With the bye rounds concluded, the AFL has officially reached the business end of the home & away season with all clubs now fit and firing for a nine-round mini-marathon to hopefully set up a thrilling finals campaign.

Just four points separate St Kilda and Fremantle who sit fifth and 11th on the ladder respectively, leaving seven clubs with a realistic chance of a finals berth and a potential home-ground advantage in week one.

Collingwood's emotional win on Sunday afternoon saw them return to their rightful place atop the tree. Their Round 19 matchup against Port Adelaide presents a compelling battle for top spot on the ladder in what could shape as the biggest home & away game in South Australian history.

Nick Daicos, Jordan Dawson and Christian Petracca have all locked in spots among the top five of the leaderboard and have set up a thrilling race for the MVP award for the back end of the season.

Reminder: Votes are given out in a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 system for each game, meaning the maximum number of votes any player can record in any game is 20.

Geelong vs Melbourne

The Cats did what they needed to against a rested Melbourne side in their must-win Thursday night clash at Kardinia Park.

After losing their front half juggernaut in Jeremy Cameron early in the piece, it was the unheralded contributors who rose to the occasion and earned the crucial four points which has added necessary fuel to the finals fire.

Gary Rohan, as he does on a 'few and far between' basis, stood up in a big moment and took the game by the scruff of the neck, booting three game-changing goals with his 16 disposals and constant explosive presence.

Externally unheralded young guns Brad Close and Tanner Bruhn attacked the Demons with a will to win matched by few others on the night; they were pivotal in the middle with their pressure and hunt, and inflicted damage forward with three goals combined.

Tom Stewart held the fort productively with his 22 disposals and nine marks while fellow veterans in Mark Blicavs and Mitch Duncan helped ice the game late.

On the other side, Melbourne's typical stars were effective early, but faded along with the match in the last quarter when the game was decided. Christian Petracca's 33 touches and one goal weren't enough on the day but did earn him enough votes for a top three spot on the updated MVP leaderboard.

Mitch Keating Frank Seal Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Bradley Close Gary Rohan Bradley Close Gary Rohan
4 Gary Rohan Bradley Close Gary Rohan Bradley Close
3 Christian Petracca Tanner Bruhn Mitch Duncan Tanner Bruhn
2 Tom Stewart Tom Stewart Christian Petracca Christian Petracca
1 Tanner Bruhn Christian Petracca Tanner Bruhn Tom Stewart

St Kilda vs Brisbane

Another Ross Lyon-looking affair produced a 28-point Brisbane victory over St Kilda on Friday night at Marvel Stadium, as the Lions earned a lead early and gradually put it out of reach of the young Saints.

The compelling presence of Harris Andrews was too much for Anthony Caminiti and Mitch Owens, as he halted St Kilda's surge time and time again with a round-high nine intercept marks.

Josh Dunkley and Lachie Neale made their presence felt in the midfield with 55 clean and hard-nosed possessions between them. Both now sit in the top 15 with nine games to climb up the MVP ladder.

Eric Hipwood made the most of his chances by slotting four majors while Jack Payne conversely prevented his opponent, Max King, from contributing to the scoreboard in a major way.

Jack Sinclair, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera, Josh Battle and others were gallant in their efforts for the Saints, but were simply outclassed by a polished team of star footballers.

Mitch Keating Frank Seal Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Harris Andrews Harris Andrews Harris Andrews Harris Andrews
4 Jack Sinclair Josh Dunkley Jack Sinclair Josh Dunkley
3 Lachie Neale Lachie Neale Lachie Neale Jack Sinclair
2 Eric Hipwood Jack Sinclair Josh Dunkley Lachie Neale
1 Josh Battle Jack Payne Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera Jack Steele

Sydney vs West Coast

Saturday twilight at the SCG produced a dark day for the AFL and the West Coast Eagles, who suffered a 171-point drubbing from the Sydney Swans in a 205-34 onslaught.

There were season-high numbers everywhere for the Swans; Chad Warner and Isaac Heeney shared a whopping 37 score involvements between them, Errol Gulden kicked three from the wing to add to his 32 disposals, Hayden McLean had a day out with three goals, 16 disposals and 17 hitouts, it was a true demolition.

James Rowbottom, Luke Parker and Justin McInerney all enjoyed plenty of the footy and some scoreboard reward, but there were at least nine Swans who would've earned votes on stats alone.

No redeeming features came from West Coast's performance. As hard as Luke Shuey, Tim Kelly and Oscar Allen tried, the competitive difference between the two sides was vast.

