Round 8 of the 2021 AFL season is done and dusted, and there were some huge statements made over the course of the weekend.
Check out where your club is ranked heading into Round 9.
1. Melbourne (-)
It's difficult to predict when the Dees will finally be defeated, with their grudge match against the Swans showing that they can win even when they might not be playing at their absolute best.
Simon Goodwin's side made it eight and zip on Saturday night, narrowly overcoming a tenacious Sydney outfit by nine points. It was the twin towers down forward in the form of McDonald and Brown who kicked the majority of Melbourne's majors, with the former in particular having a big night with four goals to his name.
🔟 for TMac. 😤
Our No.25 was judged best afield by the coaches on Saturday night. #FiredUp pic.twitter.com/8WvmCB4jiX
— Melbourne Demons (@melbournefc) May 11, 2021
Next week the Dees go up against the so-so Blues as they aim to make it nine from nine and continue their stunning streak.
2. Western Bulldogs (+1)
The Doggies were back on the winner's list on Sunday afternoon, as they came from behind to knock over the Blues under the roof at Marvel Stadium. Luke Beveridge's side were down by as much as four goals midway through the third before they showed their quality to run over the top of David Teague's side.
Marcus Bontempelli was once again supreme in the midfield, whilst Josh Bruce continued his impressive season with a big haul of five majors to seal the four points for his side.
Saturday will reveal many things about the Doggies' premiership credentials as they travel to Adelaide Oval to take on the flying Power. A win here would further push the case of the pundits who have pinned the Dogs as flag favourites.
3. Port Adelaide (+1)
Port Adelaide once again flexed their muscles against their crosstown rivals, getting one over the Crows by 49 points to edge the Showdown record in their favour with 25 wins to the Crows' 24.
Travis Boak once again showed his class even in the latter stages of his career, whilst Todd Marshall had a good night kicking three majors down forward. On top of this, the side changed into their prison-bar strip to poke fun at Eddie McGuire and rock the cradle even further in the war of words between him and David Koch.
Heritage matters 🖤🤍 #weareportadelaide pic.twitter.com/DQoHnatJBk
— Port Adelaide FC (@PAFC) May 8, 2021
Ken Hinkley's side welcome the Dogs this weekend in one of the defining games of the season so far. Come away with four points and the Power could potentially move up to second - lose, and they could drop as far down as seventh. It is an understatement to say that a win here is imperative.
4. Geelong (+3)
The Cats put on a scintillating second-half display to spank the reigning premiers to the tune of 62 points on Friday night. It was a game for the key forwards, with Jeremy Cameron having his best game yet in a Geelong jumper, booting six majors whilst his fellow attackers in Gary Rohan (5 goals) and Tom Hawkins (4 goals) also had a night out.
Six @GordonTAFE goals for the Dart 🎯 #GeelongStrong pic.twitter.com/RgbH5O6JEz
— Geelong Cats (@GeelongCats) May 8, 2021
With this emphatic performance, Geelong showed that they should definitely be included in the premiership conversation. Their ball movement killed the Tigers, especially in the third term, and would do the same to any team in the competition. This week they go up against the Saints, and should easily be breezing past them off the back of last week's game.
5. Brisbane (-)
The Lions kept rolling on Sunday afternoon, getting over the Dockers by 24 points to keep in touch with the top four. Charlie Cameron had a good outing with three goals, whilst Hugh McCluggage had another stonking performance, further staking his claim as a Brownlow favourite.
The Lions will take confidence into their Q clash with the Suns, as they look to make it five in a row and keep pushing on up the table.
6. Richmond (-5)
Damien Hardwick's side were given a harsh reality check on Friday night, as they put up an insipid second half display to go down by ten goals to the Cats. Despite Shai Bolton putting up a Mark of the Year in the first term, the Tigers were exposed greatly by Geelong's lightning fast ball movement which saw their defence cut to bits.
To rub salt into the wound, midfield stalwart Shane Edwards went down with what could be a syndesmosis injury whilst the aforementioned Bolton will sit out up to three weeks following his nightclub altercation on Saturday night.
It’s all about the dismount. Mark of the year so far for sure. Shai Bolton take a bow @FOXFOOTY pic.twitter.com/XnLVMNCDZC
— Jon Ralph (@RalphyHeraldSun) May 7, 2021
The Tigers will now have to call on their reserves, which are already quite depleted, to show up and get the four points against the resurgent GWS on Saturday night at the 'G. This is a must win game if they are to make the top four come finals time.
7. Sydney (-1)
The Swans had an arm-wrestle of an encounter with the undefeated Demons on Saturday night, going down by nine points in the wet. John Longmire's side kept with Melbourne for most of the game, and will take pride in that fact. Luke Parker was his usual industrious self, whilst Dane Rampe was also solid down back for the Swans.
Despite this loss, the Swans are still in a healthy position, with five wins from nine and sitting in sixth. They welcome the Pies to the SCG on Saturday afternoon, and will be confident that they will be able to come away with the win to solidify their stance in the top eight.
8. West Coast (-)
West Coast had a pretty standard runout against the woeful Hawks on Sunday afternoon in front of a rather small crowd of just over 15,000. After a goalless first term for both sides, the Eagles put their foot down, with Brandon Ah Chee kicking four majors whilst the usual suspects in Andrew Gaff and Tim Kelly also had a great runout.
There is no question however that Adam Simpson's side would still be haunted by the memory of their 97-point flogging they received from the Cats a couple of weeks ago, however should they string together a nice run of wins then they will be in good stead to right the wrongs of that performance. This week the Eagles take on the Crows in what should be a routine win for them at home in Perth.
