We are well and truly at the pointy end of the year, and teams are starting to sink or swim in the race to secure a finals spot.

Round 20 saw a heap of thrills and spills across the league, with the footy community still bemused about who will take eighth spot at season's end.

With this, let's visit our Power Rankings and see where each team sits with three matches left in the 2021 home-and-away season.

1. Western Bulldogs (-)

The Doggies cruised to victory in Ballarat on Saturday afternoon, beating the Crows by 49 points to tighten their grip on top spot.

For once it wasn't Marcus Bontempelli leading the way, with the Baileys in Dale and Smith being the main men on the day with 31 and 29 disposals respectively.

Half-back Caleb Daniel also had a day to remember with 32 touches and a goal whilst Jack Macrae racked up 31 disposals and 12 clearances in a commanding display.

The Doggies will need to be on their A-game come finals if they want to repeat their 2016 win, and will want to keep the train rolling with a win over the Bombers on Sunday afternoon at Marvel Stadium to consolidate top spot.


2. Geelong (-)

The Cats are one of the true in-form sides at the minute, and put this status on display as they overcame a tenacious North Melbourne outfit in Tassie.

The Guthrie brothers had a day to remember with younger brother Zach having his best game yet at AFL level with 28 touches, whilst Cam was instrumental with 29 touches and two majors to firmly show why he should be offered a new deal at Kardinia Park.

The Cats are now equal on points with the Bulldogs in top spot and will be ready to pounce should Luke Beveridge's side slip up.

Round 21 sees them take on the wishy-washy GWS down in Geelong with a further four points here taking them a step closer to a home qualifying final.


3. Melbourne (-)

The Dees steadied the ship after back-to-back weeks without a victory with a 98-point demolition of Stuart Dew's Suns.

Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver had yet another immense display, finishing with 67 disposals and two goals between themselves.

James Harmes was huge for the Demons as well with 24 touches and eight tackles while Steven May and the back six where virtually impenetrable after quarter time, only conceding a singular goal in the final three quarters.

The Dees will be hoping to stitch together some good form in the weeks leading into September, and will have the opportunity to make it two on the trot against West Coast on Monday night.


4. Sydney (-)

Sydney were tested but not broken by the Bombers on Sunday evening, outlasting Ben Rutten's side to win by seven points in Melbourne.

Callum Mills and Luke Parker were elite for the Bloods, combining for 59 disposals, three goals, 11 clearances and ten tackles.

Tom Papley had a stellar game down in attack too with four goals and 17 disposals in a spirited display that kept his team in touch with the top four.

After their mid-season blip the Swans have gone from strength-to-strength and will be aiming to give themselves the best shot at getting a double chance with a win over a St Kilda side down on morale on Saturday.


5. Port Adelaide (+1)

The Power kept their good run of wins going with a 27-point victory over the Giants at Marvel Stadium.

Karl Amon (31 disposals, one goal, five tackles) and Travis Boak (24 disposals, one goal, seven clearances) had inspired displays in the middle of the park, whilst Brownlow smokie Ollie Wines continued his incredible season with a further 28 touches.

Big Charlie Dixon kicked four goals for the second week in a row under the roof at Marvel while fellow tall man Peter Ladhams finished with three goals as well in a good runout for the 23-year-old

The Power will be aiming to keep their grip on fourth spot after the conclusion of Round 21, with a showdown with the Crows on the schedule that should bode an easy victory for the Power.


6. Brisbane (-1)

Brisbane continued their slide down the table with a torrid display against the Hawks down in Tasmania to go down by 12 points after the margin was at 50 at the final change.

Jarryd Lyons was the standout man for Chris Fagan's side with 38 touches, nine clearances and a goal while Daniel McStay was Brisbane's best forward with four goals and 16 disposals for the day.

The fact of the matter is that things are getting very ugly for the Lions very quickly. Now down in sixth, they will have to turn things around or face finishing as low as eighth if everything goes against them in the final three rounds of the season.

This week they face the Dockers in Perth who will be aiming to further compound Brisbane's misery after upsetting the Tigers last Sunday.


