The Brisbane Lions retain top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll this week, courtesy of win number seven in a row over a competitive Western Bulldogs outfit. The Eagles remain right on the Lions tail after an impressive road win against a resurgent Carlton, Richmond overcame a slow start to roll the Demons at the MCG and the Giants stayed hot with a win against crosstown rival Sydney.
Geelong once again stumbled, this time losing to an injury hit Fremantle at Optus Stadium, Essendon had its winning streak broken by an up again Port Adelaide, the Kangaroos took care of Hawthorn after a sluggish start and finally the Adelaide Crows showed some form to end Saint Kilda’s finals hopes at Adelaide Oval.
Collingwood got its finals run back on track with a comfortable win over the Suns at the MCG, but in the process lost another soldier with big American Mason Cox sustaining an eye injury that looks to possibly keep him out for the rest of the season.
With just three regular season rounds to go, there are still potentially 11 teams that could finish in the finals, and Geelong’s recent slump has left them vulnerable at the top of the AFL ladder. The next few weeks of footy are going to be quite the ride, so strap yourselves in! On to the Power Poll for Round 20…
1. Brisbane Lions (Last Week: 1)
Seven wins in a row, home finals beckoning, it’s a good time to be a Brisbane Lion. Coach Chris Fagan’s only concern is a minor hamstring issue to midfield star Dayne Zorko.
2. West Coast Eagles (2)
The Eagles were challenged by Carlton on Sunday at Marvel Stadium, but powered home to a four goal win on the back of some brilliant forward craft. Back to back premierships looks like a realistic goal for this well rounded outfit.
3. Richmond Tigers (4)
It is no surprise that Richmond’s winning streak has coincided with a lot of players coming back from injury. The Tigers have put themselves in a position to finish in the top four, but will more than likely need to overcome the odds in winning all three remaining games – including matches against in form West Coast and Brisbane – to do so.
4. Greater Western Sydney Giants (6)
The Giants held on to defeat crosstown rival Sydney by just two points in a game that may clinch the Greater Western Sydney an all-important top four position on the ladder. Leon Cameron’s men have continued to stay afloat despite injuries to some of their best.
5. Geelong Cats (3)
Geelong remains in a funk, losing to an under strength Fremantle at Optus Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Cats have seen their big lead at the head of the AFL ladder eroded in the past month, and now find themselves with company on 14 wins in the guise of the Eagles and the Lions.
6. Collingwood Magpies (7)
Collingwood enjoyed an outing against the lowly Gold Coast Suns on Sunday, boosting their percentage with a 69 point win. Big Texan forward Mason Cox unfortunately sustained a nasty eye injury that will threaten the rest of his season, something the injury hit Magpies can ill afford.
7. Essendon Bombers (5)
The Bombers drop down the AFL Power Poll after an insipid showing against Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on Saturday. After a dream run of five wins in a row, the loss to Port leaves Essendon vulnerable in the top eight with three tough games to finish.
8. North Melbourne Kangaroos (11)
The Kangaroos broke a three game losing streak with an inspired come-from-behind win against Hawthorn on Friday night at Marvel Stadium. Shaun Higgins led the way for North Melbourne with 28 possessions and seven clearances.
9. Adelaide Crows (12)
The Crows cling to a finals berth thanks to a hard fought victory over Saint Kilda at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. Out of favor Bryce Gibbs staked his claim to stay in the team with 29 touches and six clearances to his name.
10. Port Adelaide Power (13)
Port broke a three game losing streak with a resounding 59 point win against Essendon, keeping their finals hopes alive in the process. Robbie Gray (4 goals) and Dan Houston (29 possessions) were best for the Power.
11. Western Bulldogs (8)
The Bulldogs matched the Brisbane Lions in most statistical categories despite losing to the red hot Lions by 18 points. With an inferior percentage to other teams fighting for the top eight, the window for the Bulldogs to play finals in 2019 is ajar but closing fast.
12. Carlton Blues (10)
Carlton gave a solid account of itself against a West Coast team building towards its premiership defense. The Blues matched the Eagles in general play, but struggled to convert forward 50 meter entries into scores due to kicking too long to the spare Eagles defenders.
13. Hawthorn Hawks (9)
The Hawks had plenty to play for on Friday night against the Kangaroos, with a chance of finals on the line plus Shaun Burgoyne breaking the all-time record for games played by an Indigenous Australian AFL player (373 games). Unfortunately for Burgoyne, Hawthorn was completely outclassed in the second half, going down eventually by 22 points.
14. Fremantle Dockers (15)
The Dockers looked a completely different outfit to the one that was thrashed by the Bulldogs just a week ago, attacking the footy and Geelong players with manic pressure that helped the Dockers to an upset 34 point win over the league leaders. Nat Fyfe was sensational with 27 disposals, two goals and a game high 11 clearances.
15. St Kilda Saints (14)
Saint Kilda’s 22 point loss to the Crows spells the end of any finals chances for the Saints, but once again Brett Ratten’s men showed enough to suggest they will be better placed to become a finals challenger in 2020.
16. Sydney Swans (16)
The young Swans threw everything they had at the Giants in the match-up of co-Sydney tenants, but fell short by just two points despite the efforts of Isaac Heeney who nailed four goals.
17. Melbourne Demons (17)
As has been Melbourne’s lot of late, they were competitive against Richmond in the first half, but failed to sustain their intensity before going down by 33 points. It’s all about next season for Simon Goodwin’s men.
18. Gold Coast Suns (18)
For those keeping score, the Suns loss to Collingwood was their 15th in a row. Over to you AFL.
Article last changed on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 8:05 PM EDT