Kate Hore, Aine Tighe, Ellie Blackburn. Pictures: AFL Photos

WE'RE NOW halfway through the NAB AFLW season, and five rounds in, how do all the teams stack up?

With varying levels of fixture difficulty up until this point, the ladder can give a few false readings as to how teams rank against each other.

A soft draw means a few sides have banked a couple of early wins, and might be set to slide back into the pack, while a tough start can have teams on the back foot.

Throw in form and both winning and losing margins, and the relative strength of teams isn't as obvious as the ladder presents.

Read on for our power rankings of AFLW sides halfway through the season.

1. Melbourne (1st on the ladder, 5-0, 306.9 per cent)

The Demons have clearly been the front-runner this year, picking up from where they left off after winning the flag last season. Their scoring power is second to none, but they face their biggest test this weekend in Adelaide.

2. Adelaide (2nd, 5-0, 264.3 per cent)

Just a step behind Melbourne, having scored plenty but not quite at the ballistic level of the Demons. The defences of the two sides are arguably on par, the Crows having conceded four points fewer than their upcoming opponent.

3. Brisbane (4th, 4-1, 178.5 per cent)

It hasn't all been pretty, but the gritty Lions have found a way to win again and again in season 2023. Dropped a round one game to Richmond when the new-look Lions were finding their feet after some big off-field changes, but came from behind to overrun North Melbourne in Tasmania, something no side has done before.

Breanna Koenen in action during the match between Brisbane and Richmond at Brighton Homes Arena in round one, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

4. North Melbourne (3rd, 4-1, 269.1 per cent)

The acquisition of Kate Shierlaw has helped stretch opposition defences, but the Roos once again fell short in their request to record a maiden win over one of the original top three, losing to Brisbane by just two points. They can score quickly, have an outstanding midfield, and courtesy of GWS scoring only two points, the stingiest defence in the competition at the moment.

5. Geelong (6th, 3-2, 122 per cent)

The Cats have been a lot of fun to watch in 2023, scoring at a much more consistent rate and winning the ball with ease out of the middle. While they shaded Melbourne in clearances last week, they remain a clear step off the top four sides, but comfortably ahead of the rest of the chasing pack.


6. Gold Coast (5th, 3-2, 132 per cent)

Currently sitting fifth on percentage, following a whopping 73-point win over West Coast in round two. Will still be ruing the opening-round loss to Carlton, but most impressively, held Adelaide to 47 points, with only Richmond doing better in soggy conditions. Face the Tigers and Lions in the next two weeks, which will go some way to clarifying where exactly the Suns sit within the top eight.

7. Richmond (7th, 3-2, 97.8 per cent)

While the Tigers weren't expected to defeat Adelaide, remaining scoreless for three quarters was disappointing, as was the possibly costly loss to Fremantle. Richmond has played in patches this year, and love running a side down in the fourth quarter, but it's a risky strategy. The win over Brisbane in round one was possibly the team's best in the AFLW. 

8. Essendon (9th, 3-2, 92.5 per cent)

A fair start to the season for the Bombers, who have taken a step up from last season. Comfortably accounted for Fremantle, but were outplayed by a topsy-turvy Collingwood and smashed by Adelaide. Fractionally ahead of the Dockers on percentage, but given their win, sit ahead in these rankings for now.


9. Fremantle (10th, 3-2, 92.2 per cent)

Starting to rise up the ranks, growing more comfortable with Lisa Webb's new game plan. Have been more consistent within games than Collingwood, despite losing to the Pies in round two. How much damage they can do moving forward depends on finding paths to goal other than Aine Tighe.

10. Collingwood (11th, 2-3, 87.6 per cent)

Have had a much more frustrating season than first anticipated. Each line has not yet developed the cohesion needed to put a big score on the board, nor play out all four terms. The Pies start brightly and can score quickly, but their last quarters have been of serious concern.

11. Carlton (8th, 3-2, 96.6 per cent)

The Blues are lower in the rankings than their ladder position due to the strength of their draw. They can only beat who's in front of them, and they've done so, just squeaking over the line against Gold Coast in round one, and defeating West Coast and Sydney. Kept pace with the Tigers, but are just a weapon or two short to be featuring in finals.

Lily Goss in action during the match between Carlton and Sydney at Ikon Park in round five, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

12. Sydney (13th, 2-3, 74.1 per cent)

Have a lower percentage with St Kilda, but have arguably been more consistent within games. Improved but still very much a developing side, they were able to put 41 on the board against Geelong, and 32 against Brisbane. The Swans have leaked goals fairly easily, but no more so than the sides below them.

13. St Kilda (12th, 2-3, 86.5 per cent)

The Saints started very slowly as they incorporated an entire new backline into their line-up, but two strong wins over Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs have given them a boost. Were well off the pace against North Melbourne, and should have beaten Port Adelaide, dropping them below the Swans here.

14. Hawthorn (15th, 1-4, 56 per cent)

The Hawks have struggled to contain teams on the scoreboard at times this year, but recorded a valuable win over the Western Bulldogs, who regardless of their struggles this year, boast much more experience than the Hawks. If Hawthorn continues to produce its first-half form against Brisbane, expect another few wins on the board this year.

15. Port Adelaide (14th, 1-4, 63.6 per cent)

Had a horror start to their fixture. Promisingly, the Power pushed both Adelaide and Brisbane for a half, but ultimately got overrun. The loss to West Coast sees the Power drop below Hawthorn in these power rankings. Will be hoping to record another three wins this year, with Sydney, Hawthorn and Greater Western Sydney to come.

Ashleigh Saint celebrates a goal during the match between St Kilda and Port Adelaide at RSEA Park on September 17, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

16. West Coast (16th, 1-4, 47.8 per cent)

The Eagles hauled themselves off the bottom of the ladder with a breakthrough win over Port Adelaide last week. Their percentage was heavily affected by the 73-point thrashing at the hands of Gold Coast, but conceding 77 points to Carlton didn't help, either.

17. Western Bulldogs (17th, 0-5, 59.8 per cent)

A disaster of a season for the Dogs, with their more respectable percentage keeping them both off the bottom of the ladder and the bottom of the rankings. Blew chances against Hawthorn, Gold Coast and St Kilda. Have the talent on the list, but running out games is a serious issue.

18. Greater Western Sydney (18th, 0-5, 41.3 per cent)

The Giants have played the top three teams in Melbourne, Adelaide and North Melbourne, which makes for a very tough start to the year. But the manner of their losses to Sydney and Richmond – coughing up what could have been winning leads – is concerning. The Giants have kicked just one point across their five final quarters this year.