With Round 4 of the AFL season done and dusted, it’s time to update our Power Rankings following a blockbuster weekend of football.
Check out where your team sits after this weekend’s results
1. Western Bulldogs (-)
Once again, the Doggies got it done to keep their undefeated record intact going into Round 5 following a comfortable victory over the underperforming Lions. Recruit Adam Treloar had arguably his best game in a Bulldogs guernsey, with the tall Tim English playing a stellar game to finish with three majors.
It seems as if the blue skies will continue for the team from Footscray, with a match against the struggling Suns next up on the schedule looking likely to be another four points secured for Luke Beveridge’s side.
— Western Bulldogs (@westernbulldogs) April 11, 2021
The Power had a close, hard-fought win against the reigning premiers on Friday night, with Robbie Gray coming up clutch once again in the final few minutes to get his beleaguered side across the line.
However, the main talking point out of the match is how the team will fare following injuries to two of their brightest young stars in Zak Butters and Xavier Duursma, who will both miss extended periods of the season off the back of ankle and knee injuries respectively.
Outside of this, the Power looked to be back in their element, with Ken Hinkley’s boys now back in the mix as one of the favourites to go all the way in 2021.
3. Richmond (-1)
The Tigers had a tough trip to Adelaide, and would’ve felt hard done by not to come away with four points against a Port Adelaide side who, by the end of the match, were severely undermanned. Their debutants Will Martyn and Rhyan Mansell were thrown into the deep end and seemed out of their depth, however, seeing as it was their first run-out at top level, cannot be scrutinised too heavily.
Although disappointing, it is hardly a crisis at Richmond, who usually leave it until the back half of the season to shift into top gear. They will face a stern test in Maddie’s Match this week against the resurgent St. Kilda, but should get the job done if they play their best football.
4. Melbourne (+2)
Could 2021 finally be salvation for long-suffering Demons fans? We’d hate to jinx anyone this early on in the season, but Simon Goodwin seems to have finally got the side playing top level footy.
Melbourne outworked and outplayed last year’s grand finalists in a wet affair at the MCG on Sunday. The Dees looked hungry, and put together a stellar four quarters of football with each player seeming to play unselfishly for the benefit of the team.
Their defence, even without Steven May for the majority of the game, seemed rock solid and their attacking woes seem to be sorted off the back of their small men. How high can the Demons aim in 2021? We’ll leave that question to be answered by the Melbourne faithful.
John Longmire’s boys continued their flawless start to the season with a close win over a brave and tough Essendon on Thursday night. Lance Franklin made it 950 career goals as the young Swans once again impressed with their flair and poise going forward.
However, the victory was marred by an injury to star Isaac Heeney, who has shone in the forward-line for the Swans this season, and will be out for around a month with a broken hand.
Sydney will be aiming to make it five and zip as they contest the Battle of the Bridge against crosstown rivals GWS, who will be fired up coming off a 30-point victory against the Pies.
6. West Coast (-3)
The Eagles looked to be in cruise control on Saturday afternoon as they found themselves 33 points up midway through the third term against the Saints at Marvel Stadium. What followed was a titanic shift in momentum, with St. Kilda miraculously switching up their mentality to rattle West Coast with their relentless pressure and fierce attack, coming from behind to win by 20 points.
Adam Simpson narrowed it down to a lack of hunger and desperation, but the switch off from the Eagles reintroduced question marks over their premiership credential right when they were seemingly erased following last weeks stellar win over the Power. Their match against the undermanned Pies next week by all means should be another four points, but they will have to dish up a performance better than Saturday’s.
7. Adelaide (+3)
Aside from the Swans’ meteoric rise up the table, Adelaide has been the surprise packet of the season so far. No one would have predicted Matthew Nicks’ side to be 3-1 at this stage of the season, including an emphatic first round win over last year’s grand finalists.
They continued their brilliant start with a win over the lowly Roos on Sunday. Despite North being up at three quarter time, the Crows recomposed themselves to kick away in the final term and win by 41 points.
Their next test comes against the Dockers on Sunday afternoon, with Adelaide looking to make it three wins on the trot and establish themselves inside the top eight.
8. Geelong (-1)
The Cats continued their below par start to a season which promised so much with a disappointing loss against the high-flying Demons. Geelong were comprehensively beaten by a hungrier Melbourne side, and now find themselves 2-2 after four matches.
However, it is not all doom and gloom at the Cattery, with Round 5 seeing the return of a few of their stars. Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Rohan will return from suspension, whilst star recruit Jeremy Cameron will hopefully finally make his debut against the Roos this week, although Chris Scott is still unsure whether that will come to fruition.
Despite their slow start, it is still only early days, and the Cats will likely be too strong for North Melbourne this coming Sunday down at GMHBA Stadium.
9. Carlton (+2)
The Blues stitched together back-to-back wins on Saturday night as they outlasted Gold Coast on their home patch. Ed Curnow had a great game in midfield, whilst defender Liam Jones proved his value to the Carlton’s rearguard efforts with another rock solid display.
Despite sitting at 2-2, the Blues still don’t look like they can make an impact on the top eight, with the Suns effectively keeping the ball inside their attacking 50 for the majority of the final term proving that Carlton still are a work-in-progress.
They face one of their hardest matches yet as they welcome Port Adelaide to the home of footy on Saturday night, with the Carlton faithful praying they can get something out of the clash.
10. St. Kilda (+4)
It’s the age-old adage that is repeated time and time again in footy – what a difference a week makes. In Round 4, the Saints were taught a footballing lesson against a Bombers side many were describing as the worst they’d seen yet.
