by Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia
1. Adelaide Crows (Last Week - 1)
The Crows keep top spot after obliterating Essendon by 65 points in front of a rabid Adelaide Oval home crowd. No Josh Jenkins, no Mitch McGovern, no problems for the Crows who are on fire right now.
2. Greater Western Sydney Giants (2)
The Giants didn’t have it all their own way against a feisty Port Adelaide at Spotless Stadium. Despite trailing by four points at three quarter time, the Giants stormed home to win by 31 points, keeping the Power goalless in the final quarter.
3. Geelong Cats (6)
The Cats rolled to their fourth successive victory, pummeling a disappointing Hawthorn by a whopping 86 points at the MCG on Easter Monday. In doing so they assumed top spot on the AFL ladder, just reward for a great month of footy.
4. Western Bulldogs (3)
The Bulldogs managed a last-gasp win against a desperately unlucky North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Good Friday. The reigning premiers are yet to hit top form, but good teams win the close ones, and there is plenty to like here.
5. West Coast Eagles (5)
The Eagles keep their current ranking after a workman like 26 point victory over the struggling Sydney Swans at Domain Stadium in Perth. Elliot Yeo and Luke Shuey continue to shine for the Eagles who will be tough to beat t home this season.
6. St Kilda Saints ( 8 ) The Saints are starting to look like the team that most experts predicted would rise up the ladder in 2017. A strong third quarter where they scored four of the five total goals set up their second win, and with Jack Newnes and Nick Reiwoldt in startling form, the Saints are on the march.
7. Melbourne Demons (6)
Rookie coach Simon Goodwin must be seething that gun players Jesse Hogan and Jordan Lewis once again had to watch from the sidelines as their team went down by just two points to an impressive Fremantle Dockers at the MCG on Saturday afternoon. Reported for ill-disciplined acts two weeks ago, the two vital players may have made the difference. Hogan returns against the Tigers next week.
8. Richmond Tigers (10)
The Tigers move up two more spaces after completing their fourth win in a row, this time over the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba. The 52-point victory was set up by a scintillating first half where the Tiger small forwards were too much for the Lions to contain. With three tough matches to come – Melbourne at the MCG, Adelaide at Adelaide Oval and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad – we are about to find out whether the Tigers are the real deal.
9. Port Adelaide Power (9)
The Power were once again impressive for much of the contest against a supremely talented Giants outfit, with Robbie Gray returning to the midfield alongside workhorse Ollie Wines. Heading the Giants at three-quarter time, coach Ken Hinkley would have been disappointed to see his team go down by 31 points in a game they controlled in bursts.
10. Sydney Swans (7)
The Swans finally get the drop down the power poll as they lost their fourth game in a row – this time to the Eagles in Perth. There is no doubt the Swans depth is being tested by a swag of injuries, but they simply have to find a win soon if they want to be a big player in the finals.
11. Fremantle Dockers (14)
The Dockers miraculous turnaround continues. After two poor outings that led to a cull of senior players, the purple clad boys from the West have been seemingly inspired by the injection of youth into their lineup. Headed by Melbourne in the final quarter after leading for most of the second half, a Cam McCarthy inspired late burst saw the Dockers home by just two points.
12. Gold Coast Suns (15)
The Suns are shining after back to back victories, this time at their not-so-happy hunting ground, Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. After a tough slog in the first half against a committed Carlton outfit, the Suns ran rampant after half time with seven goals to exciting young forward Tom Lynch. A big test awaits the Suns as they take on the Crows at Metricon Stadium next week.
13. Collingwood Magpies (11)
After a week away from the media spotlight having beaten the Swans in Sydney, coach Nathan Buckley is squarely back in the cross hairs of the rabid Melbourne press after a lackluster performance by the Magpies against Saint Kilda. Kicking just seven goals for the match under the roof of Etihad Stadium, Collingwood needs to take a serious look at their forward structure with a view to a quick fix.
14. Essendon Bombers (13)
The Bombers were never really in the match against a rampaging Crows outfit minus half of the “big four” forwards. Taylor Walker stepped up with five goals while the mercurial Eddie Betts wreaked havoc on the Bomber defense kicking six goals in a magnificent display that had the home crowd in raptures. Zach Merrett played almost a lone hand for the Bombers as he racked up a whopping 35 disposals.
15. Hawthorn Hawks (12)
The Hawks free fall continues. While competitive for three quarters against a very solid Geelong, Hawthorn stopped to a walk in the final quarter, conceding a whopping 11 Geelong goals in what became an embarrassing rout for the recent AFL powerhouse. At 0-4, the season has raised more questions than answers regarding their off-season trade fest.
16. North Melbourne Kangaroos (17)
The Kangaroos did enough to win against the reigning premier Western Bulldogs on the first Good Friday AFL fixture in history at Etihad Stadium on Friday night. In their second gut-wrenching loss for the season (they went down by one point to Geelong in round one), the Kangaroos had the last shot on goal through Lindsay Thomas that sailed wide, condemning the Kangaroos to an 0-4 start.
17. Carlton Blues (16)
After a stirring win against the Bombers in round three, the Blues failed to back it up against an improved Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium. Whilst it’s top tier talent in Murphy, Gibbs, Docherty and Marchbank continue to play well, the bottom rung is not consistently good enough to keep the Blues afloat against quality opposition.
18. Brisbane Lions (18)
The Lions once again show brilliance in patches but their young squad needs games under their belts to develop into a quality outfit. The Tigers dissected their back line with ease in the first half, and whilst they stuck at their task to force a close run second half, they never looked like causing an upset victory.
Article last changed on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 11:23 AM EDT