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AFL True Ladder: Round Seven

After a weekend of blockbusters, upsets and blowouts, Josh Barnes tinkers with the AFL True Ladder.

Round seven saw the Cats cement their position atop the True Ladder, courtesy of a classy win over the Bombers on Friday night. Several teams did enough to climb a position or two but sadly for Demons fans, Melbourne remains in the same spot it has occupied all season.

1. (Last week: 1) Geelong Cats – Record: 7-0

The Cats further stamped their authority on the 2013 season with a resounding win over the previously unbeaten Bombers on Friday night. The form of spearhead Tom Hawkins remains a concern, but Geelong suddenly seems more flexible, having switched Tom Lonergan into the forward line and James Podsiadly into the back half in recent weeks.

2. (2) Hawthorn Hawks – 6-1

It didn’t make up for the Grand Final loss, but Hawthorn got some revenge against Sydney on Saturday night. Buddy is back kicking goals and captain Luke Hodge continues to impress.

3. (4) Essendon Bombers – 6-1

It’s hard to know exactly what to take out of Essendon’s loss to Geelong. The Bombers were on fire midway through the second quarter, but were outplayed thereafter. Essendon finished the match with more scoring shots than Geelong, but couldn’t make the most of its chances.

4. (3) Sydney Swans – 5-2

Sydney was slow out of the blocks against Hawthorn and never managed to catch up. It was not the ideal start to a season defining month, with Sydney playing Fremantle, Collingwood and Essendon in the next three weeks.

5. (6) Fremantle Dockers – 5-2

Fremantle had its best win of the year so far, defeating Collingwood at home on Saturday night. The Dockers somehow continue to win without key forwards or ruckmen; replacement ruckman Jon Griffin is the latest Docker to succumb to injury. Fremantle travels to face Sydney in round eight in what shapes up as an important game for both sides.

6. (7) North Melbourne Kangaroos – 3-4

While there’ll be plenty of talk about Majak Daw’s six goals, Brent Harvey’s return was just as important. North travels to Perth to play West Coast on Friday night; a win would really set up the Kangaroos’ season.

7. (5) Collingwood Magpies – 4-3

The worries for Collingwood keep adding up. Travis Cloke needs more help in the forward line, and with Scott Pendlebury well held on Saturday, the Magpies’ midfield looked fairly unimpressive. Collingwood will be out to make a statement against Geelong next Saturday night.

8. (10) Richmond Tigers – 4-3

Damien Hardwick is already talking about finals. After Saturday’s match, he said: “we’ve got a squad of players that’s quite capable of taking this club where it hasn’t been for a period of time.” If the Tigers are to play finals this season they must continue to beat other sides competing for a spot in the eight. Saturday’s win against Port Adelaide was a good start.

9. (11) West Coast Eagles – 3-4

Anybody who believes Nic Naitanui is overrated should look at the Eagles’ results since he has returned. While the win over Brisbane wasn’t entirely convincing, West Coast is slowly returning to the type of form we saw in 2012.

10. (11) Adelaide Crows – 3-4

Despite the ridiculous 10-goal haul from Tom Lynch, Sunday’s win over Greater Western Sydney was nothing more than a good morale booster. Having said that, percentage may become important for Adelaide later in the season.

11. (8) Port Adelaide Power – 5-2

In the first half against the Tigers, the Power looked like their old selves – and not in a good way. Port managed to fight back in the second half, but the initial slow start proved too much to overcome. On the positive side, skipper Travis Boak continued his terrific form.

12. (9) Carlton Blues – 3-4

There were positives for Carlton fans amidst last night’s loss to St Kilda. The Blues fought back late and never gave up, despite a number of injury concerns throughout the night. It was far from a good night for the Blues though; in the absence of Jarrad Waite, their forward line looked dysfunctional for most of the match.

13. (13) St Kilda Saints – 2-5

Aside from a late scare, St Kilda was very impressive last night. The Saints’ midfield looked full of run, while skipper Nick Riewoldt continues to play at a standard we haven’t seen since 2009-10, when he was close to the best player in the game.

14. (14) Brisbane Lions – 2-5

Michael Voss could struggle to hold onto his job if he doesn’t engineer a couple of upset wins. The loss to the Eagles couldn’t have come at a worse time; the Lions don’t play a team below them on the true ladder until round 15.

15. (16) Gold Coast Suns – 3-4

While Melbourne played poorly, Sunday was a landmark day for Gold Coast. The Suns won their first ever game in Victoria and, in a rare performance, dominated from start to finish. Guy McKenna’s job appears safe for the time being.

16. (15) Western Bulldogs – 1-6

The Bulldogs were well in the game until late in the third quarter on Saturday, only to fade out in the last quarter. The Western Bulldogs play Gold Coast this Saturday; a win would ease pressure on coach Brendon McCartney.

17. (17) Greater Western Sydney Giants – 0-7

It takes a mighty effort to lose by 135 points and not move down on the True Ladder. Sadly, it says more about Melbourne than Greater Western Sydney. Giants fans must continue to stay positive and look to the future.

18. (18) Melbourne Demons – 1-6

Just when we thought things couldn’t get worse for the Demons, they turned in a simply disgraceful performance against the Suns. Melbourne looked disinterested and was never in the game. Who knows where the Dees go from here.

Josh Barnes is a first-year Bachelor of Journalism (sport) student at La Trobe University. You can follow him on Twitter: @barnseyy

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