A round ending on a Friday will never, ever feel normal.
So much so that I almost forgot to write this piece until during last night’s Brisbane versus Collingwood clash. There are not a lot of changes this week, except we have a new unenviable bottom-of-the-rankings side.
1. Geelong (last week: 1) Had the bye.
2. Port Adelaide (last week: 2) Had the bye.
3. West Coast (last week: 3) I mean, they earned the four points and survived another week in the treacherous Queensland hub. But it was a win without much substance, and they’d want to be a lot stronger against a dangerous Bulldogs side on Sunday. Liam Ryan was superb, though.
4. Richmond (last week: 4) I was very seriously considering bumping them above the Eagles, but the fact that – like that side – they won without shining simply wasn’t enough cause to promote them. The less said about yet another off-field controversy the better, too.
5. Brisbane Lions (last week: 5) Two rotations down for two quarters, and a pretty meh performance except for a superb second term, but that was enough to get the win. Q-Clash next up.
6. Collingwood (last week: 7) It was unlucky that Brisbane were ahead by over two goals, because the Pies had all of the momentum in that final term. Nonetheless, it is a loss that halves the advantage they held over the competing pack just outside of the eight.
7. St Kilda (last week: 6) Had the bye.
8. GWS Giants (last week: 9) That was an important win, but like a lot of games this week, it wasn’t a particularly memorable victory. They’re back in the top eight for now, and looking more likely to make the finals than, say, two weeks ago.
9. Melbourne (last week: 8) That was the most Melbourne-esque performance the Dees could’ve possibly produced. I’ll leave it at that.
10. Carlton (last week: 10) It was not as disappointing a loss as last week’s capitulation against Collingwood, but the Blues would be disappointed with officially slamming shut their finals hopes. In saying that, they have opportunities to a secure a few more wins in their final few weeks over Sydney and Adelaide.
11. Western Bulldogs (last week: 11) Had the bye.
12. Essendon (last week: 12) They were so good across much of the ground, but horrific work inside 50 let them down badly. A slow start – emblematic of the Dons recently – also didn’t help their cause. Lots of the puzzle pieces are there, but it’s those missing pieces that seem to eternally frustrate the Bombers and their fans.
13. Gold Coast (last week: 13) Had the bye.
14. Fremantle (last week: 14) They were similar to Essendon in many ways. The Dockers played vastly better than I expected against the Tigers, but some poor finishing and inability to hit the scoreboard hurt them, a lot. It was a very real case of the margin not representing the actual game, unfortunately for Freo.
15. Sydney Swans (last week: 16) The Swans have been bad this year, but they’ve always been a lot better than the trio of teams below them here (the GWS game demonstrated that). Their win over the Dees furthered that hypothesis, though it remains to be seen if they’re just luckily playing teams at their worst.
16. Adelaide (last week: 18) And thus, the streak is broken. Sorry to those weirdos who wanted to see a winless season (hello!), that ain’t happening. The Crows played like a team full of confidence, and if they replicate that form, I can see them sneaking at least one more win in the next three weeks (most likely, Carlton on September 13).
17. North Melbourne (last week: 15) Had the bye.
18. Hawthorn (last week: 17) Horrendous. The writing was always on the wall that a team would lose to Adelaide – history proved that – but the Hawks wouldn’t have expected how poorly they played. And yes, last is apt for the Hawks right now. I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve ever had them 18th in three years doing this column.