the game slip, walking away with two points, but will be disappointed with the final 20 minutes of the match.
5. (5) Fremantle Dockers – 5-1-2
Fremantle played in yet another thriller on Saturday night in Sydney, and was left with a draw. Swan Sam Reid somehow managed to mark Michael Johnson’s shot on goal with ten seconds left. A Fremantle player needed only to punch the ball over the line for the Dockers to win, but it wasn’t to be.
6. (7) Collingwood Magpies – 5-3
Collingwood won in a classic on Saturday night, stopping Geelong’s unbeaten run in the process. The Magpies were the better team for three quarters, and did well to withstand a strong burst from the Cats in the third term. Collingwood hosts an out-of-form Sydney at the MCG on Friday night in what will be a big test for both clubs.
7. (6) North Melbourne Kangaroos – 3-5
Another close game, another heartbreaking loss. Fans can complain about free kicks to Eagles Luke Shuey and Adam Selwood, but the fact is North Melbourne was in a winning position with 30 seconds left and let the game slip. North must beat Adelaide in round nine to stay in touch with the top eight.
8. (9) West Coast Eagles – 4-4
The Eagles won in thrilling fashion on Friday night, thanks to a Nic Naitanui goal after the siren. West Coast was the better team all game; had the Eagles been more accurate in front of goal, the result would have been put beyond doubt much earlier. The win has huge ramifications for West Coast’s season. With four wins on the board, the Eagles remain only two games outside the top four.
9. (8) Richmond Tigers – 5-3
Richmond was far from convincing in the first three quarters yesterday, but ran the game out well against Melbourne. Brandon Ellis announced himself to the football world with a 39-possession best on ground performance. The Tigers now prepare for the annual Dreamtime at the G clash with the Bombers on Saturday night.
10. (10) Adelaide Crows – 4-4
Adelaide won comfortably against St Kilda yesterday thanks to an impressive third quarter, which saw the Crows blow the game open. After a poor start to the season, Adelaide has won consecutive matches to even its ledger with four wins and four losses. The Crows face the Kangaroos next, in a match where both sides will be aiming to keep their top-eight hopes alive.
11. (12) Carlton Blues – 4-4
Carlton got back on the winners list against Port Adelaide yesterday. The Blues were the better side all day, but couldn’t shake off the Power until late in the match. Captain Marc Murphy was best on ground in his 150th match.
12. (11) Port Adelaide – 5-3
Port Adelaide started slowly yet again yesterday, and couldn’t catch up with the Blues. After their excellent start, the Power have lost three games in a row and face a tough match-up against Geelong this Saturday. An unlikely win would go a long way to strengthening their position in the top eight on the official ladder.
13. (13) St Kilda Saints – 2-6
The Saints couldn’t withstand an impressive third quarter from the Crows yesterday afternoon. With only two wins on the board, St Kilda fans must look for positives. Recruit Dylan Roberton has been a shining light for the Saints so far this season. He continued his good form against Adelaide, putting in another terrific performance.
14. (14) Brisbane Lions – 3-5
Feel good stories still have a place in footy. The Lions, with coach Michael Voss seemingly on the chopping block, somehow did just enough to defeat the Bombers. Brent Staker, returning to the side after overcoming knee injuries, kicked the sealer in a wonderful moment for Brisbane fans.
15. (15) Gold Coast Suns – 4-4
Gold Coast has won consecutive matches for the first time in the club’s history. The Suns now have four wins and four losses, and are within striking distance of the top eight. However, the Suns may fall back down the ladder when they play the Hawks in round nine.
16. (16) Western Bulldogs – 1-7
The Bulldogs are still searching for their second win of the season and, based on their performance against the Gold Coast, might be searching for a while yet. The Bulldogs play the Saints in round nine, a matchup featuring two teams in similar positions. Don’t expect a high scoring affair though – only Melbourne has scored fewer points this season than St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs.
17. (17) Greater Western Sydney – 0-8
The Giants suffered another big loss to the Hawks on Saturday. Jeremy Cameron was again a shining light for Greater Western Sydney, kicking four goals to continue his terrific form so far this season.
18. (18) Melbourne Demons – 1-7
Melbourne finally delivered what we’ve been waiting all season to see: a solid, competitive performance. The Demons ran out of legs in the final quarter but were aggressive and hard at the ball all day. If they continue to produce performances like that, they mightn’t remain last on the True Ladder much longer.