The ANZAC Day Round was incredibly telling for so many teams, with arguably the most exciting weekend of footy so far this year playing out in front of our very eyes.
With this, here are the updated Power Rankings as we head into Round 7.
1. Western Bulldogs (-)
They just keep on keeping on don’t these Dogs? 6-0 to start the year and brushing aside all that come before them, it’s starting to look like we could be getting a changing of the guard in 2021, in terms of premiers whether it be Luke Beveridge’s side or one of the other high-risers.
Last week they came up against the resurgent Giants on a freezing night in the nation’s capital, with Leon Cameron’s side putting up a fierce resistance but succumbing to the class of the Dogs in the last quarter as they ran out 39 point winners.
That last quarter. Sheeeesh 🥵
Enjoy all nine goals from the blitz. pic.twitter.com/JilHXk9xcy
— Western Bulldogs (@westernbulldogs) April 26, 2021
Jack Macrae once again had a stonking performance and is looking like a genuine Brownlow competitor, whilst the rest of the midfield in Bontempelli, Liberatore and Treloar also had another week of dominance. This week they go up against the reigning premiers in Richmond at the ‘G, and will go in as firm favourites with the Doggies looking to make firm their position at the top of the ladder.
2. Melbourne (+2)
If anyone doubted the Demons prior to this weekend, then they would have been turned into firm believers following Saturday night performance. Simon Goodwin’s side didn’t look back after quarter time and comprehensively smashed the Tigers to take the four points on ANZAC Day Eve.
It was the work of the Christians in Petracca and Salem which built the base for Melbourne to spring from, while their defence with Lever, May and Hibberd once again was watertight, keeping the reigning premiers to just 3.9 after quarter time.
A wall in defence. 👊
The backline combined for 3️⃣7️⃣ spoils on Saturday night, helping keep Richmond to its lowest score of the year.
— Melbourne Demons (@melbournefc) April 26, 2021
Now that they’re being considered genuine premiership contenders following arguably their best performance since 2018, they must focus on keeping the wins coming. This week it shouldn’t be an issue as they go up against the lowly North Melbourne. The sky is the limit for this Melbourne side, and fans should rightly be getting excited about season 2021 if they weren’t already.
3. Port Adelaide (-1)
The Power didn’t lose second place on their own accord, with the Dees simply looking unbeatable at this point in time. However, Ken Hinkley’s side had another easy run-out this week against the Saints, winning by nine goals at Adelaide Oval. Orazio Fantasia continued his strong start to life at Alberton Oval, kicking three goals, while his partner in attack Steven Motlop matched that total.
Port now have a huge test as they travel to Brisbane to take on the Lions, who are finding their rhythm in 2021. Win this one, and it’ll be hard to see them dropping out of the top four come season’s end.
4. Richmond (-1)
The Tigers were utterly disappointing after quarter time on Saturday night. They were outworked and out-pressured – ‘out-Richmonded’ if you will – by a hungrier Melbourne side who are on a vertical trajectory. Dustin Martin had one of his worst games for the club in his 250th before being subbed out in the third quarter with concussion, while Kane Lambert and Dylan Grimes will miss this week with calf and ankle injuries respectively.
If there was a time to lose three of your most important players along with the already injured Prestia and Vlastuin, you wouldn’t want it to be going into a match against the other undefeated team in the Bulldogs.
SEE ALSO: Ranking the top 10 defenders since 2010
It will take an almighty effort from Damien Hardwick’s side to get the four points here, with a 3-4 record on the cards should they fall short. Like many have been saying, it isn’t crisis time at Tigerland just yet, with the side typically having slower starts to the year as of recent times. But there would be significant worry amongst the playing group that they might not be able to make it three-in-a-row in 2021.
5. Geelong (+2)
Many fans would have tipped the Cats this week, but not many would have foreseen the absolute mockery they made of the Eagles at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Jeremy Cameron finally made his Geelong debut, kicking three goals in front of the Cats faithful. Meanwhile, Mitch Duncan had one of his best games to date, booting four goals – including an absolute rocket on the halftime siren – and racking up 26 disposals.
The other usual suspects in Tom Hawkins, Joel Selwood, Gary Rohan and Tom Stewart also had a day out, with the short fallings of recent weeks seemingly erased off-the-back of an incredible display.
— Geelong Cats (@GeelongCats) April 24, 2021
For all the critics of Chris Scott’s side, who have had a ‘poor’ start to the year, the Cats find themselves fourth and in touching distance of the teams above them. Their next opponent comes in the form of a Sydney side coming off a disappointing loss to the Suns, with Scott looking to string some more great performances together in order to solidify their top four credentials.
