MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Josh Kennedy of the Eagles celebrates a goal during the 2018 AFL Grand Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the West Coast Eagles at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 29, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Here’s why the top six clubs can and cannot win the premiership.

  1. Geelong 52pts (13-4)

Why: Geelong has lost once at home (GMHBA) and once at the MCG in 10 games at the two venues this season. They have the best defence in the competition by light years, not conceding over 90 points once this season. Their run home suggests they will get at least two home finals and with their array of midfield stars and role players they will only lose to a team’s best performance.

Why Not: Right now, they are out of sorts. They got found out in the front half by the Hawks and have scored under 10 goals in two of their last three. Form is always an omen in the last eight weeks, and they have already dropped two games. If they drop another two ring the panic buttons, because they don’t want to go to Brisbane or out west.

  1. Brisbane 48pts (12-5)

Why: How exciting is this team. Dynamic, slick, creative and entertaining are the words to describe the Brisbane offense. Second highest scoring offense and the young Lions will look to Luke Hodge for composure come September. They have some serious tall timber and some of the best smalls in the game as well as a favourable run home which could very well see two home finals in Brisbane for the first time since the glory days.

Why Not: Experience and Defence. Under five Lions have played in a final. Their youth is exciting but in a big game with the heat turned up will they stand up? We will have to wait and see. They’ve also had some bad losses this year to the Blues, Dogs and Freo which highlight some flaws in the Lions’ armour.

Despite the Lions currently second on the ladder, Brisbane are fourth with bookmakers in terms of premiership odds, behind Geelong, Richmond and West Coast.

Richmond have moved into outright favouritism at $3.75, with the Cats just behind.

Geelong and Richmond are the only sides in the $4 range, with the Eagles at $4.50 to go back-to-back. Five teams are under the magical $10 mark, with the Pies in sixth at $13. For more AFL Premiership 2019 predictions and for  the best football betting tips click here.

  1. West Coast 48pts (12-5)

Why: Experience and home form. They have one top six side left and if they win all five, pencil them in for the prelim already. Adam Simpson is a master at home with a 7-2 record and give them two chances at a home final then they’ll be right in the mix. They’ve been solid in their last month and the reigning premiers know they are the real deal as a high kicking efficiency team.

Why Not: They have had some silly losses haven’t they? Collingwood was a real test and they had to win that at home. Sydney, Port Adelaide, Geelong and Brisbane have all beaten them up badly which poses the question… When the chips are down like the 2018 Grand Final can they come back or will they roll over and fold?

  1. Collingwood 44pts (11-6)

Why: A few months ago, they were favourites and rightly so. With a full side they are arguably the best side in the competition and Bucks has proven himself as a finals coach. They will be confident when Stephenson, Reid and co return that they can beat anyone regardless of where they finish as they are undefeated interstate. Big threat if they finish in top four.

Why Not: Form, off-field drama and MCG close losses. Make no mistake they are traditionally strong at home but 2019 has provided a few headaches at the home of football. Three losses at the MCG and only one win in their last four doesn’t make for pretty reading – with late form being a key indicator of finals success traditionally. If they don’t make that double chance and play Essendon or Richmond in a blockbuster under the lights they could well pack their bags before the semi-finals. Not likely but possible.

  1. Richmond 44pts (11-6)

Why: Riewoldt returns and well what do you know, here come the Tigers. I feel this is almost déjà vu for the Yellow and Black and that 2017 feeling is brewing down Punt Road. Disposing of GWS was a statement and with only MCG games left the Tigers could well grab a double chance. Dusty doing less has been a blessing for the young Tigers and now they are finding a free-flowing forward line with Lynch, Riewoldt, Rioli and Lambert. Is it Tiger time again…?

Why not: They still have to win games to be assured of a home final and with Higgins gone, another injury could mess the whole thing up. If one of Graham, Houli, Riewoldt, Cotching or Martin goes down you can almost write them off if the Dogs and Kangaroos losses were anything to go by. They will be there in week two, but it’s a lottery from there.

  1. GWS 40pts (10-7)

Why: High power offensive football. Cameron, Finlayson and Himmelberg have kicked 115 goals between them at 67.5% efficiency. Their outside ball winners are scary and they’ve proven they can defend when they need to. If they win four of the last five they will play at least one home final where they are really strong and a fourth genuine attempt at a maiden Grand Final appearance will be driving these Giants deep into September.

Why not: Injuries and some worrying defeats. Coniglio was a huge loss, and he’s not the only walking wounded. As well as that they were touched up by West Coast, Richmond and Brisbane who they are chasing on the ladder. A win against the Pies gives them hope they can play against the top sides with their injuries but if they miss a home final, travelling to the MCG in the first week could see an early exit.

It’s one of the tightest competitions in years with many teams having a realistic shot to win it. The next five weeks will be critical in the final standings but it’s really anyone’s game in 2019.