The footy circus continues to roll on and with just a month left until finals, it seems that we have been left with more questions than answers over what exactly the final ladder composition will look like.
Round 19 was another thrilling one, and with the competition being so hard to predict even at this stage of the season, let's see what our Power Rankings look like this week.
The Doggies cemented their place at the top of the table with a big win over minor premiership rivals Melbourne on Saturday night.
Luke Beveridge's side didn't surrender the lead after mid-way through the first and put up a mature display to earn themselves the status of being outright premiership favourites.
Bontempelli, Macrae, Smith. It might as well be permanently etched into each week's power rankings to save ourselves the trouble, but again they were firmly at the core of everything the Doggies did.
However it was also a night for Caleb Daniel to strut his stuff and he did just that, racking up 34 touches and a goal off half-back. Forward Josh Schache was also put down in defence and thrived, finishing with 17 disposals, six marks and four tackles in a role that could be just the trick to get his career back up and running.
17 disposals, six marks and seven intercepts for Josh Schache, the defender.
Slotted in nicely to the new role 🤝 pic.twitter.com/djIfs9fUFk
— Western Bulldogs (@westernbulldogs) July 25, 2021
The ball is firmly in the Bulldogs' court leading into finals, with Luke Beveridge and his side in prime position to take out the minor premiership.
This week they face the Crows in Ballarat with the Mars Stadium being a happy hunting ground in recent times for the Dogs, with the side looking to firm their grasp on top spot with just weeks left in the season.
2. Geelong (+1)
The Cats put the reigning premiers to the sword on Sunday afternoon, beating Damien Hardwick's side comprehensively at the home of footy.
Geelong never looked to be under threat, barring a brief but doomed fightback from the Tigers after half-time, as they look to secure a home qualifying final in the final weeks of season 2021.
Patrick Dangerfield (28 touches, one goal, seven tackles) was the main man for the Cats, whilst fellow midfield veteran Cam Guthrie was integral to Geelong's dominance as well, finishing with 34 disposals and seven clearances.
— Geelong Cats (@GeelongCats) July 26, 2021
It seems as though things are building incredibly nicely for the Cats in the run-in to September, with the side now breathing down the necks of the Bulldogs in top spot.
This week they travel down to Tasmania to play the bottom-placed North and will have to be sharp to get past David Noble's men considering the form they have been in as of late.
3. Melbourne (-1)
Simon Goodwin's side were unable to get on top against the might of the Doggies midfield, going down by 20 points after trailing for the vast majority of the game.
The Dees simply cannot afford to lose anymore matches for the year if they want to secure second place, and have a chance to turn things around against the Suns in Round 20.
4. Sydney (-)
The Swans train just keeps on rolling in 2021, with a 40-point win over the Dockers putting them within touching distance of a home final.
“Isaac Heeney knew he just put himself on a postcard.”
— Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) July 26, 2021
Josh Kennedy and Jake Lloyd once again ran riot in the middle for John Longmire's side, finishing with 34 and 32 disposals respectively, while Luke Parker had a day to remember as well as he racked up 30 touches and two goals in a good outing overall for the Swans.
With this, there seems to be no sign of the Swans slowing up in the run-in to finals and many bookies are putting them up there with the top four runners as genuine flag favourites.
5. Brisbane (-)
Chris Fagan's side were 27 points down at half-time, but piled on a staggering 13 goals to one to run out 49-point winners in a stonking second half display.
For the second time this year Jarryd Lyons made the Suns rue their decision to let him go, popping up with 33 touches, whilst big man Oscar McInerney put up a big display with 39 hit-outs and 18 disposals in the ruck.
Although they came up trumps this week, if the Lions put up a first-half display like they did against a top eight side, then they might not be able to romp back into the fray like they did.
Round 20 sees them go down to Tassie for a showdown with the Hawks, with a win for Chris Fagan's side seeming to be the likely outcome at this point.
In Travis Boak's 300th Port welcomed back Connor Rozee, Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma, with Ken Hinkley's side successfully firming their foothold inside the top four as they etch closer to securing a double chance.
— Port Adelaide FC (@PAFC) July 24, 2021
Charlie Dixon was big for the home side chipping in with four majors, whilst youngster Willem Drew was arguably best-on finishing with 32 touches with milestone man Travis Boak racking up a cool 31 touches and seven clearances on a big night for his career.
