Friday 20 October 2017 / 10:47 AM

AFL ROUND 6 POWER RANKINGS

Here are your AFL power rankings after round 6. 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) Adelaide Crows; current ladder position 1st; last week (power rankings) 1st

It’s still early but the Crows’ incredible start to the season has vaulted them into clear premiership favoritism. They run in waves and are continually eviscerating teams in what has been a relatively difficult schedule to start the season.

The Crows have already scored 100 points more than anyone else and their firepower looks unwavering. Only those freewheeling Geelong teams during Gary Ablett Snr’s primes of 1989 and 1992 averaged more points per game.

2) GWS Giants; ladder position 2nd; last week 2nd

The Giants extracted some revenge with a thrilling victory over the Western Bulldogs, in another epic encounter between these two burgeoning rivals. The Giants overcame the Bulldogs’ best effort of the season to claim a stirring victory. Their spread of star power throughout ensures they can switch gears and turn a match around quickly.

The Giants are building momentum having won five straight after an opening round loss to Adelaide on the road.

3) Western Bulldogs; ladder position 7th; last week 4th

It might seem a bit strange that the Bulldogs have moved up a spot on this ladder after a loss. Despite sporting a 4-1 record heading in, a lethargic Bulldogs had been underwhelming but a marquee matchup with their newfound nemesis provided the tonic they needed. The Bulldogs played their best match of the season and should have won if not for poor goal kicking in the first half.

Time will tell if the Bulldogs have the sustained hunger or whether they will merely get up for the big matches. However, they proved on Friday night that their best can match it with the cream of the AFL.

4) Geelong; ladder position 3rd; last week 3rd  

Geelong benefited from a lacklustre schedule to win their opening five matches but couldn’t take advantage of their never ending soft draw against the besieged Magpies in round 6. The Cats were shell-shocked by a desperate Collingwood and even their superstars were unable to provide customary late heroics.

The Cats have been hard to judge due to their inconsistencies; they are either brilliant or ordinary. Geelong appear to be a top 4 team, most certainly a top 6 side, but feel a tad below the top 3 on this ladder.

5) Port Adelaide; ladder position 5th; last week 6th

Like good sides should, the Power are crushing the weak and helpless. They torched the lowly Lions in Brisbane and now boast a massive percentage of 152, which is just second to the imperious Crows.

The Power have envious firepower highlighted by an in-form Paddy Ryder, who has become one of the best ruckman in the game. They seem like the team with the most upside outside of the top four on this ladder.

6) Richmond; ladder position 4th; last week 5th

The Tigers predictably came back to earth with a thud during a huge loss to the rampaging Crows in Adelaide. It is probably unfair to judge them too harshly considering the Crows are looking impregnable.

Still, it was a disappointing rollover from the Tigers after quarter-time and raises questions marks over their legitimacy. At 5-1, the Tigers shouldn’t panic but face another litmus test against the Bulldogs in round 7.

7) West Coast; ladder position 6th; last week 7th

It was almost inevitable; West Coast recorded a resounding victory after returning to the comforts of home. It follows a familiar pattern in recent times for the Eagles and does nothing more than reinforce their unwanted ‘flat-track’ moniker.

West Coast won’t be able to exorcise their MCG hoodoo any time soon but can quieten the doubters by knocking off the white hot Power in Adelaide. Unlike the MCG, West Coast has a formidable record at the Adelaide Oval having won four of five matches there.

8) St Kilda; ladder position 9th; last week 8th

The Saints continued their growing momentum and confidence by thrashing the Hawks in Tasmania. They controlled the match from the start and ruthlessly plundered the Hawks in a sign of growing maturity.

The Saints were plunged into the rumour frenzy with a report coming out of Perth that Fremantle captain Nat Fyfe was set to join St Kilda. It was instantly dismissed by all and sundry, and could very well not happen.

But, from purely a football viewpoint, it’s not entirely ridiculous to think Fyfe could – stress could – be tempted by the emerging Saints, who are clearly a team on the rise.

9) Melbourne; ladder position 8th; last week 11th

After a listless three weeks, the Demons returned to form with a convincing second half performance over Essendon. They were fortunate Essendon forward Joe Daniher continually misfired in the first half but the Demons took care of business after that to get their season back on track.