This week, Brett Ratten’s side miraculously came from 33 points down to run out 20-point winners against an Eagles sides that are no easy beats. Forward Max King perhaps having his best game so far as he booted five goals to help his side to victory, and captain Jack Steele once again proved his pertinence to his side as he racked up 33 touches, a goal and six tackles in an inspired performance.
This week, the side has another mammoth test going up against the reigning premiers with what is sizing up to be a blockbuster Thursday night clash.
Relentless pressure from Daniel McKenzie 👏
The moment that helped spark our comeback. pic.twitter.com/hk3ssH6aF4
11. Brisbane (-3)
The shine of Brisbane’s after-the-siren victory over the Pies in Round 3 was worn off on Saturday as they were beaten by the Dogs in Ballarat. The Lions weren’t overly disappointing, with Chris Fagan’s side having a few sniffs in the final term to take the game to the Dogs, but ultimately lost out to a more polished outfit. However, Brisbane have now only won one from four, with their top four hopes – which could soon turn to finals hopes – slipping away with each passing round.
Next week, the Lions finally get to play at the Gabba following their extended stay in Victoria due to COVID-19 complications, as they welcome the resurgent Bombers. This is a must win for Fagan, with four points here potentially kickstarting Brisbane’s season.
12. Fremantle (+4)
Following their disappointing loss to the Blues, the Dockers returned back to Perth to take on a Hawthorn outfit who would’ve felt unlucky not to have beat the Cats on Easter Monday. Fremantle was feisty from the off, and ended up repelling the Hawks to run out 15 point winners and make it two wins from two in season 2021. Nat Fyfe was a stand out in his return match, racking up 31 touches despite kicking 6 points and no goals for the game, whilst David Mundy and Reece Conca also starred.
The Dockers find themselves in ninth position, and will be looking to solidify this as they take on the Crows in Adelaide next Saturday, which will be a stern test considering the form that the resurgent side from West Lakes are in.
13. Collingwood (-4)
Things went from bad to worse for Nathan Buckley’s side, as the bitterly disappointing Pies went down to the injury struck Giants at the ‘G on Saturday night. They were beaten around the ground and didn’t look up for the fight, with their forward-line woes being exposed yet again as they managed only nine goals for the game. To rub further salt into the wound, with last year’s best-and-fairest Taylor Adams being ruled out for over two months with a knee injury.
Buckley has foreshadowed changes in the Collingwood ranks, and will be hoping that they help in some way as the Pies travel to Perth to take on West Coast, who will be eager to avenge their woeful collapse against the Saints.
14. Essendon (-1)
The Bombers faced the most in-form side in the competition this week in the Swans, and did little to discredit themselves as they went down narrowly in a close affair at the SCG. Jordan Ridley and Jack Stringer were superb, whilst youngster Nik Cox impressed for a second week in a row with his efforts in the ruck. Considering only a couple of weeks ago many were slating the Bombers and putting them down as wooden spooners, the side has had a spectacular turn around, with their endeavour and cohesiveness improving drastically.
This week will see the Bombers travel to Brisbane to face their ex-star forward Joe Daniher, who will be itching to get one up on his old team. Should Essendon manage to pull off an upset and beat the Lions, then there will be cause for excitement and hope for this young side.
15. GWS (+2)
GWS came into their clash against the Pies with morale at the club at an all-time low, with injuries to skipper Stephen Coniglio, star Lachie Whitfield and midfielder Matt de Boer amongst others crippling their lineup. However, they emerged from their rain-soaked encounter at the MCG victorious and with their heads held high as they comprehensively beat Collingwood by five goals. Toby Greene was unplayable, booting five goals whilst Jeremy Finlayson kicked four as well. Young gun Lachie Ash had a blinder of a game on the wing, with his work-rate adding another dimension to the Giants’ game as he finished with 28 touches.
With a win finally on the board for GWS in 2021, Leon Cameron will be hoping to make it two on the trot, but will have it all to do against their noisy neighbours Sydney in the Battle of the Bridge.
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) April 10, 2021
16. Hawthorn (-4)
Alastair Clarkson would have hoped after last weeks admirable loss to the Cats that his Hawthorn side would perhaps be able to come away with four points over at Optus Stadium, but it was not to be as the class of the Dockers shone through on Sunday night. The Hawks were tenacious and unsociable, with four of their players being handed sanctions from the match review panel, but ultimately couldn’t make it count when it mattered.
Hawthorn return to Melbourne this week to take on the Demons on Sunday afternoon, and will be without young forward Mitch Lewis after his suspension against the Dockers for a strike on Caleb Serong.
17. Gold Coast (-2)
The Suns have had a subpar start to season 2021. An injury to Matt Rowell combined with ruckmen Jarrod Witts, Zac Smith and Matt Conroy all facing extended stints on the sidelines have put Stuart Dew behind the eight ball early on. Despite sticking it to Carlton for large parts of the game, the Blues outlasted the Suns on Saturday night to win by eleven points in a cagey affair.
The Suns go up against the high-flying Doggies this week and can only hope to get something out of the match with their team being so depleted.
18. North Melbourne (-)
With no wins on the board in season 2021, it is looking all but certain that the Kangaroos will clinch the wooden spoon this year. However, this week the Roos did earn some respect during their 41 point loss to the Crows at Docklands, finding themselves in front heading into the last quarter but failing to make it count as Adelaide piled on the goals to run out convincingly. They will take confidence in that third term, with David Noble definitely being able to pick out positives and signs that show the side can be competitive in the future.
This week they face the Cats, with Chris Scott’s side determined to bounce back from their loss on Sunday. With Geelong welcoming back a few of their stars and North potentially being without Ben Cunnington, it could be another long four quarters for Roos fans.