Welcome to the first AFANA AFL Power Poll for 2019, and what a crazy couple of rounds of footy we have witnessed to kick off the season! If what we have seen so far is any indication, Aussie rules football fans are in for a crazy ride in 2019. Nothing should surprise us given the last three premiers have come from 8th, 13th and 6th on the ladder in the year prior to taking out the big one.
In early October, the trade period began. It ran through October 17. A number of players had previously told their clubs they wanted to go elsewhere. Some were restricted or unrestricted free agents.
Fremantle was the first club to sign a player during the free agency period. They signed Richmond defender Reece Conca. Conca, 26, is originally from West Australia and decided he wanted to return home after eight seasons and 204 games for the Tigers.
With the byes behind us, the first full slate of AFL games in a month gave us an absolutely sensational round of football with upsets, tight finishes and a brand new AFANA Power Poll leader!
Round fifteen highlights included a win for the Tigers over the second placed Swans, upset wins by Saint Kilda, the Western Bulldogs, Essendon and Brisbane and a big win by the Giants over the Hawks that has really opened up the competition for the final eight as we head into the last two months of the minor round.
Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
With three rounds in the books, incredibly Port Adelaide remains as the only undefeated team, underlying what shapes up as one of the closest races for the top eight in recent memory. The Power had an almighty scare at home as they scraped in by just five points over a rapidly improving Brisbane Lions. In the match of the round, crosstown rivals the Sydney Swans and the Greater Western Sydney Giants battled it out at the SCG,
by Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
1. Western Bulldogs (Last Week - 1)
The Bulldogs retain top spot on the AFANA Power Poll after a stirring win over a gallant Sydney Swans. Marcus Bontempelli and Luke Dalhaus were once again magnificent for the Bulldogs who are showing no signs of a premiership hangover.
2. Adelaide Crows (2)
Another big tick for the Crows who came from behind to beat Hawthorn for the first time since 2011. Despite losing tall forward Josh Jenkins early, the Crows were simply too slick for a Hawthorn outfit that is yet to hit their straps in 2017.
In a Thursday night (Perth time) elimination final, the Western Bulldogs defied history and the betting markets by shredding the West Coast Eagles at Domain Stadium.
So, who wins it all? In what looks to be the most open finals series for some time, you could mount a solid argument for six teams that could potentially take out the 2016 premiership. Read on for my take on who can win the Aussie rules championship in 2016 and why – and my pick for the two teams that will meet in the biggest AFL match of the year on October 1st.
I’ll start in reverse order of regular season finish, from eighth to top spot.
The Greater Western Sydney Giants continue to send shivers up the collective spine of every other team in the AFL. Despite losing two talented defenders early in their Sunday contest against the Western Bulldogs, the Giants rolled to their sixth win in a row, outlasting a plucky Bulldog outfit by 25 points at Spotless Stadium. GWS now sits in third on the AFL ladder in a 3 way log-jam at 7-2 for the year.
A crowd of just above 60,000 witnessed a thrilling Elimination Final on Saturday night as the Adelaide Crows ensured the Western Bulldogs would be the first team knocked out of the Finals race in 2015. Despite leading most of the statistics that usually result in victory (contested possession, time in forward half, clearances and shots on goal), the Bulldogs let themselves down in front of goal, while their Adelaide opponents nailed crucial shots which turned out to be the difference between living to fight another day or packing the footy boots away for another season.