Here are the power rankings after round 10. Note, these rankings aren’t merely about current form – you have the real ladder for that – but also takes into account player availability, perception and prophecies.
1)GWS; current ladder position2nd; last week (power rankings) 1st
On Sunday, the Giants finally ended their Eagles hoodoo with an impressive eight-point victory in Perth. Withstanding a ferocious early Eagles onslaught, the Giants’ growing maturity was evident as they controlled proceedings and should have won more easily if not for errant kicking at goal.
Impressively, the Giants won despite having a current injury scourge with numerous stars sidelined. The victory spoke of their vaunted depth and mental fortitude to prevail against the odds.
The Giants are starting to build an aura and you feel aren’t just the team to beat this season – they should own the rest of the decade and perhaps even longer.
2) Adelaide; ladder position 1st; last week 2nd
The Crows are rediscovering their electric best with an utter evisceration of the Dockers in perhaps the most one-sided match this season. When Adelaide are rolling, there isn’t a more irresistible force with their vaunted firepower just too hard to stymie.
Astoundingly, the Crows should have won by far greater than 100 points – they had 43 scoring shots to 13 but were inaccurate. After a couple of perplexing weeks in rounds 7-8, the Crows have seemingly clicked into gear in an ominous warning to the competition.
3) Western Bulldogs; ladder position4th; last week 4th
The reigning premiers jumped four places on the ladder after a convincing victory over the upstart Saints. It was perhaps their most convincing display with the Bulldogs looking engaged for the entirety, a refreshing change from a season thus far blighted by inconsistency.
As they head into the bye back in the top 4, the Bulldogs can be satisfied that they are in the top echelon but will be fully aware that they need to improve considerably.
4) Port Adelaide; ladder position 8th; last week 3rd
The Power lost a thriller against the Cats in Geelong – which is certainly no disgrace. With a game in hand, the Power are still in the eight and boast a formidable percentage of 144 meaning they are well on track to make finals unless things go horribly awry.
However the heartbreaking loss to the Cats, exacerbated by Charlie Dixon’s late brain fade trying to milk the clock, could prove costly in their bid to make the top 4.
5) Geelong; ladder position 3rd; last week 5th
The Cats have mustered a couple of impressive performances with tight victories over the Bulldogs and Power to showcase far more substance shaking off a lingering malaise.
However, the Cats’ fortress of Kardinya Park doesn’t quite look as impregnable compared to their halcyon days suggesting some vulnerability despite an impressive 7-3 record.
6) West Coast; ladder position 6th; last week 6th
The Eagles were gallant against GWS losing by just eight points despite leading for a good chunk of the contest. However, the Giants dictated play by dominating around the contest and the score line flattered the Eagles, who lost for just the fourth time at home in their last 30 matches.
However, the Eagles will be feeling mightily relieved with the news spearhead Josh Kennedy – their most valuable player – has dodged a bullet and will likely miss three weeks with a calf injury. There were fears Kennedy had suffered a season ending Achilles injury when he was helped off the field in the last quarter against the Giants.
7) Richmond; ladder position 5th; last week 11th
On Saturday night, beleaguered Tigers fans could feel that familiar sinking feeling. Richmond should have had the game in hand against the Bombers but errant kicking at goal kept the scores close. It seemed like the Tigers were headed for another disastrous meltdown.
However, the Tigers gutted it out to snap a four-game losing streak and leave them in a decent position at 6-4. They face a crunch game against North Melbourne on Saturday night heading into the bye, a match that could shape their season for better or worse.
8) Melbourne;ladder position 9th; last week 12th
We’re at the stage of these rankings where teams are getting hard to read and are moving around on a weekly basis. The Demons have moved up four spots after a convincing second-half display against the Suns in the Gold Coast.
At their best, the Demons are probably the best equipped team out of this middle pack but – as their 5-5 record indicates – have yet to string it together. Seemingly gelling in the backend against the Suns, perhaps the bye has come at an inopportune time.
