- Richmond (Last week, -)
Even with a shock loss to the Giants up at Spotless Stadium, the premiers stay on top, falling just short of a come from behind win. The loss means that all four losses for the Tigers in 2018 have come outside Victoria. Richmond play St. Kilda Friday night at Etihad Stadium.
2. West Coast (+1)
The travelling Eagles had an extremely impressive win against the in-form Pies to claim a big scalp at the MCG, possibly reducing fears about their ability to win in Melbourne. However, the bigger story may be Nic Naitanui, who succumbed to a potentially season ending knee injury. Can they win the flag without him will be the big question over the next two months.
3. Collingwood (-1)
Collingwood fell to West Coast by 35 points at home, and would rue their inability to take their chances particularly in the first half where they had the better of the play. Another big test awaits this week against North Melbourne where they should have Mason Cox back.
4. Sydney (-)
The Swans survived a frantic game against the Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium, running out six-point winners. Youngster Ben Ronke kicked five to continue his impressive debut year. They will monitor skipper Josh Kennedy who did not finish the game with back spasms and may play this week when they take on the Suns.
5. Port Adelaide (-)
The Power were beaten by Fremantle at Optus Stadium in an ugly game hampered by rain, denting their hopes of finishing in the top two. Port may have bigger concerns, with coach Ken Hinkley saying ruckman Paddy Ryder will miss multiple weeks with a hip flexor injury while Robbie Gray is doubtful to play against the Giants after suffering a concussion.
6. Melbourne (+1)
A blistering third quarter in which the Demons kicked seven straight goals in 12 minutes helped them beat the Bulldogs by 50 points. Concerns still linger over co-captain Jack Viney, who will miss at least a month with a foot injury. Melbourne head down the highway to GMHBA stadium to play the Cats in an all-important game Saturday night, hoping to truly cement themselves in the eight.
7. GWS (+4)
The AFL’s Ferrari moves up four spots after a big win against the Tigers. Lachie Whitfield showed out with 35 disposals which included 12 marks as the Giants held on to win by two points. They travel to Adelaide to play the Power on Sunday afternoon, needing to win to stay in the top eight.
8. Geelong (-2)
A disappointing third term where they conceded 42 points to the Crows made the job too hard for the Cats in the final term, falling by 15 points. The loss means Geelong stay with a group of five teams that could all fill the final spot in the top eight. Their game against Melbourne becomes all the more crucial after the loss.
9. North Melbourne (-1)
The Kangaroos fell just short at home to Sydney, losing by a single goal at Etihad Stadium, hurting their chances to play finals. The usual suspects of Jack Ziebell and Shaun Higgins starred with the former kicking five goals. North Melbourne will take on Collingwood Saturday afternoon at the MCG, a big game with finals implications.
10. Essendon (-)
Essendon ran out comfortable winners with an overwhelming second half against the Suns up at Metricon Stadium, staying in the top eight hunt. Zach Merrett continued to recap his 2017 form with 37 disposals while skipper Dyson Heppell had 36. The Bombers face Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon to keep their September hopes alive.
11. Adelaide (+1)
Perhaps boosted by the re-signing of star Rory Sloane, the Crows won by 15 points on Thursday night at home, keeping themselves in that group just outside the eight. They will need to continue this form when they travel to face the red hot Lions, without skipper Taylor Walker who was suspended for one game after a bump on Zach Tuohy.
12. Hawthorn (-3)
The finals chances of the Hawks were dealt a serious blow by the Lions at their usual fortress in Launceston. Hawthorn fell away as Brisbane kicked the last six goals of the game to run out 33-point winners. The Hawks will look to get back on the winners list this Sunday, facing Carlton at Etihad Stadium.
13. Brisbane (-)
The Lions won their third straight and had their second win against the Hawks this season, finishing comfortable winners. The young guns of Hugh McCluggage and Cam Rayner both impressed, continuing to show the bright future for the Lions. Brisbane will look to win their fourth straight for the first time since 2010, taking on the Crows at the Gabba.
14. Fremantle (+1)
The Dockers held on for a surprising win in shocking conditions at home against Port Adelaide. Veteran David Mundy thrived with more midfield time with his side missing Nat Fyfe with 29 disposals. Fremantle will look for their second straight win against Essendon in Melbourne on Saturday.
15. St. Kilda (+1)
The Saints smashed Carlton to the tune of 64 points on Friday night, a game in which they may have won by more with better accuracy. The Jacks of Steven, Steele and Billings had their way with the hapless Blues. St. Kilda face a much sterner test Friday night, facing the premiers Richmond at Etihad Stadium.
16. Western Bulldogs (-2)
Believe it or not, the Bulldogs actually lead Melbourne early in the third term but fell away miserably. The job only gets harder for the Dogs, travelling to Perth to take on the Eagles Sunday.
17. Gold Coast (-)
A spirited first half was followed up by an abhorrent showing in the second as the Suns fell to Essendon by 44 points. The Suns could only register two goals as the Bombers turned it on in the second half. Gold Coast head to Sydney in a big challenge for the young group.
18. Carlton (-)
Once again, the Blues were smashed by a struggling team to keep themselves at the bottom of the rankings. Remarkably, for the second week running Carlton lost a player to an irregular heart rate, this time ruckman Matthew Kreuzer going down early in the contest. It may get uglier this week, Carlton faces Hawthorn with the Hawks having to win to stay in touch with the top eight. Lock them in here for next week.