After another intense round of action the 2021 ladder is starting to take shape, and so are our Power Rankings.
Here are the rankings following the conclusion of round 5.
1. Western Bulldogs (-)
The Bulldogs train just keeps rolling on in season 2021, this week dismantling a disappointing Suns side at Marvel Stadium to the tune of 62 points. Their midfield once again ran riot, with Jack Macrae, Marcus Bontempelli and Josh Dunkley all racking up 30+ disposals and combining for five goals.
With their best start to a season in three quarters of a century, the Dogs are genuinely looking like the real deal. This week they travel to Canberra to see if they can make it six and zip when they go up against a resurgent Giants side.
— AFL (@AFL) April 17, 2021
2. Port Adelaide (-)
Ken Hinkley's side had a comfortable win on Saturday night against a severely disappointing Carlton side. Their forward-line shone once again, with youngster Mitch Georgiades taking out the Round 5 Rising Star nominee with a three-goal display.
Ollie Wines and Robbie Gray too had fantastic displays, with their six goal loss to the Eagles two rounds ago seemingly now out of their minds.
The Power now sit fourth on the table, with three very winnable games against St. Kilda, Brisbane and Adelaide. Should they come through with the cookies in all three, then they could very well sit atop the table.
3. Richmond (-)
The Tigers quickly erased the woes of the previous two rounds with a triumphant 86-point shellacking of top eight hopefuls St. Kilda on Thursday night.
Jack Riewoldt showed he still has what it takes to potentially win a fourth Coleman Medal with an emphatic five goal display in a match which meant so much to him. Jack Graham, Shane Edwards and Toby Nankervis all had standout performances and will take a wave of confidence into the next month of footy.
ANZAC Day Eve this year will no doubt be the game of the season so far, with Richmond going up against the Dees this Saturday night on what has become one of the marquee games on the AFL calendar. Should Richmond topple the undefeated Dees, expect for them to be named outright flag favourites.
— Richmond FC 🐯🏆 (@Richmond_FC) April 15, 2021
4. Melbourne (-)
Simon Goodwin's side were locked in a genuine arm-wrestle with the stubborn Hawks for the first three quarters of their clash on Sunday, with the margin only four points in the Dees favour at the beginning of the last.
However, this Demons side looks to be made of different material this year, as their big guns flexed their muscles and piled on seven unanswered goals to win by 50 points and keep their undefeated start intact.
Skipper Max Gawn showed his value to his team over the course of the match, with Christian Salem, Ed Langdon and Clayton Oliver putting out fantastic displays as Melbourne chalk up their best start to a season in 27 years.
A home game on ANZAC Day Eve under the lights for loyal legend Nathan Jones' 300th should be enough to fire this Melbourne side up against the reigning premiers. If they pinch the four points in this, the time could be then to mention the Demons as genuine contenders in 2021.
5. West Coast (+1)
The Eagles welcomed the Pies back to Perth and were out for revenge as the memories of last year's horror elimination final still burnt bright in fans' minds. The first quarter was tight, with the Pies looking like they were up for the fight.
However, the Eagles stepped up when it mattered, and pulled away to secure a 27-point victory over one of their arch-enemies. Oscar Allen once again showed why he is one of the hottest prospects in the league, booting five goals, whilst Jack Redden and Liam Duggan were superb in midfield.
Adam Simpson would now be looking nowhere but forward as he looks to put his side's topsy-turvy start to the year behind them. This week they face a daunting test, travelling to the Cattery to see if they can knock off Geelong on Saturday afternoon.
6. Sydney (-1)
After a stonking start to season 2021, this young and hungry Swans side finally tasted their first defeat of the year against crosstown rivals GWS.
The Giants dominated most of the contest and, if not for inaccurate kicking, may have wrapped up the game earlier. Lance Franklin once again lit up the SCG with a vintage five goal display, whilst Will Hayward and Jake Lloyd also impressed.
The truth is the Swans were always going to lose, but for it to come against archrivals GWS would have stung John Longmire's young side. However, Sydney have a chance to get back on the winners list this week as they travel to Carrara to take on the undermanned Suns.
