GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 13: Jeremy Cameron of the Giants celebrates a goal during the 2019 AFL round 04 match between the Geelong Cats and the GWS Giants at GMHBA Stadium on April 13, 2019 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos/Getty Images)
  1. West Coast (-)

Despite their opening round loss, the Eagles have looked every bit as good as they did last year in their premiership season. Their showdown win over Fremantle wasn’t pretty but definitely got the job done. The major win came against Collingwood. A 22-point win saw the Eagles control large parts of the game and the return of Andrew Gaff proved his importance to the side.

  1. GWS (+3)

Somehow GWS keep losing key players and not suffering one bit as a result. This past weekend’s win at Geelong was one the biggest in the club’s short history. The Giants are not riding the abilities of one or two players either. Jeremy Cameron leads the Coleman while the likes of Coniglio, Kelly, Whitfield and Taranto are performing week in, week out. The Giants are a real threat this season and will push West Coast for top spot in the rankings.

  1. Geelong (+1)

Geelong’s performances this season are underlined by the fact that despite losing against GWS, they are still on top of the ladder. They were far from their best against the Giants with Dangerfield, Selwood, Ablett and Kelly all failing to hit 20 possessions. Hawkins was dangerous in front of goal, while Tom Stewart continued to show the form the earned him All-Australian selection last season.

  1. Collingwood (-2)

Collingwood bounced back after going down in the Grand Final rematch with a strong win over a Bulldogs side that pushed them all the way. Brodie Grundy was at his absolute dominant best having 58 hitouts and 23 disposals, but it felt as if his midfield didn’t take full advantage. The loss of Chris Mayne will hurt but they will be bolstered with the return of Dayne Beams.

  1. Richmond (-2)

Injuries really suck. After going relatively unscathed throughout 2017 and 2018, the injuries keep mounting up for the Tigers in 2019. However, despite missing Cotchin, Riewoldt and Rance through injury and Dustin Martin through suspension, the Tigers pulled off a big away win against Port. Thanks in no small part to Tom Lynch who is looking fitter and more dominant each week. Debutant Jack Ross looked right at home with 25 disposals, while Dylan Grimes showed just how good he is.

  1. Brisbane (+2)

Brisbane was brought crashing back down to Earth with a crushing loss to Essendon. Their form this season has been excellent, but they were never in the contest against the Bombers. After kicking six against Port Adelaide, Eric Hipwood was barely sighted, while the likes of Charlie Cameron and Cam Rayner failed to make an impact. Rising through the poor performance though was Lachie Neale. Neale had another 40+ disposal game to continue his excellent start to the year. The Lions host Collingwood next, a match set to be a real test for this maturing side.

  1. Hawthorn (-1)

Hawthorn looked back on track after controlling most of the game against North Melbourne. That all changed against the Saints. While it must be said that the Hawks lost O’Meara before the game and key defenders James Frawley and Ben Stratton during it, they were outplayed in a lot of key areas. Despite the loss, James Worpel continued to establish himself as a key part of the Hawks midfield, while the pickup of Tom Scully is looking more and more like the steal of the century as the games go on.

  1. St Kilda (+6)
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St Kilda are 3-1. That’s not something that many would have predicted at the start of the season. Not only are the Saints 3-1, but they have played some good footy along the way. Jack Billings is in career-best form, averaging 30.5 disposals a game, while Jack Lonie had one of his best games kicking 3.5 and having 17 touches. If St Kilda can overcome Melbourne this week, they will really start to believe that finals are on the cards.

  1. Essendon (+6)

Essendon seems to be functional once again. Their first two rounds were shambolic, but since then they have put together two excellent four-quarter performances. Zach Merrett has responded to the criticism put on him with some excellent performances, while Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s 11 goals in the last two games displayed his importance to the success of Essendon. With a Good Friday game against lowly North Melbourne up next, the Bombers form should hold them in good stead for a third win in a row.

