That’s a whole lot of teams nowhere near the premiership area!
It was an open field this time last year, too, but at least we had a few contenders. Most years, there’s usually at least one team snuggled in among a few premiership cups. But this year no-one’s been able to deliver sustained performance.
That makes for a volatile season, and the chance for someone to make a late run, or even do a Bulldogs 2016 and win it from way back. Something dramatic like that.
It’s not 1993-even. But it’s pretty even.
It was a great week for two teams, Port Adelaide and Melbourne, who put together impressive victories while their Top 4 competition in Adelaide and Geelong stumbled. Huh, it feels a little weird to be putting “Melbourne” and “Top 4” in the same sentence. What a world we live in. Anyway, the only thing that could have gone better for the Demons would have been if Fremantle slotted that last goal against the Cats, just to open that door a little further.
Squiggle is very disappointed in Geelong, because it doesn’t rate Fremantle much. So it was a dishonourable victory for the Cats, and they slide toward the middle of the pack.
Melbourne’s rise isn’t great news for Sydney, who play them this week. That one should be a great match.
Port get reward for a solid victory over Collingwood, again rolling out a very strong defensive effort in keeping the Pies to 9.8 62. Collingwood really have gone nowhere this year: they’re almost exactly where they started, and haven’t journeyed anywhere in the meantime. West Coast are similar.
Essendon, on the other hand, get better each week! Losing to the Swans in Sydney by a single point is good enough to send the Bombers flying up, up, again, like they have each week since Round 7 with the sole exception of their Round 10 loss to Richmond.
Things are very close in a few key areas there, and the Tower of Power (which is generated by a slower, more thorough series of simulations) disagrees, thinking GWS are more likely to snag an extra win and finish ahead of the Crows, Geelong will hold onto a Top 4 spot, and the Bulldogs will make the finals at West Coast’s expense:
Adelaide’s loss hurts their chances of finishing top quite a lot, partly because of missing the four points, and partly because what does it say when you lose at home to Hawthorn. It says you might not win enough games to finish top of the ladder, that’s what.
Meanwhile, no-one wants 17th! Every time Carlton or Hawthorn look like locking it down, they pull off an upset win.
Meanwhile on flagpole, it’s the same as always.