6. Sydney (-)
The Swans had a shocking day out against the Suns, unexpectedly being smacked around by a Gold Coast team many thought would roll over against John Longmire’s side. They didn’t look dangerous going inside 50, with their ball movement looking sloppy all afternoon. Josh Kennedy and Luke Parker were amongst a handful of Swans who had commendable performances, but the incredible start to the season that the side had is at risk of being rubbed out if they continue to dish up displays such as these.
Sydney welcome the Cats to the SCG next Saturday night and will face a huge test with Geelong coming off an emphatic belting of the Eagles last week. Lance Franklin will be a huge out again as he battles with a knee injury, with the Swans attack having to put in a better shift this week if they are to stand a chance.
7. West Coast (-2)
The Eagles put up their worst performance under Adam Simpson on the weekend as they bottomed out against the Cats, going down by a shameful margin of 97 points. Simpson gave his team a scathing assessment, calling them “weak” and “lazy” as Chris Scott’s side dismantled them. Nic Naitanui had a shocking game, whilst Andrew Gaff was arguably the only decent performer for the Eagles with 27 disposals.
There is no question that the club have some serious soul-searching to do following Saturday, with so many fans now questioning whether West Coast’s time in the sun has come to an end. Round 7 sees them go up against the up-and-coming Dockers in the Western Derby, with Justin Longmuir’s side a genuine chance of knocking off their rivals who have dominated for so long.
8. Brisbane (-)
The Lions scratched up another four points on Saturday afternoon, this time against a stubborn Carlton side. Despite not being the prettiest of games, the Lions outlasted the Blues and kept their foot on the gas when it mattered. Hugh McCluggage had a superb game in the middle, whilst Jarryd Lyons and Dayne Zorko had a productive night as well.
Like a fine wine, he just gets better with age 🍷
— Brisbane Lions (@brisbanelions) April 27, 2021
It seems as if the Lions are finally clicking into gear, with two wins on the trot giving Chris Fagan’s side belief they can still have an impact in 2021. However, this week will be the yardstick for their progress as they welcome Port Adelaide to the Gabba in a match that will give the victors serious reassurance that they are genuine premiership contenders in 2021.
9. Fremantle (+1)
The Dockers had a cruisy runout against the Roos on Saturday night, comprehensively beating the last-placed side by 51 points at an empty Optus Stadium. David Mundy continued his stellar late-career form, notching up 30 disposals and three goals, whilst Caleb Serong, Nat Fyfe and Andrew Brayshaw also starred in the physically tough encounter.
SEE ALSO: Zero Hanger’s Round 6 Team of the Week
This victory sets up a mouthwatering Western Derby match on Sunday afternoon against the Eagles. It will be the first time in a while that the Dockers will have a genuine chance of knocking off their noisy neighbours as Adam Simpson’s side reels from a catastrophic loss to the Cats.
10. Adelaide (-1)
Adelaide fans were left with their heads in their hands on Sunday afternoon as their side somehow managed to blow a lead which sat at five goals in the third quarter to go down by three points to Hawthorn in Launceston.
In bizarre circumstances, the Crows medical sub Tom Lynch didn’t even have his jumper on when Will Hamill went down with a knee injury in the third quarter, and didn’t appear on-field until midway through the last term, a bewildering move that might have cost the Crows the four points. Riley Thilthorpe was brilliant on his debut, kicking a bag of five, whilst Ben Keays and Paul Seedsman also starred for Adelaide.
This week, the Crows desperately need to get all four points against the Giants should they want to keep in touch with the top eight. With Thilthorpe putting out a stellar display against the Hawks, Matthew Nicks now has an extra weapon in his arsenal to hurt teams with, and will be wanting to use it to full effect against an improving GWS outfit.
11. Essendon (+4)
The Bombers put on a spirited display on ANZAC Day against the low-flying Pies, getting the wood over their bitter rivals by four goals in a blockbuster of an encounter. Darcy Parish was stupidly good on the day, racking up 42 disposals, while Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti performed some freakish acts as he finished with five goals. Peter Wright was a huge presence down forward as well with victory against the Pies, showing that the Bombers are heading in the right direction.
Coast to coast.
You don't let a red dog roam free around the 'G 🐕 pic.twitter.com/qSnyBilXOW
— Essendon FC (@essendonfc) April 26, 2021
This week is another game against an arch-enemy as they go up against the Blues in a huge matchup on Sunday afternoon. There will be optimism amongst Bomber fans that they will be able to take the cookies against David Teague’s side, and rightly so after the wonderful performance the side put out on ANZAC Day.
12. GWS (+1)
The Giants were outlasted in Canberra on Friday night by the Doggies, but did little to tarnish their reputation as they stuck with the undefeated ladder-toppers for the best part of three quarters. Toby Greene once again was mercurial for Leon Cameron’s side with four goals, while youngster Lachie Ash continued his meteoric rise with another superb display, racking up 35 disposals off of the half-backline.