  1. Gold Coast (+7)

All four of Gold Coast’s games have been decided by less than a goal. They have been on the right side of the result three times and sit inside the top eight. No one saw this coming. The young Suns are a team full of run and full of heart. Alex Sexton is emerging as one of the league’s best mid-sized forwards, while the midfield of Witts, Fiorini, Swallow, Miller and Martin came out on top against Cripps and Walsh against Carlton. With Adelaide struggling for form there is no reason why the Suns can’t continue to surge up these rankings.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 14: Suns celebrate winning the round four AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Carlton Blues at Metricon Stadium on April 14, 2019 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
  1. Western Bulldogs (-2)

Two close losses have followed the Bulldogs brilliant start to the season and while there is no need to panic yet, they will feel that they had opportunities to win both. Against Collingwood they were overrun in the final quarter, but also lacked any presence up forward. Billy Gowers and Josh Schache were barely sighted. The positives once again come from the midfield. Marcus Bontempelli and Jack Macrae are fast becoming one of the most dangerous midfield duos in the competition. A win against Carlton is a must if they are to get back on track.

  1. Port Adelaide (-2)

Similar to the Bulldogs, Port Adelaide have lost two games that they will feel they could have won in the past two weeks. The loss to Richmond will hurt in particular as they had chances to hit the front with less than three minutes on the clock. Tom Rockliff and Travis Boak both had over 30 touches once again, while their young players continue to show heaps of promise. A trip to Perth to play the premiers will be a stern test of where the Power are at and whether these losses are anomalies or a sign of things to come.

  1. Melbourne (-1)

The win over the Swans saved Melbourne from sliding further down the rankings. Their start to the season has been disappointing, to say the least. For a side that has invested heavily in its backline, the Demons have conceded more than any other side so far this year. With Steven May back in the team, they will be hoping for a more secure defence that will be boosted once Jake Lever returns from injury. The addition of Braydon Preuss looks like it will add another tall forward presence while taking some pressure of Max Gawn, who had his best game for the year against Sydney. St Kilda is the next one up for the Demons as they look to continue reigniting their season.

  1. Sydney (-3)
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Sydney is a team that is very out of sorts. The Swans gave Melbourne their first win at the SCG. They were beaten convincingly around the contest with Melbourne controlling the counts for clearances and contested possessions. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the problem lies for the Swans, but it doesn’t look like a solution will immediately rectify the sluggish start. On a positive note, Isaac Heeney has rediscovered his form after a slow start, while Jake Lloyd is continuing to be an efficient driving force off half-back.

  1. Adelaide (-8)

Adelaide has fallen below the likes of Sydney and Melbourne after two disappointing showings against Geelong and North Melbourne, the latter of which didn’t look like winning at all in the first three rounds. For a team that boasts Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts, Tom Lynch and Josh Jenkins, scoring 59 in a game simply is not acceptable. By the same token, 19 clearances from the midfield that includes Sloane and the Crouch brothers is very poor. This week’s game against Gold Coast is must win and based on the Suns’ form it won’t come easy.

  1. Fremantle (-3)

Fremantle hasn’t fallen to 16th because they’ve been bad, but rather teams around them have improved more than the Dockers have. They may have lost against the Eagles, but without Nat Fyfe in the side, they can hold their heads high. David Mundy had 36 touches after struggling against earlier in the year, while Andrew Brayshaw was good in his first game against the Eagles since Andrew Gaff broke his jaw in 2018. Sitting at 2-2 and with a game against GWS next, the Dockers need to find some consistency.

  1. North Melbourne (-1)

North’s win over Adelaide may have spared Brad Scott, but the win may just be papering over the cracks. Making big changes paid off for North as Jed Anderson, Paul Ahern and Mason Wood had good games while Cam Zurhaar kicked the sealer. Ben Brown managed to get going for the first time this season and really turned the game in the third quarter. There are still many questions about North heading into round five, but a win over the resurgent Bombers could just get the Kangaroos going in 2019.

  1. Carlton (-)

A case of so near yet so far for the Blues as Jack Bowes and the Suns stole a win in the dying seconds. While improvement has definitely been seen at Carlton, results need to follow soon to show this. Sam Walsh had another excellent game and should be a certainty for the Rising Star nomination this week, while Mitch McGovern kicked three but could be considered at fault for Gold Coast’s winner. A win needs to come soon and with the Bulldogs up next, Carlton may fancy their chances.

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