7. Geelong (+1)
The Cats struggled to break away from the struggling Kangaroos on Sunday night, with North sticking closer to the Cats than they have with other sides to go down by five goals.
Geelong showed a lack of spark, but their superior quality shone through with Brandan Parfitt and Tom Stewart having notably good outings.
It is clear that despite their quality, the Cats still do not look as deadly as some of the top sides this year. Their loss last week to the Demons exposed this and their underwhelming showing this week solidified the hypothesis.
However, with star recruit Jeremy Cameron finally set to have his first game in Cats colours this week, Chris Scott will be hoping a different dynamic will be added to Geelong's attack to get them across the line against West Coast.
8. Brisbane (+3)
Joe Daniher's first game against his old side was a successful one for the Lions, as they kicked back into gear on their return home to the Gabba with a 57-point drubbing of the Bombers in the wet. Lachie Neale seemed to be back in form with a 38 disposal outing, whilst the aforementioned Daniher managed two majors and 25 disposals.
Chris Fagan would be pleased with his side's performance on Saturday night, but will remind his team of the position they still find themselves in following a subpar opening few rounds. The Lions travel down to Melbourne again to take on the Blues at Docklands, with the side looking to capitalise on Carlton's poor showing against the Power last week.
All smiles 😄 pic.twitter.com/x1UaTYSf1u
— 7AFL (@7AFL) April 17, 2021
9. Adelaide (-2)
The Crows were brought back down to earth by a Dockers side who were relatively evenly matched with that of Matthew Nicks'. Despite being in front at the beginning stages of the last term, Adelaide gave up four goals within ten minutes to go down by 12 points in a display which left fans disappointed.
Ben Keays and Paul Seedsman both put in great shifts in the middle of the park, but the team collectively didn't seem to have it in them to get the four points.
Adelaide travel down south to Tasmania this weekend as they take on the Hawks in a winnable game for the Crows. Should they come with the intensity and heart that they've displayed at many points throughout the start to the season, they shouldn't have a problem dispatching Alastair Clarkson's boys.
10. Fremantle (+2)
The Dockers are starting to get a bit of rhythm in season 2021, winning two on the trot to take themselves to ninth on the ladder following their victory against away from home against the Crows.
Forward Matt Taberner once again shone, booting four majors, whilst Lachie Schultz and Andrew Brayshaw also were pivotal to the Dockers' victory.
With back-to-back wins for Justin Longmuir, the Dockers now are in touching distance of the top eight. Yes, we are only a bit over a month into the season, but if Fremantle keep chalking up wins, continuing this week against the Roos, could we see them sneak into the eight come September?
11. Carlton (-2)
It seemed like the same old Carlton side that strode out against Port Adelaide on Saturday night, dishing up a disconcerting effort against last year's preliminary finalists to go down by five goals.
The usual suspects in Sam Walsh and Patrick Cripps were solid on the night, but the last two games which conjured good spirits in Blues fans seemed to be a distant memory, with Saturday showing evidence that it might be another 'almost' year for Carlton once again.
David Teague's boys now face a daunting task in taking on the Lions at Marvel Stadium on Saturday, with Chris Fagan and his side seemingly morphing back into their 2020 form as the season wears on. It could be another miserable week for Blues fans should they not improve on their performance.
12. St. Kilda (-2)
Saints fans were up and about last week after their spirited win against West Coast. Any spirit that they had was crushed this week by the ruthlessness of Richmond.
The Saints looked to be up for the fight at quarter time, but by the end of the third the platform at Southern Cross Station would have been packed with red, white and black cladded supporters. Jack Steele once again was the standout for the Saints, whilst ex-Tiger Jack Higgins kicked a couple on a night the club would rather forget.
Things are only going to get harder for the Saints, with a trip to Adelaide Oval to face the Power looking likely to spell heartache again for the St. Kilda faithful, as a top eight spot slips further and further away from them.