After a baffling start, the ladder is starting to take shape and the Demons seem likely to be battling with the upstart Saints for a finals berth. Right now, the Saints look a bit more impressive.

10) Essendon; ladder position 10th; last week 9th  

It was always going to be difficult for the Bombers coming off an emotional Anzac Day victory over Collingwood played in heavy conditions. A misfiring Daniher cruelled their chances and, predictably, the Bombers were overrun by the Demons in the second half.

Still, the Bombers are in decent shape at 3-3 but need to win those types of 50-50 games if they want to be a legitimate finals chance. The upcoming match against the Dockers in Perth looms as one such game they must win.

11) Fremantle: ladder positon 11th; last week 10th  

In a major anti-climax, a young Freo side, boasting eight Derby debutants, were eviscerated in the first quarter by a desperate Eagles side. The big stage overwhelmed the Dockers ending an encouraging three-game winning streak.

One major positive was the performance of key forward Cam McCarthy, who played a lone hand with three goals. After a sitting out football for a year, he still looks short of a gallop but appears to be the talented key forward Fremantle have long craved.

12) Gold Coast: ladder position 12th; last week 12th

Gary Ablett rewound the clock to produce one of his greatest ever performances with a 45-possession masterclass. Much like throughout Gold Coast’s miserable history, Ablett’s brilliance was played in a losing cause as the Suns were unable to beat a previously winless North Melbourne.

The Suns have shown encouragement after such a listless opening two weeks but frustratingly have still been unable to harness their abundance of talent.

13) Collingwood: ladder position 12th; last week 14th

The Pies responded to the reverberating criticism with a stirring upset victory over Geelong at the MCG. With coach Nathan Buckley’s job seemingly on the line, the Pies played a hardnosed brand to ruffle the previously unbeaten Cats.

It was akin to their memorable victory against the Swans in Sydney earlier in the season but the Pies have produced very little beyond that. Their inconsistencies have been jarring but the Pies have a golden opportunity to get their season back on track with a must win game against the Blues on Saturday.

14) North Melbourne: ladder position 15th; last week 16th

The Kangaroos finally enjoyed a deserved victory by edging out the Suns, much to the relief of coach Brad Scott who would have been worried that the continual painful losses was damaging the team’s confidence.

Former captain Andrew Swallow was dropped for the match, raising question marks over his future – the Kangaroos’ performance suggests he may be on the outer for a prolonged period.

15) Carlton: ladder position 14th; last week 18th

It’s already been a rollercoaster season for the Blues – who have enjoyed two upset victories but only boast a percentage of 75. There are tough times ahead for Carlton but you can see some encouraging signs and there is hope for beleaguered Blues fans.

They still seem headed for a bottom two berth but no one could have predicted the Blues would be ahead of powerhouses Hawthorn and Sydney after six rounds.

16) Hawthorn: ladder position 17th; last week 13th

Hawthorn’s renaissance was fleeting. Not even a return to their comforts of Tasmania could help them as they were thrashed by a youthful Saints in perhaps a symbolic changing of the guards. The Hawks will have flashes of their former brilliance but there is going to be a lot of pain – and plenty of smirk from all and sundry – for the remainder of the season.

17) Brisbane: current position 16th; last week 17th

Much like the Blues, who are in a similar fledgling stage of a rebuild, the Lions are going to endure plenty of heartache this year. They were predictably thrashed by Port Adelaide but there still feels much more spirit amongst the team than in previous years.

It’s going to be a slow rebuild and the emphasis from new coach Chris Fagan will be on competiveness.

18) Sydney: current position 18th; last week 15th

Sydney remain the only winless team – It feels entirely weird and surreal writing that. However, this isn’t some old creaky team nosediving in front of us.

Contrary to perception, the Swans are in the midst of a renewal and were on average younger than the rebuilding Blues boasting 12 players with less than 50 games experience. Sydney have a golden opportunity to break their duck when they play the Lions at home on Sunday.

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About the author

Tristan Lavalette

Tristan is a freelance journalist based in Perth. He has written for The Guardian, ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Previously he was a newspaper journalist for almost a decade.

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