Mitch Keating Frank Seal Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Errol Gulden Errol Gulden Errol Gulden Errol Gulden
4 Isaac Heeney Chad Warner Chad Warner James Rowbottom
3 James Rowbottom Isaac Heeney James Rowbottom Chad Warner
2 Chad Warner James Rowbottom Angus Sheldrick Isaac Heeney
1 Tom Hickey Luke Parker Isaac Heeney Luke Parker

Fremantle vs Essendon

It was hard to tip against Freo this weekend coming off a horrid loss to GWS a week ago. As expected, the energy was high, and the skill was just too much for the gallant bombers who kept within touching distance for long but not long enough.

Luke Jackson was all impact with his contribution, creating nine score involvements from his 17 disposals including three majors himself.

Caleb Serong and Andrew Brayshaw produced a glimpse of what the Freo faithful want to see for the next decade at the club, with 61 disposals and two goals between them, collectively outperforming Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish.

Luke Ryan was typically strong in defence and stuffed the stat sheet again with his 18 marks and 31 disposals, while Liam Henry put together his career-best performance with 32 disposals.

Jordan Ridley effectively hampered the Dockers' forward movement in the Bombers' defence and was good enough to earn votes, while Nic Martin added to his All-Australian wingman case with his 26 disposals.

Mitch Keating Frank Seal Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Caleb Serong Luke Jackson Caleb Serong Luke Jackson
4 Luke Jackson Andrew Brayshaw Luke Jackson Caleb Serong
3 Jordan Ridley Caleb Serong Liam Henry Luke Ryan
2 Luke Ryan Nic Martin Andrew Brayshaw Andrew Brayshaw
1 Liam Henry Jordan Ridley Zach Merrett Jordan Ridley

Collingwood vs Adelaide

Both matches between these two clubs have now produced game-of-the-year contenders, as Collingwood again edged out the Crows in a two-point thriller at the 'G on Sunday afternoon.

The offensive surge of both sides when holding momentum was something to behold and was in full flight in the second and third quarters, as the Pies broke out to a six-goal lead before Adelaide blitzed with eight in a row.

The final quarter resulted in yet another Collingwood closing masterclass as Craig McRae's men fought tooth and nail for every single one-percenter, hard-ball get or effective tackle needed to win a famous game of footy.

Nick and Josh Daicos were typically phenomenal with 70 disposals and a couple of goals between them but while they may have been the difference, the game was not won without the heroics of countless Pies, including Darcy Cameron, Jeremy Howe, Tom Mitchell, John Noble, Will Hoskin-Elliott, Isaac Quaynor, Mason Cox and many more who stepped up in big moments.

In a proud Adelaide performance, captain Jordan Dawson and former skiper Taylor Walker were box office with 27 kicks for the skipper and five big goals for Tex.

Ben Keays was offensively damaging with 10 clearances but couldn't get the better of his matchup with Nick Daicos. Rory Laird also fought hard all day but to no avail as Collingwood kicked themselves back to the top of the ladder.

Mitch Keating Frank Seal Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Nick Daicos Nick Daicos Jordan Dawson Jordan Dawson
4 Taylor Walker Jordan Dawson Nick Daicos Nick Daicos
3 Jordan Dawson Taylor Walker Josh Daicos Taylor Walker
2 Josh Daicos Josh Daicos Rory Laird Josh Daicos
1 Rory Laird Tom Mitchell Tom Mitchell Darcy Cameron

Gold Coast vs Hawthorn

The rebounding Suns were not to be denied in the Gold Coast at Sunday twilight, kicking five late ones in the fourth to smash the Hawks in what ended as a 101-34 drubbing.

Brayden Fiorini put together an unexpected best-on-ground performance with his 35 touches and 20 effective kicks. Right behind him was Ben Ainsworth who enjoyed a return to form himself with 27 and a goal in a positive display for both he and the club moving forward.

Noah Anderson continues to shine with bulk disposals and scoreboard impact while Sam Flanders and Wil Powell added to the unheralded heroics on the day.

Plenty of Hawks got their fair share of the footy despite the disappointing result. Will Day, Jack Scrimshaw and Blake Hardwick all walked away with season-best performances or thereabouts.

Mitch Keating Frank Seal Jack Jovanovski Nick Splitter
5 Brayden Fiorini Brayden Fiorini Brayden Fiorini Brayden Fiorini
4 Noah Anderson Ben Ainsworth Noah Anderson Noah Anderson
3 Will Day Noah Anderson Will Day Ben Ainsworth
2 Blake Hardwick Will Day Blake Hardwick Will Day
1 Ben Ainsworth Jack Scrimshaw Malcolm Rosas Malcolm Rosas



View the full 2023 leaderboard HERE.