The Tigers were terrific against the Eagles last night, but didn’t do enough to earn a spot in the top eight. The biggest winner of the weekend was Fremantle, who replaced Essendon in the top four this week. At the other end of the spectrum, the bottom four remains unchanged and looks to be set in stone.
1. (Last week – 2) Hawthorn Hawks – Record – 9-1
Despite a small lapse in dominance in the third quarter, the Hawks proved a class above the Demons on Sunday. Hawthorn heads into next week’s bye having won nine straight matches. The last five times the Hawks have achieved that feat, they’ve gone on to reach the Grand Final.
2. (1) Geelong Cats – 9-1
It was a big night for Geelong and its players appeared somewhat blinded by the lights for the first three quarters. However, Jimmy Bartel once again got the Cats over the line, earning praise from his coach. Geelong plays Greater Western Sydney next week before the bye.
3. (4) Sydney Swans – 7-1-2
The Swans were able to put a difficult week behind them and win well against the Bombers on Saturday. Adam Goodes continued his strong form with four goals, with Sydney looking like a genuine premiership threat once again.
4. (5) Fremantle Dockers – 7-1-2
As all good teams do, the Dockers managed to find a way to win on Saturday. Fremantle are holding onto a top four spot and are playing like a premiership contender. The Dockers go into the bye in top form, despite injuries to key players.
5. (3) Essendon Bombers – 7-3
In the past few years Essendon has started each season brilliantly before falling away around the halfway mark of the season. Bombers fans will be quietly nervous about it happening again this year, having now lost three of their last four matches. Essendon will try and stop the trend when it faces an improving Carlton on Friday night.
6. (6) Collingwood Magpies – 6-4
It took just 15 minutes for Collingwood to wrap up Friday’s match against Brisbane. Nathan Buckley’s move to put Ben Reid forward worked and may be something to look out for throughout the season. Collingwood now has a 10-day break to look forward to, before facing Melbourne on Queens Birthday.
7. (8) North Melbourne Kangaroos – 4-6
The best way to avoid a heartbreaking defeat is to win comfortably. The Kangaroos took their troubling finishes out of the equation with 16 scoring shots to one in the first quarter against the Saints on Sunday. North Melbourne faces the improving Gold Coast in a must win match this Saturday night.
8. (7) West Coast Eagles – 5-5
Coming off four consecutive victories, the Eagles were simply outclassed by the Tigers. After the first quarter, West Coast kicked a measly 5.11 to Richmond’s 14.4. The Eagles have a six day break ahead of them, before coming up against the Saints at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
9. (10) Carlton Blues – 6-4
Andrew Walker’s 34 disposals helped Carlton cruise to a comfortable victory over Greater Western Sydney on Saturday. The Blues will now prepare to play the Bombers this week.
10. (11) Richmond Tigers – 6-4
Richmond travelled to Perth for a game nobody thought they could win, only to walk away with the points. This was a landmark victory for the Tigers – a team claiming to have top eight credentials. It’s essential Richmond continues the form they showed last night after next week’s bye.
11. (9) Adelaide Crows – 5-5
Adelaide fell just short of stealing a win in the final minutes – unable to replicate last week’s heroics. The loss could prove costly for the Crows, as they continue to fight for a spot in the top eight. Adelaide will be hoping to upset Sydney at home this Saturday.
12. (12) Port Adelaide Power – 5-5
Port Adelaide has now lost five in a row, and things continue to worsen. Ken Hinkley described the loss as his side’s worst ‘by a long way’. The bye has come at the right time for the Power – they will take the week off to regroup before coming up against the Giants.
13. (14) Gold Coast Suns – 4-6
The Suns were level with the Cats at three quarter time on Saturday night, but were eventually overrun despite an unbelievable goal from Gary Ablett. Gold Coast fans will be glad to see their team matching Geelong for the majority of the game. Improvement like that will see Gold Coast become a finals contender in coming seasons.
14. (13) St Kilda Saints – 2-8
It didn’t matter that the Saints matched the Roos for the final three quarters on Sunday, because North Melbourne held a 55-point lead at quarter time. St Kilda will be hoping to start the match a little better next week in its Sunday clash with West Coast.
15. (15) Brisbane Lions – 3-7
Brisbane was terrible in its big Friday night match up against Collingwood. While the Lions had some key players out injured, they were beaten convincingly across all areas of the field. Michael Voss can’t afford another effort like that if he wants to stay on as coach.
16. (16) Western Bulldogs – 3-7
Ryan Griffen confirmed his status as a star of the competition with 40 possessions as the Dogs held off the Power in Darwin on Saturday night. A five goal to nothing third quarter gave the Dogs the lead, and did enough to hold on in the final quarter. After a disastrous start to the season, the Western Bulldogs will go into the bye after back-to-back wins.
17. (17) Greater Western Sydney Giants – 0-10
The Giants were competitive for two quarters against Carlton, but were blown away in the other two. GWS will aim to stay competitive for longer in games as their young side develops and follows the path of fellow expansion side Gold Coast.
18. (18) Melbourne Demons – 1-9
Nobody truly expected the Demons to beat the Hawks on Sunday, but their first half efforts were dreadful. With speculation growing that coach Mark Neeld may soon be out of a job, Melbourne continues to be a weekly embarrassment.