Round 14 was one for the ages, with Sydney and the Western Bulldogs winning by just one point, Geelong scraping home against Fremantle by two points and a last gasp Melbourne spoiling the West Coast Eagles home party with a three point victory. Throw in a massive upset as a struggling Hawthorn took down the Crows in Adelaide and you have one of the most enthralling and exciting rounds of AFL in recent memory. The AFANA Power Poll reflects the aftermath of such a weekend with the all-conquering Greater Western Sydney Giants once again taking top spot.
1. Greater Western Sydney Giants (Last week - 2)
The Giants injury list increased with Brownlow medal fancy Josh Kelly unable to make the trip to Brisbane. No problem for the Giants who ran riot against the Lions up north, running out convincing ten goal winners and re-establishing their credentials as the team to beat in 2017.
2. Geelong Cats (3)
A two point home victory over a hot-and-cold Fremantle would not usually be a reason for the Cats to celebrate. The fact they lost their captain to concussion less than a minute into the game before losing two more players prior to three quarter time while erasing a 34 point lead certainly was. A gutsy win for Geelong that earns them the number two spot on the power poll this week.
3. Adelaide Crows (1)
The Crows were heavily favored to win comfortably over a struggling Hawthorn at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night. The Hawks had other ideas. Coach Alistair Clarkson pulled off a miraculous upset by sending extra numbers into the backline to stifle Adelaide’s free-flowing running game, resulting in one of the biggest upsets of the season.
4. Port Adelaide Power (4)
Port Adelaide once again put in a solid performance against Collingwood at the MCG. With versatile forward Robbie Gray leading the way, the Power was rarely troubled by the scuffling Magpies as they marched to a comfortable 31 point win. Right now Port has a top four finish firmly in its sights.
5. Melbourne Demons (6)
The Demons made it five wins out of their last six with a magnificent last minute victory over the West Coast Eagles in Perth. Tom McDonald’s late goal gave the Demons their first win against the Eagles in Perth for 15 years, after they looked beaten with just over six minutes to play. There is genuine excitement around a Melbourne team that is yet to welcome back spearhead Jesse Hogan.
6. Sydney Swans (7)
The Swans once again performed a great escape to win the seemingly unwinnable. Trailing by 19 points with just less than three and a half minutes remaining, having endured a seven goals to nil run by Essendon, all looked lost for the Sydneysiders. In one of the most incredible finishes in recent memory, the Swans somehow turned the momentum around, ending with a goal after the siren that gave them an incredible victory by one point. After starting out the season at 0-6, the Swans are knocking on the door of the top eight at 6-7.
7. West Coast Eagles (5)
The Eagles suffered a massive blow to their top four hopes by going down to a plucky Melbourne in Perth on Saturday night. Leading by 16 points with six minutes to play, the Eagles couldn’t contain a desperate Melbourne outfit that scored the game winning goal with just 20 seconds on the clock. With star full forward Josh Kennedy no certainty to return next week; the Eagles will rue a missed opportunity to separate themselves from the top eight traffic jam.
8. Richmond Tigers ( 8 )
The Tigers once again failed to capitalize on numerous forward entries against a Carlton team that always fancies itself in a low scoring game. Having lost many tight games of late, the Tigers were not about to let this one slip against their fierce rivals in the Blues. Star midfielder Dustin Martin took control in the final quarter as Richmond notched up its eighth win for the season – the same amount they managed in the entire season last year.
9. Western Bulldogs (9)
The Bulldogs fell over the line against a hard charging North Melbourne Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night. Whilst the Kangaroos appeared to complete a stunning comeback with a late goal to Ben Brown, an off the ball free kick nullified the score and gave the Bulldogs a lifeline that they would not let slip. Jake Stringer marked inside the 50 meter arc with less than a minute to play, with his shot for goal missing but giving his team the one point needed to break the deadlock and give his team victory.
10. St Kilda Saints (11)
The Saints did what they had to do in defeating the Gold Coast Suns at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, thought it must be said the game did not reach any great heights. Jack Billings continued his great mid-season form with another best on ground performance, while spiritual leader Nick Riewoldt continues to play himself back into peak form after a long injury layoff.
11. Essendon Bombers (10)
The Bombers somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the Swans in Sydney on Friday night. The positive for Essendon fans is the way they piled on seven goals in a row against a very well drilled Swans group; however it all counted for nought when the Bombers allowed the home team to snatch an incredible last second victory. With one of the easiest draws for the rest of the season, the Bombers cannot be counted out for the finals just yet.
12. Fremantle Dockers (12)
The Dockers were extremely impressive for 95% of their match against Geelong at Simonds Stadium, however they could not close out a fast finishing Cats who once again notched up a win at their home fortress. After a few less than impressive performances in recent weeks, Fremantle showed they can mix it with the best when they fire on all cylinders.
13. Hawthorn Hawks (16)
The Hawks deservedly moved up three spots in the power poll this week with a magnificent win against the Crows at Adelaide Oval. Luke Hodge marshalled his undermanned Hawks to perfection, with a late two goal cameo by young Ryan Burton getting the Hawks home in one of the season’s biggest upsets.
14. North Melbourne Kangaroos (14)
The Kangaroos took the game right up to the reigning premiers in the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night, falling agonisingly short of victory despite a stirring comeback. Kangaroo fans were livid at two incidents that cost them goals – one an overturned mark against Ben Brown in the dying minutes, the other when forward Sean Higgins was called to play on when having a shot for goal, resulting in him being caught holding the ball.
15. Collingwood Magpies (13)
Collingwood fought hard against Port Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday, yet they were no match for the silky skills of the Port Adelaide small forwards, in particular Robbie Gray who was outstanding for the visitors with five goals as the Power rolled on to a 31 point win. Finals action looks to be out of the equation for the struggling Magpies.
16. Carlton Blues (15)
The Blues defensive tactics of sending extra men to block up the backline had the desired effect in frustrating Richmond’s scoring output; however they did not produce enough scoring options to trouble the Tigers at the other end. While the Blues will help shape the final eight, they certainly will not feature in it as they continue to build for the future.
17. Gold Coast Suns (17)
A lackluster Gold Coast were no match for the Saints as they went down by 31 points. Missing Gary Ablett, Aaron Hall and more, the Suns problems are compounded by the fact that gun forward Tom Lynch is sadly out of form.
18. Brisbane Lions (18)
The Lions failed to back up their solid victory over Fremantle just a week earlier, getting pummelled by the league leading Greater Western Sydney Giants by 60 points. The Lions day was a disaster from the start as the dynamic Dayne Beams left the ground after being crunched by Giants big man Shane Mumford in the first quarter. Beams could not return to the field, and the Lions could not resist the skills of the Giants who went a game clear at the top of the AFL ladder in the wake of Adelaide’s loss to Hawthorn.
Article last changed on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 12:16 PM EDT