Port now find themselves in a healthy position heading into the final weeks of season 2021. Their next matchup sees them go up against the hot-and-cold GWS, with a win here necessary for a top four place.
7. West Coast (-)
The Eagles had an arm-wrestle of an encounter with top-eight hopefuls St. Kilda in Perth, but outlasted Brett Ratten's side to win by eight points.
In a match that Adam Simpson's side needed to win to maintain their good position inside the eight, the Eagles were able to stave off the Saints' fighting spirit.
Dom Sheed booted a pair of goals at pivotal points in the match and finished with 32 touches with midfield partner Tim Kelly also being pertinent to the Eagles victory racking up 26 touches and a goal.
Man at work. pic.twitter.com/09OZifN01E
— West Coast Eagles (@WestCoastEagles) July 24, 2021
The good thing for the Eagles is that they seem to be turning their poor displays around and have improved their home record after losing two games on the trot at Optus Stadium.
They will have to travel to Melbourne this week to face the Pies, with a win against a toiling bottom-four side exactly what they need to lock themselves in to September action.
8. GWS (+4)
You'd think that with four weeks to go of the season we might have a remote idea of what to expect each week from the Giants, but they are still such a tough team to interpret in 2021.
The question of the hour is if the Giants can actually get a run together to pinch eighth spot, with their track record of previous weeks suggesting that it might not happen.
If they can somehow topple the Power this week at 'home', then expect for there to be real hype around these Giants and their September hopes. Lose, and it'll put them on the back foot going into the final rounds of the year.
9. St Kilda (-1)
The Saints put up a mighty fight against the Eagles in Perth but couldn't outlast Adam Simpson's side, going down by eight points on Saturday afternoon.
With this loss, the Saints are now firmly embroiled in the race for the top eight with teams from eighth to 12th now all within two points of each other.
It was all about star forward Max King in this one, with six goals from the 21-year-old arguably his best performance yet in AFL football.
The Saints fell short, but Max King was amazing with six goals and eight contested marks 👀
— AFL (@AFL) July 24, 2021
This loss shouldn't dispirit St. Kilda supporters especially off the back of how uncompetitive this side was only six weeks ago.
Their next match against the Blues should be a win for the Saints considering Carlton's horrible loss on Saturday, the four points being invaluable to St. Kilda's season.
10. Essendon (-1)
The Bombers had a golden opportunity to go a game clear of ninth but instead fell short against the Giants on the Gold Coast.
Essendon fans would be kicking themselves after this one with their side being up by three goals at half-time, only to go and squander their lead and fall to a 10th loss for the year.
It wasn't quite a huge day for Darcy Parish, with just 15 touches and a goal - a small haul by the lofty standards he has set for himself in 2021.
This loss is a speed bump but it isn't catastrophic for the Bombers who still are in touching distance of the top eight.
11. Richmond (-1)
Many predicted for the Tigers to struggle without Dustin Martin against the Cats but it was still disappointing to see them go down like they did on Sunday afternoon.
The Tiger's speedy half-backs were the ones in the spotlight on the day, with Jayden Short (26 disposals, six intercepts) and attacker-cum-defender Daniel Rioli (19 disposals, five intercepts) being the standouts for Richmond.
Jack Ross was the best midfielder for the losing side on the day with 25 disposals and young defender Rhyan Mansell had arguably his best outing in yellow and black yet with 17 disposals on a tough day for the Tigers.
There is no question that Richmond are firmly in the hunt for the last top-eight position, and will have to beat the Dockers in Perth this week if they are to have a chance of snatching it up.
12. Carlton (-1)
After being in front by just two points at half-time, David Teague's side capitulated as they conceded 10 goals to two in the second half to go down by 39 points.
In a rare highlight from the match, Tom De Koning soared high to take this mark of the year contender and finished the day with 22 hit-outs and 17 disposals.
WHAT A MARK!!! Tom De Koning that was special 🔥
— Fox Footy (@FOXFOOTY) July 24, 2021
The Blues now find themselves all but out of the top eight final after a few weeks of promise. David Teague's job will now be bought into question again, with his second year at the helm still not producing any fruit.
Their Round 20 clash against the Saints might get ugly should they dish up a second half as bad as they did on Saturday, with the side now wanting to build a good run of form as they pretty much put a pin in 2021.
