AFL 3 years ago

How will the top 8 finish?

  • How will the top 8 finish?
  • How will the top 8 finish?
  • How will the top 8 finish?
Three rounds remain and it is the closest run to the finals in recent memory.  All finals spots are mathematically still up for grabs but how will the ladder look at the end of Round 23? It looks like 12 wins might not be enough to sneak into finals action.

Let’s take a look (wins are in bold)

1st – Fremantle (18-4, 72 points)

v North (away)

v Melbourne (home)

v Port (away)

Fremantle are far from playing their best, but will do enough to win the next two games against far inferior opposition. In the last round, they will rest half their team in scenes reminiscent of 2013 and go down to Port Adelaide as they ease their way towards the finals.

2nd – West Coast (17-4-1, 70 points)

v Bulldogs (home)

v Adelaide (away)

v St.Kilda (home)

Despite being crippled defensively, the Eagles remain the season’s surprise packet and will start favourites in their last three games.  Both the Bulldogs and Crows provide stiff opposition but Adam Simpson has this side primed to go deep into September and possibly October.

3rd – Hawthorn (17-5, 68 points)

v Port Adelaide (home)

v Brisbane (home)

v Carlton (home)

The most ridiculously easy run home any finals contender has had in years.  Three mediocre opponents figure to provide nothing more than a glorified training run for a team that will likely rest most of its players ahead of a likely qualifying final with West Coast. They will hope the Eagles slip up so the game is played at the MCG and not Domain Stadium.

4th – Sydney (16-6, 64 points)

v GWS (away)

v St.Kilda (away)

v Gold Coast (away)

Yet another easy run home and it’s a good thing for the Swans that it is the case. Without Franklin they look one-dimensional and very bland, and now they face an extended period without likely top 3 best and fairest finisher Luke Parker.  Need to be wary of the Giants this weekend as a top four spot disappears with one loss.

5th – Bulldogs (15-7, 60 points)

v West Coast (away)

v Kangaroos (away)

v Brisbane (away)

The hottest team in the league who have captured the imagination of the league.  Despite 2015 widely being considered a consolidation year, the Dogs have taken all before them on the back of a dominant record at Etihad Stadium.  They might find the Eagles a little too much this weekend, but it wouldn’t surprise if they won this weekend and charged into the top 4. What a game that promises to be on Sunday afternoon even if the Doggies coach doesn't think so

6th – Richmond (15-7, 60 points)

v Collingwood (home)

v Essendon (away)

v North (home)

The Tigers do not leave Melbourne for the remainder of the season and face three very winnable games, but will desperate to get some consistency in their game.  A remarkable win against Hawthorn was followed by a loss to Adelaide; their fans are hoping for a flicker of hope after 32 barren years and Richmond are desperate to finally have some final success.

7th – Geelong (13-8-1, 54 points)

v St.Kilda (away)

v Collingwood (away)

v Adelaide (home)

The Cats are step below the top teams but luckily they don’t play any of them in the run home.  While all three games are far from a sure thing, the Round 23 clash against Adelaide may well decide two things - 8th spot and the prized signature of Patrick Dangerfield. Look for the Cats to sneak into the top 8 and be a very tough out once there.

8th - Adelaide (12-9-1, 50 points)

v Brisbane (home)

v West Coast (home)

v Geelong (away)

Adelaide face a very tough run home in the last fortnight, but firstly should pulverise Brisbane this weekend. Percentage is critical in the race for the finals and their 11 goal last quarter against Essendon last weekend gave them a massive leg-up. The way this playing group has responded to the Phil Walsh tragedy has been a credit to them, and most footy fans wouldn’t begrudge them a finals spot.

9th – North (12-10, 48 points)

v Fremantle (home)

v Bulldogs (home)

v Richmond (loss)

North are in the box seat as the ladder sits after Round 20, a game and a half inside the eight. But it is all about to fall down with a very tough run home as they play three of the top six teams in the league.  All are better teams than North and will be fighting for finals spots, so mark North down to finish ninth with the pressure sure to rise on coach Brad Scott.  This guy has it spot on

So the first week of finals would give us Fremantle-Sydney, West Coast-Hawthorn, Bulldogs-Adelaide and Richmond-Geelong…I don’t think I am alone in saying bring it on!

               

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