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Patrick Cripps
Cripps Prepares to Dominate

The Brisbane Lions claimed another victim, this time it was Hawthorn down in Tasmania to keep the Lions atop the AFANA AFL Power Poll and all but end the Hawks chances of finals football. Fellow pacesetter the West Coast Eagles, made light work of the Kangaroos at home. Geelong overcame a slow start to claim a win against Sydney on the road and Richmond proved too strong for an injury-hit Collingwood in the Friday night blockbuster at the MCG.

Essendon survived quite a scare at the hands of cellar dwelling Gold Coast before prevailing in what was their fifth win in a row, Greater Western Sydney found enough to scrape home against Port Adelaide by a solitary point in Heath Shaw’s 300th game. The Western Bulldogs kept their top eight chances alive with a big win over Fremantle and the Adelaide Crows left the gate open for another team to snatch 8th spot as they went down to an in-form Carlton at the MCG. Finally, Saint Kilda kept interim coach Brett Ratten’s record spotless by overcoming Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night.

With just four rounds remaining before the finals begin, there are still plenty of scenarios for both the top two (home final and double-chance), spots three and four (double chance) and hope for those just outside the eight to steal a finals berth in what should be a frantic final month of football.

1.    Brisbane Lions (Last Week: 1) 
The young Lions were handed another tough test in Tasmania against the Hawks and passed with flying colors, registering a 27 point win. With a six-game winning streak and home finals looking a reality, Brisbane could go all the way in 2019.

2.    West Coast Eagles (2) 
The Eagles demolished the Kangaroos by 49 points at Optus Oval, and in the process displayed their premiership credentials as Josh Kennedy booted seven goals for the home team. If the Eagles finish top two, they should be back in the grand final again.

3.    Geelong Cats (3) 
Geelong returned to some form with a 27 point away win at Sydney. Coach Chris Scott would have been very pleased to see Tim Kelly return to near his best with 31 possessions while Tom Hawkins looked great in kicking five goals for the Cats.

4.   Richmond Tigers (6) 
Richmond made light work of an undermanned Collingwood at the MCG on Friday night, signaling their intent not to just make up the numbers in the race for the 2019 flag. Boon recruit Tom Lynch was in ominous form up forward as the Tigers notched their 5th win in a row.

5.    Essendon Bombers (4) 
Essendon can feel aggrieved at dropping a spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll despite notching a win against the Gold Coast, but such was the Tigers dominance over the Magpies that they upstaged the late comeback from the Bombers against the lowly Suns. With a five game win streak of their own, the Bombers have all but locked in a well-earned finals appearance.

6.    Greater Western Sydney Giants (7) 
The Giants were not at their best but did enough to scrape home by the narrowest of margins against a fast finishing Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. In the absence of big guns Josh Kelly and Stephen Coniglio, Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto stepped up with 31 touches each.

7.    Collingwood Magpies (5) 
Collingwood were never in the match against a rampaging Tiger outfit on Friday night, and were somewhat flattered by the losing margin of 32 points. Injuries have caught up with the Magpies who have lost four of their last five matches. There is still time to turn things around as players come back from injury, but a top four finish will be hard from here.

8.    Western Bulldogs (11) 
The Bulldogs are the team most likely to take Adelaide’s spot in the final eight. Luke Beveridge’s men crushed a hapless Fremantle by 57 points at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, putting them in great shape to challenge for that eight spot with four weeks to go. Jack Macrae was best on ground with 38 possessions.

9.    Hawthorn Hawks (8) 
Hawthorn’s three game win streak came to an end with a defeat at the University of Tasmania Stadium to a red hot Brisbane Lions. The loss probably spells the end of any finals aspirations for the Hawks who have a reasonably tough run to the end of the season. 

10.    Carlton Blues (14) 
The Blues are on the move! Interim Coach David Teague is making it difficult for the Carlton board to overlook him as the man for the job, as the Blues won their 4th game out of the last five against a slumping Adelaide Crows on Saturday at the MCG. There are increasingly strong signs for Carlton moving back into finals contention in 2020.

11.    North Melbourne Kangaroos (9) 
North Melbourne drop to 10th on the AFANA Power Poll after dropping their third game in a row, and any hope of playing in the big games in September. 

12.    Adelaide Crows (10) 
The Crows are in danger of missing the finals after suffering defeat at the hands of a suddenly hot Carlton Blues. With a soft draw and a seemingly talented list, it will be a bitter pill to swallow for Don Pyke and his men if they do not feature in the finals this season. This Saturday’s game against Saint Kilda is a must win. 

13.    Port Adelaide Power (12) 
Port almost pulled off victory in a low scoring affair against the Giants on Saturday night, but ultimately fell short due to a slow start where they were held goal less in the first quarter. A win over Essendon at Marvel Stadium this Saturday will keep Port’s slim finals chances alive. 

14.    St Kilda Saints (15) 
Brett Ratten now holds a perfect 2-0 record at the helm of the Saints since taking over from the outgoing Alan Richardson, which will make Adelaide Crows fans very nervous heading into Saturday’s clash at the Adelaide Oval. Jade Gresham and Seb Ross are in great form for the Saints, both having 31 touches against the Dockers in their big win on the weekend.

15.    Fremantle Dockers (13) 
Fremantle’s season is slowly sinking into the abyss, with just a one point win over the Swans to show for themselves in the last six weeks of footy. Mathematically they can make the eight, but like the Hawks, it is very unlikely given their current form. 

16.    Sydney Swans (16) 
Sydney was competitive against the competition leading Geelong but couldn’t sustain four quarters of the same quality against the Cats, eventually going down by 27 points. Fielding a very young team (23 years, 7 months) compared to Geelong (26 years, 4 months) is a sign that the Swans are looking to the future.

17.    Melbourne Demons (17) 
The Demons lost again, but like most weeks in recent times have been well in the game before going down by small margins. All indications point to a big jump up the table in 2020. 

18.    Gold Coast Suns (18) 
The Suns had a greatly improved showing against the Bombers on Sunday at Metricon Stadium, leading in the final quarter before being overrun by some Essendon brilliance from Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Jake Stringer. Ben King looked great up forward with four goals – his signature along with fellow young gun Lack Lukosius will be priority number one for the club in the off-season.

Article last changed on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 12:43 PM EDT

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