MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 22: Charlie Constable of the Cats (right) celebrates a goal during the 2019 AFL round 01 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Geelong Cats at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 22, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

Six rounds of the home and away AFL season remain, and yet we are still none the wiser over which teams will find themselves in the top eight come the end of the season.

In a season full of tight finishes and up-and-coming teams, a number of clubs either remain on the cusp of a finals spot, or are hanging on by a thread to their place in the top eight.

Additionally, the top four isn’t a lock by any means either. Geelong sit two games clear at the summit, but the Magpies and Giants have both found themselves in mid-season lull’s in recent times, while the likes of the Eagles, the Lions and the Tigers have begun to truly surge.

It begs the question; how will the top eight even look come the end of the season?

From first to 11th, this is how we predict the ladder will look at the end of the home and away season:


1. GEELONG (p
redicted finishing record – 18-4)

The run home

Hawthorn – MCG

Sydney – SCG

Fremantle – Optus Stadium

North Melbourne – GMHBA Stadium

Brisbane Lions – Gabba

Carlton – GMHBA Stadium

The Cats have a good run home and would feel they have the measure of a number of clubs they come up against. Geelong and Hawthorn match-up’s are always classic and visits to Optus Stadium are never easy, but the Cats are good enough to dispose of both. Their biggest threat on paper would have to be Brisbane, who are in a purple patch of form and host Geelong at the Gabba. Regardless of how the Cats fare against the Lions, I think Geelong will lose one of their remaining six matches and finish on 18 wins, securing the minor premiership in the process.

2. COLLINGWOOD (16-6)

The run home 

GWS – Giants Stadium

Richmond – MCG

Gold Coast – MCG

Melbourne – MCG

Adelaide – Adelaide Oval

Essendon – MCG

Ask me prior to the Pies’ win over the Eagles and I wouldn’t have much confidence in Collingwood finishing in the top two. However, that win was season-defining. The Magpies have unfinished business, and may have a new lease on life after overcoming the odds against the reigning premiers. Expect Collingwood to win the majority of their run home, barring maybe a loss or two against the likes of Richmond, Adelaide or even Essendon.

3. WEST COAST (16-6)

The run home 

Melbourne – TIO Traeger Park

North Melbourne – Optus Stadium

Carlton – Marvel Stadium

Adelaide – Optus Stadium

Richmond – MCG

Hawthorn – Optus Stadium

The Eagles have a reasonably solid run home, consisting of some tough challenges against the likes of the Hawks and North Melbourne, but also some games you’d almost see as gimme’s, such as Carlton – even though they have admirably had a change of form –  and Melbourne. I’m expecting the Eagles to fight off the challenges that come their way and win around five of their next six games, with Richmond at the MCG the game I could see West Coast losing prior to finals.

4. RICHMOND (15-7)

The run home

Port Adelaide – MCG

Collingwood – MCG

Melbourne – MCG

Carlton – MCG

West Coast – MCG

Brisbane – MCG

The Tigers play their last six games at the MCG, in what is sure to be a major advantage on the run home for them. It could be the defining factor in matches against the likes of the Eagles and the Lions, and I see it being enough to propel them into a top-four spot. Richmond to win five of their last six is my guess – with a loss to possibly Collingwood.

5. BRISBANE (15-7) 

The run home

North Melbourne – Gabba

Hawthorn – University of Tasmania Stadium

Western Bulldogs – Gabba

Gold Coast – Gabba

Geelong – Gabba

Richmond – MCG

The Lions’ run home includes four games at the Gabba, which should see them in good stead to make their first finals appearance since 2009. As admirable as their season has been, I expect them to slow down just a tad as the season closes, with losses to the likes of Hawthorn or Richmond a possibility for the up and coming side.

6. GWS (14-8)

The run home

Collingwood – Giants Stadium

Port Adelaide – Adelaide Oval

Sydney – Giants Stadium

Hawthorn – UNSW Canberra Oval

Western Bulldogs – Giants Stadium

Gold Coast – Metricon Stadium

The Giants have had their fair run of issues over the past month, but I can see them turning the corner and rediscovering their early-season form to win five of their last six matches (WITH the possibility of a second loss, but we’re sticking fat for now). A resurgent Collingwood outfit should be too much for the Giants, but I can see them bouncing back in the weeks thereafter, with a slip-up against the likes of Hawthorn the only other possible loss I can see.

7. ADELAIDE (13-9)

The run home

Essendon – Adelaide Oval

Carlton – MCG

St Kilda – Adelaide Oval

West Coast – Optus Stadium

Collingwood – Adelaide Oval

Western Bulldogs – Mars Stadium

The Crows’ run home includes three games at Adelaide Oval and three against teams sitting in the bottom eight. The Crows should win around four of their remaining six games, and find themselves in the eight come the end of the season. Seventh or thereabouts seems accurate for Adelaide.

8. ESSENDON (13-9)

The run home

Adelaide – Adelaide Oval

Gold Coast – Metricon Stadium

Port Adelaide – Marvel Stadium

Western Bulldogs – Marvel Stadium

Fremantle – Optus Stadium

Collingwood – MCG

The Bombers have some massive games coming up, facing off against some teams at a similar level as them. Port Adelaide, the Bulldogs and Fremantle loom as season-defining matches, which will determine Essendon and their potential finals destiny. I expect Essendon to drop two matches (maybe three), but still do enough to claw their way into the eight come season’s end.

9. PORT ADELAIDE (11-11)

The run home

Richmond – MCG

GWS – Adelaide Oval

Essendon – Marvel Stadium

Sydney – Adelaide Oval

North Melbourne – Marvel Stadium

Fremantle – Adelaide Oval

Port Adelaide has a similar run home to Essendon, in that there are several winnable games that remain up in the air. Ultimately, only eight teams can make it. I see Port falling just short, picking up a few wins on the run home, but not doing enough to make it into the final eight.

10. WESTERN BULLDOGS (10-12)

The run home

St Kilda – Marvel Stadium

Fremantle – Marvel Stadium

Brisbane – Gabba

Essendon – Marvel Stadium

GWS – Giants Stadium

Adelaide – Mars Stadium

The Doggies’ remain a chance to make the finals, but I think it may be just a year too soon for the 2016 premiers. Although wins against the Saints and Fremantle over the next two weeks are forecast, I see them dropping games over the last remaining four rounds against all four clubs in Brisbane, Essendon, GWS and Adelaide (with the exception of a possible win in those final four). Ultimately though, I don’t think it will be enough and I see them finishing 11th.