7. West Coast (-)

It's incredible how the Eagles are still in seventh both on the ladder and this list after being so poor this year.

This week they were smashed by 45 points against the lowly Pies at the home of footy, dishing up a bitterly disappointing display in club legend Shannon Hurn's 300th

The sides only two consistent performers this seasons seem to be Andrew Gaff and Dom Sheed as they finished with 33 and 23 disposals respectively on a dark day for the Eagles.

Everybody knows that the Eagles are in decline but the way they went about their footy on Saturday was insipid and Adam Simpson would have been furious.

Things could get even worse for them next week as they face the Dees in Perth, with the margin set to be in excess of last week's if they replicate their performance.


8. Fremantle (+5)

The Dockers are this week's big movers after they upset the reigning premiers in Richmond on Sunday night with the match going down to the wire.

Andrew Brayshaw could not be separated from the football all night as he finished with 39 disposals in a career-best display, while his midfield counterparts in Adam Cerra and David Mundy had big nights too racking up 33 and 29 touches respectively.

Matt Taberner was the main man up forward in a night where goals were scarce as he kicked three majors for Fremantle as they gave the Tigers the old heave-ho.

Amazingly the Dockers find themselves in the top eight after being beaten convincingly by Sydney in Round 19, and they will be aiming not to surrender the position this week as they take on the struggling Lions at Optus Stadium.


9. GWS (-1)

The Giants had another cold performance as they could not match it with the might of Ken Hinkley's Port Adelaide side, going down by 27 points in Melbourne.

Josh Kelly continued to put himself in the shop window with a 31-disposal performance, whilst fellow midfielder Jacob Hopper finished with 29 disposals as he continued his string of industrious displays for Leon Cameron's side.

As the trend has shown all year, the Giants are so hot-and-cold and cannot seem to stitch together back-to-back wins to save their lives.

The good thing is for them is that it seems like none of their top eight rivals wants to make finals, with all teams bar Fremantle slipping up in Round 20.

The Giants will be up against it this week as they travel down to the Cattery on Friday night hoping to upset a red-hot Geelong outfit.


10. Essendon (-)

Ben Rutten's side came up painfully short against the Swans on Sunday, with yet another close encounter between the sides seeing the Bombers come out defeated.

It was a complete shootout between these two sides, with the likes of Zach Merrett (35 touches, two goals), Darcy Parish (34 touches, eight clearances) and Jake Stringer (19 disposals, two goals, nine clearances) being pertinent to the Bombers performance.

Essendon had their noses in front for most of this one but could not make it stick in the end however Ben Rutten could not question the endeavour that his side showed.

If they bring the same effort to this week's clash with the Doggies at Marvel Stadium, then something might be able to come out of it for the Bombers as they look to snatch eighth spot in the final weeks of the year.


11. St Kilda (-2)

The Saints slipped further away from finals contention this week, going down to the Blues in a match many thought would have gone the other way.

Co-captain Jack Steele once again put up an insane display with 36 disposals and 14 tackles in one of his best performances all year.

Max King continued his dangerously good form with four goals whilst Zak Jones finished with 30 disposals and eight tackles in a commanding display alongside his co-captain.

Things aren't looking too rosy at St Kilda in terms of their finishing position for 2021 and Brett Ratten will have to pray his side can come up with an inspired performance against the Swans on Saturday, with John Longmire's side currently the equal most in-form side in the league.


12. Carlton (+1)

The Blues put together a great match out of the ashes of last week's damning loss to the Roos, overcoming the Saints by five goals in Melbourne.

Sam Walsh continued his smashing 2021 with 26 disposals and three goals in a best-on-ground display, while Jack Silvagni also put up another impressive showing with a goal, 25 disposals and nine tackles in a tenacious game from the 23-year-old.

Harry McKay extended his Coleman Medal tally with five goals down in attack as he continues to deliver on his bumper contract extension.

With this the Blues suddenly find themselves equal on points with Richmond and amazingly still have a chance of playing in September.

If David Teague's side can overcome the Suns this week at Docklands then expect for the Blues hype train to start up again, especially if sides around them fail to win.


