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by Boris Kilpatrick, special to AFANA from Australia

There are some big movers in the AFANA power poll this week as upset wins continue across the league. In what looks to be the most even competition in years, predicting the top eight is becoming somewhat of a wild guess.

1.    Greater Western Sydney Giants (Last Week - 1)
For the second week in a row, the injury riddled Giants found a way to win despite being outplayed for most of the game by a Richmond team that seems to consistently find unique ways to lose. With plenty of talent to return to their list, the Giants will be hard to beat as the season progresses.

2.    Adelaide Crows (3)
The Crows returned to the winners list and the top of the AFL ladder with a big 80-point victory over the Lions in Brisbane. Whilst Adelaide weren’t at their best early, they wore the inexperienced Lions down with a strong running game that had been missing over the previous two losses to the Kangaroos and Melbourne.

3.    Geelong Cats (7)
The Cats get the big move of the week on our Power Poll as they kicked off their three-game home stand at Simonds Stadium in style with a 23-point win over the reigning premiers. Despite coming off three consecutive losses, the Cats powered to victory in front of a rabid sell-out crowd. Geelong’s intent can be quantified in their tackle count, as they laid an amazing 134 tackles for the match. 

4.    West Coast Eagles (2)
The Eagles drop two spots after turning in a terrible performance in Melbourne against a rejuvenated Essendon. Coach Adam Simpson has a real issue on his hands as the Eagles continue to struggle when playing in Melbourne. With just one win from four starts in Melbourne this season, the Eagles must turn this statistic around if they are to be considered genuine Premiership contenders.

5.    Port Adelaide Power (5)
The Power remain in 5th on the AFANA Power Poll after enjoying a bye on their return from China.

6.    Fremantle Dockers (9)
The Dockers have found their mojo and accordingly rise into six on the power poll as they rolled to their third win in a row – this time against Carlton in wet conditions at Domain Stadium in Perth. Ross Lyon has seemingly re-invented the Dockers after a poor start to the season, with the move of Michael Walters to the midfield giving them a badly needed injection of pace. The Crows in Adelaide this week will be good indicator of how much Fremantle has improved.

7.    Western Bulldogs (4)
The Bulldogs drop to seventh spot after losing an enthralling contest to Geelong at Simonds Stadium. In a game where most of the scoring occurred at one end despite the lack of any significant wind, the Bulldogs could not contain Geelong playmakers Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield who ran rampant in a last quarter blitz that saw the cats home by 23 points.

8.    Sydney Swans (10)
The Swans are another team on the rise after a shocking start to the season. Riding a three-game winning streak on the back of a return to form of midfield guns Dan Hannebery and Josh Kennedy, the Swans are once again looking like the team feared by all others in recent seasons. 

9.    St Kilda Saints (6) The Saints were disappointing in going down by 50 points to a resurgent Sydney Swans at Etihad Stadium on Saturday. The Saints had no answer to the big bodied midfield of the Swans, and now face a massive game against the reigning premier Western Bulldogs in round ten.

10.    Essendon Bombers (12)
The schizophrenic Bombers are quickly becoming a footy tipster's nightmare. Expected to be outclassed by a strong Geelong outfit, Essendon instead outplayed the Cats with a fast-paced brand of exciting football. With a record of 4-4, fans must be excited for a run at the top eight if the team can find some consistency.

11.    Melbourne Demons ( 8 )
In a spiteful match that had the umpires on their toes from start to finish, the Demons failed to capitalize on a second quarter run that looked to have them on track for victory at the main break. After allowing the Kangaroos to once again gain ascendancy in the third quarter, a Jordan Lewis goal in the final quarter brought the Demons within three points before North Melbourne rallied late for a stirring victory.

12.    Richmond Tigers (11)
In an amazing case of what seemed like deja-vu, the Tigers once again were in the box seat to win, but a late goal from Jeremy Cameron of the Giants consigned Richmond to their fourth loss in a row – including their third by less than one goal. Coach Damien Hardwick will have another sleepless week as he ponders what could have been.

13.    North Melbourne Kangaroos (14)
The Kangaroos stood up against Melbourne in one of the most physical games of the season to date. Off the ball incidents and borderline contact, particularly against Kangaroo midfielder Shaun Higgins, marred an otherwise enthralling game that saw the Kangaroos home by 14 points after a late surge against the Demons. Forward Ben Brown and midfielder Ben Cunnington were standout performers for the young Kangaroo outfit.

14.    Collingwood Magpies (17)
At half time in their match against Hawthorn on Saturday night, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley could have been forgiven for scanning the local “help wanted” ads as his coaching career was hanging by a thread. Enter Magpies Captain Scott Pendlebury who led his team to a stirring come from behind victory against the hapless Hawks, outscoring Hawthorn nine goals to just one in the second half. It was a small step for the Magpies who have the talent to win a lot more games as the season progresses.

15.    Hawthorn Hawks (13)
The Hawks once again put in a terrible second half, this time blowing a 43-point lead against Collingwood on Saturday night at the MCG. With the Hawks poor form combined with a spate of injuries, it looks unlikely that the once mighty Hawks will be able to once again challenge for the premiership.  

16.    Gold Coast Suns (16)
The Suns had the weekend off to lick their wounds on return from a shellacking at the hands of the Power in Shanghai.

17.    Carlton Blues (15)
There Blues once again tried hard in a wet weather slog against the rapidly improving Fremantle Dockers in Perth. After losing Sam Rowe early to a season-ending ACL injury, the Blues hung in against the Dockers until the weather cleared after half time, allowing the speedy Fremantle midfielders to take control. Carlton is on the right track, but they have a long road ahead.

18.    Brisbane Lions (18)
The Lions remain firmly in the cellar of the AFANA Power Poll on the back of an 80 point drubbing by the league leading Adelaide Crows. The Lions showed some skill and endeavor early, but poor finishing in front of goal cost them a chance to build a strong lead over the Crows. With a lot of young talent invested in tall key position players, the Lions will take time to improve.

Article last changed on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 12:15 PM EDT

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