The Essendon Football Club has made history for all the wrong reasons this season.
Their indiscretions have led to an extra spot in the finals being available and with one round to go this creates an interesting weekend ahead.
So let’s put Essendon aside and concentrate on the 2013 finals series.
The teams definitely in the finals so far are:
- Port Adelaide
The final standings could vary if a few upsets occur.
Fremantle could rise to 2nd spot and gain a home final if Geelong loses to Brisbane.
Collingwood will rise to 5th if they beat North Melbourne and Richmond lose to Essendon; this will change their finals opponent but not the venue.
Sydney could very well beat Hawthorn and regulate the Hawks to 2nd place if Geelong beat Brisbane.
If Hawthorn does get over the Swans then they will meet again in the first week of finals.
And The Final Spot Goes To…
The teams that are still in contention to play finals are Carlton, Adelaide Crows, North Melbourne, Brisbane and West Coast.
So what do each team need to do to get over the line?
Well for Carlton the equation is very simple – win against Port Power and the spot is there’s.
Lose and they are still a chance to sneak in.
If Brisbane and North Melbourne lose their games and the margin for the winner of the Crows and West Coast clash isn’t enough to overhaul the Blues percentage then they will qualify.
For the Adelaide Crows to see any September action they will need their cross-town rivals, Port Adelaide, to beat Carlton comfortably and of course do their share of the work and thrash West Coast.
If Carlton beat Port then the pipe dream will be over and if they fail to beat West Coast by roughly 8 goals then the spot will go beckoning.
They also need North Melbourne and Brisbane to lose against Collingwood and Geelong, respectively.
For Brisbane to take Essendon’s spot, the Lions will have to conquer the hardest road trip in football and face Geelong at Skilled stadium.
This appears unlikely, however stranger things have happened.
Beating the Cats and Carlton losing to Port would see this side grasp 8th spot.
The percentage happy Kangaroos are the most talented side outside of the 8 without a doubt.
North Melbourne has to beat Collingwood and hope Carlton and Brisbane lose their matches.
The prospect of having North Melbourne in the finals will have a few sides quaking in their boots.
Their impressive percentage is indicative of how many close matches the exciting side has had and their uncanny ability to lose the unlosable games could be rectified with this late in the season lifeline.
West Coast has a very slim chance of making the finals but it is technically possible so they will be having a red-hot crack this weekend.
The Eagles would have to demolish the Crows by a huge margin of around 100 points depending on how much Carlton loses to Port Adelaide.
All the other teams in contention would have to lose for West Coast to win a finals berth.
Who Would Make The Most Of The Spot?
North Melbourne has challenged the best in the business this season and has been very impressive.
The Kangaroos have been fighting mental demons this season with games slipping through their fingers when they were seemingly in the bag.
But when this side is playing at their best they can match it with anyone and could really shake up these finals series.
Collingwood will be keen to continue their mounting form leading into their elimination final and won’t take any prisoners against the Kangaroos.
If Carlton grabs the spot they could very well set themselves for a final against their long-time rivals in Richmond.
The inexperienced and finals rookies in Richmond could very well bow down to experienced campaigner Mick Malthouse and his men.
The Adelaide Crows have played very few impressive games to indicate that they can challenge any finals sides if they gain the spot.
The injury stricken side has blooded many youngsters this season and may find it within themselves to thrash West Coast and be hopping on a plane to Melbourne next weekend.
A new lease on life attitude could see this Crows side make a real fist of it this weekend.
The remaining sides in Brisbane and West Coast would have to triumph against enormous odds this weekend to grasp the spot and could stumble the following week after such exertion.
Carlton to maintain its current 8th spot.
Carlton will lose to Port Power but not by a big enough margin for the Adelaide Crows to have the opportunity to pass the Blues on percentage.