13. Richmond (-2)

Things just aren't looking like they'll come good for the Tigers in 2021, this week losing in a thriller to the Dockers to put themselves on the outer in the race for the top eight.

The return of 'the human meatball' in the form of Dion Prestia was welcome as he finished with 31 disposals, while Trent Cotchin overcame recent criticism to register 32 touches in a good display from the triple premiership captain.

Troubled half-back Sydney Stack continued his good form since his return coming up with 25 disposals with half-back partner Jayden Short too having a solid outing with 27 touches.

The Tigers still could make the eight but all signs are pointing to them being there to make up the numbers at this point.

Next week they take on North and incredibly might not even be able to beat them considering the stiff contest David Noble's side has given other teams in recent times.


14. Adelaide (-)

The Crows had a tough day in country Victoria going down by 49 points to the top-of-the-table Bulldogs.

It was the usual suspects who did the heavy lifting in midfield with skipper Rory Sloane and Ben Keays putting up big numbers with 26 and 22 touches respectively, while defender Tom Doedee was good down back in a dogged day for Matthew Nicks' side.

Forward Elliott Himmelberg booted two majors for the afternoon as he looks to cement his spot in the side after being out of favour for so long, while Reilly O'Brien had a day out in the ruck finishing with 44 hit-outs.

The Crows will be wanting to get something going before season's end to get a sign of some progression. However, it will be a tough ask as Round 21 sees them come up against the Power in another edition of the Showdown on Saturday.


15. Hawthorn (+2)

The Hawks had a huge win down in Tassie in a week that served up so much controversy, overcoming a fast-finishing Brisbane.

Chad Wingard had one of his best games in brown and gold with two goals and 32 touches, while midfield partner Jaeger O'Meara was just as industrious with 35 disposals and a goal to his name.

Luke Breust will face a stint on the sidelines with a knee injury in the third quarter, but still managed three goals in a good performance from the Hawks star forward.

With the club's coaching future now abundantly clear, the Hawks will be wanting to secure a non-wooden spoon finish for the year and will be aiming to do just that as they take on fellow bottom-dwellers Collingwood in Round 21.


16. Collingwood (+2)

The Pies had one of their best games of the year on Saturday, smacking the Eagles around on the MCG to run out 45-point victors.

Steele Sidebottom lead from the front with 33 disposals and one goal while star Jordan De Goey continued his great form in midfield with 34 touches, as did half-back Jack Crisp as he racked up 36 disposals to finish the match.

The Pies haven't been playing horribly over the last two weeks and their performance on Saturday night showed what they can do on their day.

It still remains to be seen who will be chosen to coach the club next year, but for now all the Pies can do is play to the best of their abilities. This week it's the Hawks who are their next opponents in what should be an equally matched contest.


17. North Melbourne (-1)

The Roos went down admirably to the high-flying Cats on Saturday afternoon, with the final margin only being 20 points down in Hobart.

Luke Davies-Uniacke put up a great display, finishing with a goal, 23 touches and six clearances from the middle. Jy Simpkin was industrious as ever with 29 touches and seven clearances as David Noble's side continues to build in 2021.

North Melbourne have shown the critics that the label of 'the worst team ever' was premature, with the Roos having put up some tough and determined performances in 2021 to almost elevate themselves of bottom spot.

This week's match against the Tigers could be another opportunity to upset the apple cart of a finals contender, with Damien Hardwick's men in crisis mode as of current.


18. Gold Coast (-3)

The Suns were absolutely torn apart by Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Sunday with the final margin being 98 points in a dark day for the club.

Touk Miller was once again the best on the day for the Suns and surely has this year's best-and-fairest wrapped up with another 34 touches and ten tackles.

Charlie Ballard off half-back and Matt Rowell in midfield were just about the only other standout for Stuart Dew's side, with another match that only exacerbates talk around his coaching future.

Fans have seen over the year what the Suns can do if they play to their abilities and the side will be hoping to do exactly that this week against the Blues.

If they manage to come out with the win and another before season's end then maybe, just maybe, Stuart Dew might be able to convince the Gold Coast board to keep him on.