13. GWS (+2)
The Giants might have just gotten their season up and running after an insipid start, this week knocking off the undefeated Swans in a Battle of the Bridge for the ages.
Stand-in skipper Toby Greene had a great match but was horrific in front of goal, booting 1.7 for the match, whilst Jacob Hopper, Tim Taranto and Josh Kelly all instrumental in the win for the Giants, the latter of which booted the winning goal in the dying stages.
Whilst it's not totally crisis averted at GWS just yet, these last couple of performances have displayed the true fabric of the side as they operate on a skeleton crew following the injuries to multiple of their stars.
— GWS GIANTS (@GWSGIANTS) April 17, 2021
This week, they welcome the Bulldogs to Canberra, with the two sides working up a fiery rivalry over the past five years. If the Giants somehow come away with the four points, then it could be season back on track for Leon Cameron.
14. Collingwood (-1)
The Pies travelled to Perth and sported a new look forward-line, with superstar defender Darcy Moore returning to his roots at full-forward.
However, despite a promising first term, the Pies faded as injuries to Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe left them in the lurch, eventually succumbing to the Eagles class and going down to the tune of 27 points.
It felt like a case of 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' for Nathan Buckley, as he desperately tries to remedy the side's much-maligned forward-line woes.
— Zero Hanger (@zerohanger) April 20, 2021
Sitting in 16th place with one wins from five matches, things aren't looking particularly rosy at the Holden Centre. The Pies' ANZAC Day clash against the Bombers now has huge ramifications for the club, with a loss against Essendon potentially being the last straw for Collingwood fans.
15. Essendon (-1)
After a gutsy performance against Sydney in Round 4, the Bombers travelled to Brisbane with some wind in their sails. However, their confidence quickly evaporated as they faced a Lions side in the midst of getting their groove back.
It wasn't down to a lack of heart by the Bombers, more just not being able to measure up to the quality of a Brisbane side seemingly back to their best. Cale Hooker booted four goals, whilst Zach Merrett and Andrew McGrath were both presences in midfield.
This week spells a huge opportunity for Essendon to get on over on their arch-rivals Collingwood as ANZAC Day football returns for the first time since 2019. In front of a potential 100% capacity crowd, what better stage to rub salt into Collingwood wounds on than this?
16. Hawthorn (-)
For three quarters of Sunday's matchup with the Dees, Hawthorn stuck with the undefeated side, and lead for large portions of the game.
However, the quality of Melbourne shone through in the last term, with Simon Goodwin's side leaving Hawthorn in the dirt as they piled on eight goals to two to win by 50 points.
Jaeger O'Meara and Tom Mitchell were influential in midfield but could not outplay the likes of Petracca, Oliver and Viney when it came to blows.
Next week the Hawks welcome the Crows down to Launceston, with the Hawks eager to get their second win of the season on the books against a formidable opponent in Adelaide.
17. Gold Coast (-)
It was another horror week for the Suns, with Stuart Dew's side going down to the Doggies in spectacular fashion. Gold Coast were down by 61 points at half-time, only managing a single goal for the whole first half.
They managed to earn a bit of respect in the second half booting seven goals to the Doggies six, despite still being outscored.
Despite being ravaged by injuries to many of their key players, Gold Coast after a decade in the competition still haven't been able to make finals, and this year is looking destined to be another year of development and learning for a side which many touted as potential finals candidates in 2021.
18. North Melbourne (-)
Once again, another respectable performance this week from North Melbourne, but not enough to get the four points against last year's grand finalists Geelong.
The Roos stuck with the Cats for a large chunk of the game and didn't get blown away like prior weeks, only going down by five goals against a Geelong side that many thought would be potential premiers this season.
Post the Geelong match David Noble spoke about the importance of Ben Cunnington. pic.twitter.com/6uIfikinjQ
— @TheTruthNMFC (@TheTruthNMFC) April 18, 2021
Next week the Roos travel to Perth to take on the Dockers and will be hoping to carry some of their progress from their match at GMHBA Stadium into this clash.