Despite their loss to the Dogs, Leon Cameron will be confident that they can take four points this week against the Crows at Adelaide Oval. Lachie Whitfield could potentially make his return this week, which will be a huge ‘in’ for the Giants should he play. Win against the Crows and their season could possibly be back on track.
13. Carlton (-2)
The Blues had another loss this week, this time against the resurgent Lions at Marvel Stadium. Harry McKay once again stood tall and kicked six goals, while Sam Walsh and Ed Curnow once again had good games in the middle of the park. It was the lapses in concentration at times that allowed for the Lions to go end-to-end that really would have stung for David Teague, with his side still not being where they want to be after so many years.
Round 7 sees a massive game for the club, with a Sunday afternoon game against traditional rivals Essendon promising to be a stonking matchup. If the Blues manage to grab four points in this encounter, it will give the side a bit of belief that they could still salvage something from this year.
14. Hawthorn (+2)
The Hawks had an incredible win in a thrilling encounter against Adelaide in Tasmania on Sunday. Down by five goals in the third quarter and with Matthew Nicks’ sides’ accuracy in front of goal being staggering, it looked like another loss for the Hawks.
However, they amazingly recomposed and mounted a comeback to hit the front midway through the last and held on for a galvanising win. Jacob Koschitzke was instrumental in attack, booting five majors, whilst Jaegar O’Meara and once again, Changkuoth Jiath, put in superb shifts.
The best bits of Kosi's Rising Star performance! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/A9i3dfnTfl
— Hawthorn FC (@HawthornFC) April 26, 2021
This week the Hawks have a very winnable game again against the lowly Saints at Marvel Stadium, with star forward Jack Gunston reportedly ready to come back into the side – a handy inclusion to hopefully supplement the good work of Koschitzke and Lewis.
15. Gold Coast (+2)
Another huge upset this round was the Suns putting on an excellent showing against a Swans side that has been lauded for their fast start to 2021. Following last week’s dismal showing against the Dogs, Stuart Dew demanded his players showed some fight, and fight they did. Ben King had a field day against the Swans defence, kicking five goals whilst Touk Miller and Noah Anderson ran riot in midfield.
SEE ALSO: Zero Hanger’s Round 6 MVP votes
Ben to Ben! How's the beautifully weighted kick from Ben Ainsworth which lands right in Ben King's basket allowing him to kick his fifth goal for the day. Start your day with this @Hostplus Super Play. pic.twitter.com/A76WDkstC6
— Gold Coast Suns (@GoldCoastSUNS) April 27, 2021
This win will do wonders to Gold Coast and their confidence, with the playing group hopefully starting to kick-on and start racking up the wins. Their Round 7 match against the Pies suddenly has become a very winnable encounter, with a win on the ‘G against Nathan Buckley’s side their chance to send a message to the competition.
16. St. Kilda (-4)
The Saints once again had a woeful weekend, as they went down to the Power by 54 points in Adelaide. While fans wouldn’t have been expecting a win by any means, the poor performance once again reinforces the dire state the team is in. Seb Ross and Jack Steele were reliable in midfield, while Jack Higgins provided a rare highlight with a goal of the year contender in the first quarter.
Brett Ratten’s side needs to get winning or face real danger of becoming a bottom-four side. This week they play the Hawks and will need to put out a better performance against a team that is at relatively the same level as themselves.
17. Collingwood (-3)
It seems as each week passes the pressure is mounting more and more on Nathan Buckley and his ability to get the best out of his players. In a game where they started well, the Pies could not hold off the Bombers and went down by four goals in a result that further exacerbates the problems at the Holden Centre.
Darcy Cameron was instrumental for the Pies while captain Scott Pendlebury and defender Jack Crisp too impressed, but it was not enough to beat a Bombers side many thought Collingwood would claim victory over and get their season back on track.
With the Pies now 1-5, it is going to take an almighty effort to heave themselves back up the ladder, and an even bigger effort to get them inside the eight. If they lose this week against the Suns, expect cries for Buckley to be shown the door from the media and fans alike.
18. North Melbourne (-)
It doesn’t seem as if North are going to move from this position all season. They just cannot seem to find a way to beat anyone at the minute, not having lost by less than five goals all season. This week it was the Dockers turn to give them a hiding, going down by 51 points in front of a crowd-less Optus Stadium. Jack Ziebell continues his incredible form in his new position in defence, but it wasn’t enough to give the Roos their worst start to a season in almost 50 years.
It isn’t for a lack of trying though, more their organisation and game plan. The reality is it will take some time for them to build cohesion and identity, but for the mean time it looks as if the pain will continue. This week it’s the undefeated Dees that North will face, and by the looks of it, things could get ugly once again for the Roos.