Mid-Season Review: Contenders and Pretenders

This season of AFL has definitely had its ups and downs. Although we are closer to September, I am still quite unsure about who is my favourite.


Sure, there are two clubs who have asserted themselves as the ones to beat; Richmond and West Coast. While Richmond are coming off a loss against Port, I think it was only a one-off. Dusty Martin should make his return soon, but it just goes to show what a Brownlow medallist can make.


As for the Weagles, they have not lost since Round 1, when they lost to the Swans in the inaugural game at Optus Stadium. Speaking about Sydney, they are one of two non-Perth teams to win there. They are also undefeated in six games away from home. But have they been convincing? Certainly not. They have won only three games at home, and trailed at half time to the Blues. Next week against the Eagles will reveal a lot about their premiership credentials, and their ability to play well on their own deck.


The other team to win at Optus Stadium is North Melbourne. What a meteoric rise by the Roos! I do not think anybody expected them to be in the top 8 halfway through the season, and if you did, you would have been the laughing stock of 20,000 punters. Looking at their wins at the time, they look great. But before I can see them as a genuine contender, I need to see some consistency.


Collingwood and Melbourne have almost established themselves as top teams. Almost. The Pies did beat the Demons on Monday, so that is a massive leap forward for them. They should get through their next three unscathed, but we will learn if they are the real thing when they play four top four contenders; West Coast, North Melbourne, Richmond and Sydney. If they win two of those games, they should be making finals.


It is harder to get a clear view on the Demons at the moment. Classic Melbourne, isn’t it? They always manage to choke on the big stage. They did it against Hawthorn, and then again against Richmond on Anzac Eve, before being disposed of in front of 80,000 against the Pies on Queen’s Birthday. Only time will tell.


Geelong and Port Adelaide, like Sydney, have been good without setting the world on fire. Again, we will have to wait and see where they sit in the pecking order. Adelaide have been hit by injuries and are yet to recover. And while Hawthorn sits at 11th on the ladder, their run home will put them in the mix for a top 8 position.


What can we gather from this? Well, I think Geelong and Melbourne are classy enough to join the Eagles and Tiges in the top eight. In fact, West Coast and Richmond are pretty safe bets for top four positions. I think Sydney is good enough to make it in, but their next month will be crucial in whether they make top four or not. Everybody down to Hawthorn at 11th spot is a chance to make it, whereas I believe Essendon have left their run too late, and I am ruling them, and anybody below them, out of calculations.


My Final Predictions


West Coast and Richmond to make the top four, with Geelong and Sydney just squeezing in. Melbourne and North Melbourne will be next in line, while Collingwood, Port Adelaide and Hawthorn will be contending for the final two spots. The Giants and Crows will not be far behind, but while they are not without a chance, they will fall short.


About Daniel Saunders

Yes, that's my Swans hoodie. Yes, those are swans in London. If you're reading this, I hope you enjoyed the ramble.


  1. Keiran Croker says

    Nice analysis Daniel. Lots of water to flow under the bridge as yet. I think our Swans will be thereabouts though some big games to come. If we can get Reid and Melican back in the mix that should help. I would not discount the Giants if they can get some key players back. It’s wide open in my opinion.

  2. Earl O'Neill says

    Thanx Dan, good work.
    The Eight won’t change, September is a new season, the Premier isn’t the best team of the year, it’s the best team of the Grand Final

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