Maybe that was the closest the Saints will get to losing; or maybe it’s the start of things closing up. Geelong and Adelaide could have gone either way, and the way Collingwood beat the Lions suggests they have to be close to being considered the 2nd best side in the comp.
Third and fourth place are still anyone’s, 8th spot, seems now down to 2… or 3… or 4!
Let’s break it down:
Essendon plays Brisbane (L), Saints (L), Fremantle (W), Hawks (?). Which puts them on 9 wins and 1 “maybe”.
Port plays Fremantle (W), Carlton (?), Brisbane (L), North (W). Which puts them on 11 wins and 1 “maybe”.
Hawks play the Saints (L), Crows (L), Richmond (W), Essendon (?). Which puts them on 9 wins and 1 maybe.
I said last week whoever won out of Port and the Hawks would come 8th. I’ll stand by that. Port to make the finals.
For the top 4:
Bulldogs plays West Coast (W), Brisbane (?), Geelong (?), Collingwood (?). Which puts them on 13 wins and 3 “maybes” plus a good percentage.
Collingwood play Adelaide (?), Richmond (W), Sydney (W), Bulldogs (?). Which puts them on 14 wins and 2 “maybes” plus on ok percentage.
Crows play Collingwood (?), Hawks (W), Eagles (W), Carlton (?). Which puts them on 13 wins and 2 “maybes”.
Brisbane plays Essendon (W), Bulldogs (?), Port (W), Sydney (W). Which puts them on 14 wins and 1 “maybe”.
Carlton plays Geelong (L), Port (?), Melbourne (W), Crows (?). Which puts them on 11 wins and 2 “maybes”
So the big games this week are Crows-Pies and Brisbane-Essendon. The Crows must win if they want to be top 4. If the Pies win, they’ll finish no worse than 4th, if they lose it’ll all come down to the Bulldogs-Pies game in the last round (and the Crows-Carlton game… oh and the Lions-Swans game… look the whole last round is going to be interesting!).
The AFL site has a fun predictive ladder to muck around with. You’ll quickly see no position is set in mud, let alone stone. For instance if results go their way, the Swans could make the finals on 10 wins! Hawthorn, Sydney and Port all have a percentage around 92%. Essendon have a percentage of about 100%, but I can easily see them only finishing on 9 wins. Lets give the Hawks 10 wins. If Port loses to Fremantle at Subiaco (not that impossible), and get beat by Carlton and then Brisbane at the Gabba, it will come down to their last game against North to see if they get to 10 wins.
Sydney has 7 wins, and plays Richmond and (big gulp), Geelong, Collingwood and Lions. OK. A huge ask. But the Geelong and Brisbane games are in Sydney. As the Saints if that was an easy win…. Let’s say they get 2 of those finals three, they’ll be on 10 wins (with a win over Richmond) and will be sweating on Port’s match against North.
All in all, it’s a great season.