9) St Kilda; ladder position 10th; last week 8th
Unlike the Demons, the bye has come at a perfect time for the stuttering Saints who have lost convincingly in consecutive weeks. Sometimes we can be guilty of overhyping upstart teams and that may have been the case with the Saints after they had won 5 from 6.
Despite the hiccups, the Saints are well placed longer term although one would not be surprised if they fall away in the second-half of the season.
10) Fremantle; ladder position 7th; last week 9th
Against the Crows in Adelaide, Fremantle were blown off the park losing by 100 points – and the scoreboard flattered them. It was a major step back for the upstart Dockers, who had been building much goodwill during this transition season. However, these types of setbacks are going to happen occasionally against very good sides and should not derail the steady rebuilding job.
Coach Ross Lyon will be seeking a fiery response from his charges in a highly winnable game against Collingwood at home on Sunday.
11) Sydney: ladder positon 15th; last week 7th
The surging Swans propelled into the top eight of these rankings last week, such confidence I had invested in them. As per this crazed season, the Swans were upset by their old foes Hawthorn in a major boil over to cruel their finals hopes.
Lance Franklin continued his spectacular season with a scintillating display but the Swans are walking a tightrope after losing their opening six games. They can ill-afford too many more slipups but perhaps it’s all a lost cause anyway.
12)Essendon:ladder position 11th; last week 10th
The Bombers started white hot against Richmond in a continuation of their thorough demolition of West Coast previously. Perhaps they got ahead of themselves as the Bombers were totally outplayed for the rest of the game and only hung on due to Richmond’s inaccuracies.
Like so many teams, the Bombers have struggled to find consistency and face a litmus test when they play GWS on the road in their last match before the bye.
13)North Melbourne: ladder position 14th; last week 13th
The Kangaroos won a fairly blah contest against the Blues but have kept their finals dreams alive at 4-6 and boast a respectable percentage of 96. The Kangaroos’ season will go on the line against the Tigers on Saturday night, in a match they will fancy their chances in.
Whatever eventuates, one suspects the Kangaroos will shape the eight in the second-half of the season testament to their innate competiveness.
14) Hawthorn: ladder position 14th; last week 17th
The injury-plagued Hawks defied the odds to win a memorable encounter against the Swans with inspirational skipper Jarryd Roughead kicking the match-winning goal with a minute left. Their ageing stars turned back the clock, particularly sage Hawk Shaun Burgoyne who showcased trademark poise in a fitting performance during the Indigenous round.
At 4-6, the Hawks are still a contender for finals although a languishing percentage of 79 is probably a more accurate reflection of their standing.
15) Collingwood: ladder position 12th; last week 15th
The Pies feasted on the carcass of the Lions and have steadied the ship with consecutive victories. Momentarily, embattled coach Nathan Buckley has a welcome breather. The Pies are another difficult team to read; they don’t appear to be a legitimate finals contender yet sport a percentage of over 100, just a fraction less than sixth-placed West Coast.
If they do have dreams of playing finals, the Pies must defeat the Dockers in Perth on Sunday.
16) Gold Coast: ladder position 16th; last week 14h
Gold Coast started bright before being overrun by the Demons at home – a major red flag considering the Suns were coming off the bye. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of fight in this group perhaps a manifestation of the continual shenanigans dogging this group.
Compounding this, superstar Gary Ablett continues to be linked to his former club Geelong as it appears inevitable he heads home after the season.
17) Carlton: current position 17th; last week 16th
The Blues are losing games and they are suitably positioned at 17th. However, the Blues haven’t fallen off, they impressively remain competitive. The Blues are well coached, boast talented youngsters and are moulding into a gritty team.
These are characteristics that should warm the hearts of the Blues faithful.
18) Brisbane: current position 18th; last week 18th
The Lions were competitive in patches against the Pies in a pleasing sign after recent thrashings. It’s going to be a bleak second-half of the season and the floodgates could well open. However, the Lions just have to keep sticking with youth and hope they uncover some gems.