13. Fremantle (-)
The Dockers were outplayed by a very in-form Swans side, going down to John Longmire's side by 40 points on the Gold Coast.
Out-of-contract star Adam Cerra was the Dockers' best with two goals and 30 touches as he continued to put himself in the shop window for Victorian sides intent on getting his signature.
Despite back-to-back heavy losses, Fremantle are still in with a shot of playing finals with a month left of the season.
This week they welcome the reigning premiers to Optus Stadium with Longmuir's side looking to pile on the Tigers' misery with an upset victory to set them up well going into season's end.
14. Adelaide (+1)
The Crows finally tasted victory again as they kept the Hawks at arms length for most of Saturday's match in Melbourne.
Adelaide were in control for most of the encounter until the second half, where Alastair Clarkson's side came dangerously close to snatching the lead before the Crows kicked away late-on to run out 19-point victors.
Rory Laird was best-on-ground for Matthew Nicks' side, booting two goals and finishing with 36 disposals. Midfield partner Ben Keays was too pivotal with 23 touches, a goal and seven tackles to top off a good day for Adelaide as a whole whilst Taylor Walker found his stride to boot four majors.
Things won't be as easy this week as they go up against the Bulldogs in Ballarat, with the Doggies not looking like they're gonna surrender their first-place spot any time soon, in turn spelling a likely loss for the Crows.
15. Gold Coast (-1)
The Suns looked dangerous early against the Lions however were steamrolled in the second half as they went down by 49 points.
At half-time Stuart Dew would've been in dreamland with the way things were panning out, but the Suns coach would have been pulling his hairs out at full-time after his side conceded 13 second half goals as they were battered all across the ground.
Brayden Fiorini capped off an incredible month of footy with 41 touches as he was unable to be separated from the Sherrin all afternoon. Touk Miller, Jeremy Sharp and Jack Lukosius were also huge for the Suns, racking up 32, 31 and 27 disposals respectively on an ultimately disappointing day for the club.
Although they did receive a second half shellacking, the Suns shouldn't be too disheartened. They have no reason why they cannot make finals next year with the list they have, and will be hoping to finish off the year strongly.
This week they face the wounded Dees who are in serious need of a win to get their top four fight back on track, with the Suns aiming to upset the apple cart even more.
16. North Melbourne (+2)
David Noble would be wanting for the season to continue past Round 23 with the form his side are in, with North putting the Blues to the sword as they kicked 10 goals to two after half-time to record their fourth win of the year.
It was all about Nick Larkey on Saturday, with the 23-year-old kicking seven goals for the match and racking up 20 disposals in an absolute belter of a performance.
That's a career-best six for Nick Larkey!
— AFL (@AFL) July 24, 2021
This means that there is a genuine chance that North could move off the bottom of the ladder before season's end - not bad for a side that many were calling the worst to ever play the game.
Round 20 could spell another loss however, with the Roos welcoming the Cats to Tasmania in what could be a long day for North if they don't play their cards right.
17. Hawthorn (-1)
The Hawks had a disappointing night at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, going down to the Crows despite nearly snatching the game in the final term.
Alastair Clarkson's side could not channel the energy of the previous week and now find themselves in the battle for the wooden spoon just a month out from season's end.
Tom Mitchell once again lead from the front, with a 28-disposal display complete with a goal. Jaegar O'Meara (24 touches, eight tackles) and James Worpel (28 touches, one goal) were also fruitful in midfield but couldn't spare the Hawks blushes on the day.
As said beforehand, the Hawks now have to put their heads down and focus on not being awarded the wooden spoon come season's end.
Things aren't set to get any easier, with the side going up against the Lions who are firmly in the hunt for the top four, and will stop at nothing to secure a spot - meaning a big win is likely.
18. Collingwood (-1)
The Pies find themselves rock bottom of the power rankings after they were beaten by the Power on Friday night.
Collingwood burst out of the blocks early on and looked as if they might give the Power a run for their money, but could not keep Ken Hinkley's side at bay and eventually went down by 28 points.
Brodie Grundy was big in the ruck for Robert Harvey's side with 27 disposals and 23 hit-outs whilst the other Brody in the form of Mihocek finished with three majors as his side could not put enough scoreboard pressure on to the Power.
Next week they find themselves going up against the Eagles back at the home of footy, and will be hoping to put a dent in their finals aspirations as the Pies look for some good form to finish off the year.