9. GWS (-)
The Giants had to work for their win against the Bombers, edging Ben Rutten's side to the four points on Saturday afternoon. Jeremy Finlayson continued his impressive 2021 with three goals but will face a week on the sideline for his callous elbow on Bomber Zach Merrett, whilst Tim Taranto and Josh Kelly were big contributors in GWS' narrow victory.
A big test awaits the Giants on Saturday night at the home of footy, with their match against the wounded Tigers set to be a good contest. Should Leon Cameron's side come out as victors, then the Giants could be considered finals contenders.
10. Carlton (-)
The Blues were looking the goods in Sunday afternoon's huge match against the Dogs, but were ran over the top of from midway through the third term.
It was looking like David Teague's side were going to pull off one of the upsets of the season, but the more well-drilled and silky Dogs put their foot to the floor and overcame the fierce challenge from the Blues. Eddie Betts had one of his best games since returning to the club with five goals, whilst Harry McKay firmed his lead at the top of the Coleman Medal leaderboard with a further four goals.
Textbook McKay. 📚 pic.twitter.com/FWhlN7hMO1
— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) May 10, 2021
Despite the loss, the Blues would take confidence that if they play their best, they can stick it to even the top teams. This week they will need all the confidence they can get their hands on as they go up against the undefeated Dees on Sunday afternoon. Should they somehow win this, then 2021 might not be a total write-off just yet.
11. Gold Coast (+1)
Stuart Dew's side would have been disappointed to go down to the Saints following their spirited win against the Pies the prior round. After being 15 points up at the final break, the Suns gave up four unanswered goals to go down by nine points. Ben King once again impressed with three goals, whilst Touk Miller had another solid display despite him being rubbed out for a week for his incident with Nick Coffield.
The QClash this week will be a big one for the Suns, with a win against the odds here being huge for a side that cannot seem to string together a consistent run of form in season 2021.
12. St. Kilda (+3)
Brett Ratten's side managed to make it two on-the-trot on Saturday as they came from behind to claim a big win over Gold Coast. It seems no matter how his Saints play, captain Jack Steele consistently turns up and puts a shift in, and this week was no different as he kicked two goals, 27 disposals and eight tackles in an emphatic display, whilst one of the other Jack's in Billings had a good day out too with a couple of majors to his name.
With finals seemingly out of the equation for the Saints - emphasis on seemingly - then the side might have a sense of freedom when going into Friday's match against the inform Cats. If they bring the pressure they showed to bring down the Eagles a while back, then perhaps they might have a chance of spoiling the Cats' party.
13. Essendon (-)
Essendon were coming off a disappointing loss to the Blues when they were dealt another agonising defeat at the hands of the Giants. The Bombers went down by only two points in a fantastic encounter, but showed some great endeavor with Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish once again setting the tone in the middle of the park. Archie Perkins kicked his first AFL goal whilst Kyle Langford also had a great runout with three majors to his name.
Ben Rutten will be taking plenty of positives into this weeks match against the Dockers, but will have to do so without star Jake Stringer who injured his hamstring in the first term of Saturday's match.
14. Adelaide (-3)
After their blistering start to the year, the Crows have tailored off in the last month and continued this trend with a 49 point shellacking at the hands of bitter rivals Port Adelaide. On a tough night, their ball winners in Paul Seedsman and Rory Laird were the best for Matthew Nicks' side, whilst Riley Thilthorpe added two more majors to his tally for 2021.
Things do not get any easier for the Crows next week as they go up against the Eagles at home. They will have to turn things around and replicate their early season form if they are to have even a sniff at victory at what is a tough ground to travel to in Optus Stadium.
15. Fremantle (-1)
Fremantle avoided a shellacking at the hands of the Lions, going down by four goals on Sunday at the Gabba after being down by as much as eight goals in the third term. David Mundy continued his great form, with Caleb Serong and Andrew Brayshaw being the best of the young guns with their efforts in midfield being influential.
Justin Longmuir would be hoping to get his side's form re-ignited after some promising performances over the course of the season. They have an opportunity to do just that with a trip to Marvel Stadium potentially being just the trick if they manage to overcome the Bombers, who many would consider to be around a similar level to them.
16. Collingwood (+1)
Collingwood finally got some relief on the weekend, with a win being what they desperately needed after a month of turmoil. Although it was against the bottom-placed North Melbourne, Nathan Buckley has been given the smallest of reprieves and will hope that his side can build some momentum from this win.
Jordan De Goey put on a show, kicking six goals whilst Darcy Cameron chipped in with three majors as Steele Sidebottom celebrated 250 games for the club.
Collingwood now face a stern test as they travel to the Harbour City to take on Sydney and, despite taking the chocolates against North, will likely not be able to keep the young, hungry Swans at bay.
17. Hawthorn (-1)
The Hawks once again dished up a disappointing display, going down to the Eagles at home by 38 points. On a horrid day for Alastair Clarkson, there were seldom few who stood out for Hawthorn, with the only impressive performances coming from Tom Mitchell, James Worpel and Jack Scrimshaw.
Despite this, the Hawks will be confident they can get the win this week as they take on the Kangaroos in Tasmania. With the Roos' recent form, it could be a day out for the Hawks midfield with a big win on the cards.
18. North Melbourne (-)
Another week, another loss for the Roos. This week many thought that it could be the round that they finally chalk up a win against the lowly Pies, but it wasn't to be as they went down by three goals. To make matters worse, star recruit Jaidyn Stephenson is set for a stint on the sidelines with a hand injury that will require surgery.
A trip down to Tassie is on the cards for North as they face the Hawks in Launceston. Despite the teams being in similar positions on the ladder, the disparity between the two will be evident on Saturday, with the Roos tipped to be on the wrong end of a loss.