By the time you read this piece, Monday’s Port versus Western Bulldogs clash will be less than 12 hours away. We’re in the midst of a footy marathon, and it’s glorious.
Quick note to all Victorian Roarers: stay safe, stay healthy, stay sensible. All my thoughts are with you during this turbulent time.
Last week: 1
Well, if last week’s promotion to top spot was a little too early, Saturday night’s brilliant clash with Geelong just about solidified the Eagles as the competition’s strongest team. Coming from behind – and becoming only the second team to win a game while trailing at three quarter time – they secured a victory over the Cats. Brilliant.
Last week: 2
Yes, there were questions about umpiring. But even without the adjudication issues, Brisbane were far and away the stronger outfit. Especially pleasing to see Lachie Neale continually solidifying his Brownlow favouritism – he remains close to my favourite player from an opposition side.
Last week: 3
Perhaps their easiest win of the year. There’s not too much to be learnt from Port’s Thursday night domination, but they’ll be happy to bounce back after unexpectedly dropping a clash at home against the Saints the week prior.
Last week: 5
Lost, but won’t be too ashamed in defeat. Saturday night’s match with the Eagles was a genuinely superb clash (a rarity this round). The loss does mean that they’re leaving Perth 1-2, ahead of games against North (should win) and St Kilda (should be a cracker).
Last week: 6
Three in a row. The Saints sit in the top four – above not one but six of last year’s finalists. The trouble for the Saints now is whether or not they can stay there. I have doubts they’ll finish top four, but finals are well and truly on the table for the Sainters.
Last week: 9
“Richmond are back” is a regularly repeated phrase, particularly on this forum. But, hell, after Wednesday night I’m more inclined to believe it. Dustin Martin produced a legendary performance – and he had a superb supporting cast including Jack Riewoldt, Tom Lynch and Trent Cotchin.
Last week: 4
The Bulldogs are approaching a ridiculously critical duo of clashes: Port Adelaide and Brisbane. Lose both, and they’re in mammoth trouble. Win one or both, and they remain outside finals (or flag) contenders. Such is life for Luke Beveridge’s deeply inconsistent side.
Last week: 11
Not the prettiest win you’ll ever see – far from it – but it thrust the Giants back into the eight. For all his foibles, it was genuinely sad to see Toby Greene hobble from the field with a hamstring injury. He looked properly devastated (and for good reason, given he is, bar none, GWS’ most integral player).
Last week: 7
If there’s a week they’d like to redo, this would be it. Sunday’s clash was flattered by the 12-point margin, coming a day after Nathan Buckley and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson were fined for breaching COVID regulations. Not a good one for the competition’s most powerful club and its outspoken leaders.
Last week: 8
Yes, Essendon did have umpiring woes to contend with. But no, they didn’t deserve to win, and honestly, I can’t say I’ll be tipping them next week. They remain in the hunt for finals, but there’s too much mystery surrounding them that I’d be hesitant to hypothesise anything this far out.
Last week: 10
A few nice moments, but it’s a game nobody will remember. Me hyping him up on Saturday and then Izak Rankine having a quiet clash and kicking 0.1 just goes to show that sports journalism is a feeble business.
Last week: 12
So, so good early. So, so bad for the rest of the clash. I know the Bluebaggers have a poor record against the Hawks, but that was an especially disappointing loss. It was a win they needed to keep up a finals pursuit, and they failed at the hurdle. Time to recover, though.
Last week: 15
Caleb Serong is just six games into his career, and he’s been Fremantle’s best two weeks in a row. And despite what I myself wrote just two days ago, he is a legitimate contender for the Rising Star. As a whole, Freo’s victory was a superb one. Hawthorn and the Blues up next: both winnable, but not at all guaranteed for the Dockers.
Last week: 14
Pretty mediocre night all around for the Swans, exacerbated by the Dockers’ win a day later, which sent Sydney into second last on percentage again. They maybe sneak a win against a wounded Collingwood next week, but Sydney’s prospects are bleak at the moment.
Last week: 16
They needed that win, even if it was only over the Crows. Only their second win since the season restart, the Kangaroos were a joy to watch for many reasons. The biggest reason of all: Majak Daw’s return. Absolutely heart-warming, and a very real motivation to anybody who needs help. It’s available.
Last week: 17
I didn’t expect that. After a week when they – and their coach – were ravaged by the media, the Hawks almost added fuel to that fire with a horror opening to the clash. Instead, they bounced back with intensity and secured a much needed win. Freo up next.
Last week: 13
Their rise up the rankings comes to a complete and total halt, and down they go. I hate saying this for more than one team per week, but the Dees were horrendous on Thursday. I don’t have a whole lot else to say about Simon Goodwin’s men.
Last week: 18
They weren’t winning, but over the past fortnight they showed… something. Whatever it was, it wasn’t there on Saturday afternoon. Horrendously bad.