On target to win their first minor premiership since 1964 … the year they last tasted flag success. Defensively sound and efficient at the contest. The return of Steven May and Tom McDonald will only strengthen their spine.
Next up: Geelong
Have some injury concerns, with the loss of Tom Stewart from defence a major stumbling block. Get the chance to test their credentials this weekend against the Demons.
Next up: Melbourne
3. PORT ADELAIDE
Fast approaching full fitness and the injection of their better players in recent weeks has been impossible to ignore. Would love to see them claim a proper scalp in the upcoming round.
Next up: Western Bulldogs
Have rediscovered their mojo in the past fortnight. Loved the way Lachie Neale worked his way into some real form against Collingwood. Charlie Cameron’s brilliance could yet propel them to a double chance.
Next up: West Coast
5. WESTERN BULLDOGS
The absence of Josh Bruce and concerns over their defence loom large. Need to win this weekend to be assured of a top-four berth.
Next up: Port Adelaide
What’s not to like? Any side that dismisses Geelong in Geelong and then feasts on the carcass of Richmond gets our attention. A chap by the name of Toby Greene returns this week as well.
Next up: Carlton
Hard to fault what they have done since the mid-season bye. That said, injuries to Nick Blakey (leg fracture) and Josh Kennedy (hamstring) leaves them wobbly ahead of a possible elimination final against GWS.
Next up: Gold Coast
Would be more than happy with the prospect of taking on the Western Bulldogs in an elimination final in just under two weeks if results go as expected in round 23. Have got to September a season earlier than many thought.
Next up: Collingwood
9. ST KILDA
Their chances of playing finals are gone, but they haven’t downed tools. Took a Patrick Dangerfield masterclass to deny them on the weekend.
Next up: Fremantle
Are they now the best team in Perth? You could certainly mount an argument to say so after what we witnessed on Sunday. A seismic win by a depleted side laced with youth.
Next up: St Kilda
11. WEST COAST
From 8-5 to 10-11 and in all likelihood, will finish 10-12. Too conditional for too much of the time. A team that is most definitely in decline.
Next up: Brisbane
Where was this level of consistency and effort in the first half of the year? It seems the coaching saga involving Alastair Clarkson has narrowed his focus.
Next up: Richmond
Were finally put out of their misery by GWS. Personnel problems have taken their toll. Can rebound strongly in 2022 with a good pre-season.
Next up: Hawthorn
Were opened up like a can of sardines by Brisbane. The end of the year cannot come quickly enough. The kids are okay, however.
Next up: Essendon
David Teague’s men had not been smacked at any stage in 2021 … until the weekend. A club that lacks a hard edge and an identity. Serious change is coming.
Next up: GWS
16. NORTH MELBOURNE
Continue to play at a good level, albeit finding it hard to win games. Earn the wooden spoon for the first time in nearly half a century.
Next up: Adelaide
Showed good character to overcome the disappointment of the loss to Port Adelaide with a competitive display against Melbourne. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Next up: North Melbourne
18. GOLD COAST
Very much an underwhelming football club. Enough said.
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