The AFL top eight appears to be taking shape, and this week’s True Ladder reflects that. In the bottom half of the ladder, Gold Coast has made a rare climb outside the bottom four, thanks to a spirited performance against Hawthorn yesterday.
1. (Last week – 1) Geelong Cats – Record 8-1
Geelong found itself with a 39-point lead over the Power at quarter time – a situation that reminded Cats fans of the 2007 Grand Final. Saturday’s game was over by quarter time, and Geelong subsequently tapered off, cruising to a comfortable victory. Geelong hosts Gold Coast at Simonds Stadium this week; marking the first ever time a night match is played in Geelong.
2. (2) Hawthorn Hawks – 8-1
Early in the third quarter Hawthorn trailed by 17 points and one of the great upsets was brewing at the MCG. The Hawks rallied, thanks to Shaun Burgoyne, and overpowered the Suns. Hawthorn won’t be overly concerned by a mediocre win though; the Hawks face the Demons next week.
3. (3) Essendon Bombers – 7-2
Essendon looked strong all over the ground on Saturday night against Richmond. The Bombers defended the Tigers ferociously, and were even more impressive offensively. The Bombers get a chance to test how far they’ve come when they face reigning premiers, the Swans, in Sydney next Saturday.
4. (4) Sydney Swans – 6-1-2
The Swans made a huge statement on Friday night, performing at a level above the Magpies. Adam Goodes returned to his Brownlow-winning form and was clearly the best man on the ground. Sydney faces fellow top-four side Essendon this Saturday night at the SCG.
5. (5) Fremantle Dockers – 6-1-2
Michael Barlow and David Mundy were standouts yesterday when Fremantle easily accounted for Melbourne. It was a good victory, but the Demons were embarrassing. Fremantle travels to play a resurgent Adelaide this week – Ross Lyon will certainly be focusing on that match, rather than the big win over Melbourne.
6. (6) Collingwood Magpies – 6-3
The wheels fell off the Collingwood wagon on Friday night, just a week after the Pies defeated the previously unbeaten Cats. Collingwood was simply overpowered all over the ground by Sydney. The absence of stars Dale Thomas and Dayne Beams, due to long-term injuries, is starting to become a factor.
7. (8) West Coast Eagles – 5-4
The glimmers of form West Coast showed in previous weeks blossomed in a big way against Greater Western Sydney, resulting in a 100-point victory. The Eagles’ confidence continues to grow – they now appear a real threat to the rest of the competition.
8. (7) North Melbourne Kangaroos – 3-6
Is it a fitness problem? Is it mental? Is it poor coaching? Is it just bad luck? North lost another thriller from a winning position yesterday and fans will demand these questions be answered. Coach Brad Scott admitted North lost an “unloseable game“. There will be a lot of soul searching at Arden Street this week.
9. (10) Adelaide Crows – 5-4
As deflating as the result of yesterday’s game was for North Melbourne, Adelaide will be overjoyed. Stealing a win, thanks to Jarryd Petrenko’s last minute heroics, will be a big morale boost for the Crows – particularly because it puts them back in the top eight. Sam Kerridge was spectacular for the victors, kicking six goals.
10. (11) Carlton Blues – 5-4
While Mick Malthouse wasn’t happy with his side’s kicking for goal, Carlton must be pleased with the victory over Brisbane. Blues fans will be especially excited by Jarrad Waite’s return to top form.
11. (9) Richmond Tigers – 5-4
Once again, Richmond looked like the frustrating team that fans have known far too well over previous seasons. The Tigers struggled to find targets when they needed to and simply didn’t look like a side in contention for a spot in the top eight. Richmond faces a tough task in round ten, travelling to Perth to play West Coast next Monday night.
12. (12) Port Adelaide Power – 5-4
Port had a shocker of a start once again, and was unable to claw back an early deficit. Geelong kicked the first seven goals on Saturday – a margin that lasted until the final siren. The Power will be desperate to return to the winners list, and keep their finals chances alive, against the Bulldogs this Saturday night.
13. (13) St Kilda Saints – 2-7
Saints fans would have been hoping the good form shown in previous weeks would result in a win against the Western Bulldogs on Saturday. It didn’t eventuate though, with the Bulldogs running away with the game in the final quarter. Champion Nick Riewoldt was outstanding again but couldn’t lift his side to victory.
14. (15) Gold Coast Suns – 4-5
The Suns impressed everyone at the MCG yesterday when they pushed the Hawks for four quarters. Unfortunately for Gold Coast fans, they fell short of an unlikely victory. Gary Ablett was sensational once again, and young forward Aaron Hall kicked a career-best five goals. The form of Gold Coast has been terrific in the last few weeks. The Suns will hope it continues when Ablett returns to Geelong this week.
15. (14) Brisbane Lions – 3-6
Following on from the surprise victory over Essendon last week, the Lions would have seen their match-up with the Blues as another winnable game. After leading at half time, the Lions were overpowered by the Blues. But Brisbane fought it out until the end – coach Michael Voss couldn’t be disappointed by his players’ efforts.
16. (16) Western Bulldogs – 2-7
It looked like the Bulldogs set themselves for the match against St Kilda – a game they were a real chance of winning. A six-goal final quarter gave the Dogs a win and a real boost for loyal fans. The Bulldogs are a chance of backing up the victory with another when they play the Power in Darwin this week.
17. (17) Greater Western Sydney Giants – 0-9
The Giants simply ran into a better team this week, and were smashed by 100 points by the Eagles. Taylor Adams continued his good form, collecting 28 disposals for GWS. Adams continues to impress in his second AFL season.
18. (18) Melbourne Demons – 1-8
The Demons looked to have finally turned a corner after their competitive effort against Richmond in round eight. Sadly, their endeavour against Fremantle was a step backwards. Considering Melbourne will meet Hawthorn and Geelong in the next two weeks, Dees fans may have to wait a little longer to see a few more signs of improvement.