1. Geelong

48 points (12 wins, three losses), 140.6 per cent
The Cats aren't playing the best footy of their season, as we saw in their loss to the Bulldogs on Saturday night. But they have banked enough wins to be sitting comfortably on top of the ladder and with their grasp on a top-two position very strong. They'll bounce back against St Kilda next week, and will fancy themselves against Hawthorn, Sydney and Carlton in Melbourne, and Fremantle away. Brisbane at the Gabba looms as the biggest test of their remaining games but it would be a shock if they didn't capture a top-two finish from here. - Callum Twomey

The run home
R17: St Kilda @ GMHBA Stadium
R18: Hawthorn @ MCG
R19: Sydney @ SCG
R20: Fremantle @ Optus Stadium
R21: North Melbourne @ GMHBA Stadium
R22: Brisbane @ Gabba
R23: Carlton @ GMHBA Stadium


2. West Coast

44 points (11 wins, four losses), 114.3 per cent
The Eagles have quietly been sneaking up on the competition but Saturday night's 91-point humiliation of Fremantle was the moment we might look back on as the giant awakening. After eight wins from the past nine games, some more convincing than others, the reigning premiers now have a game in hand in second spot and it's difficult to see them coughing up the rights to a home qualifying final if they can overcome stuttering Collingwood in an 'eight-point' game on Friday night. - Travis King

The run home
R17: Collingwood @ Optus Stadium
R18: Melbourne @ TIO Traeger Park
R19: North Melbourne @ Optus Stadium
R20: Carlton @ Marvel Stadium
R21: Adelaide @ Optus Stadium
R22: Richmond @ MCG
R23: Hawthorn @ Optus Stadium

Nic Naitanui's return has given West Coast's finals charge a boost. Picture: AFL Photos
Fremantle v West Coast Eagles

3. Collingwood

40 points (10 wins, five losses), 118.3 percent
Collingwood remains in the top four, but its form is certainly worrying. Perhaps just as concerning is the fixture list. With interstate trips to fellow top-four contenders West Coast and Greater Western Sydney over the next fortnight, followed by a blockbuster clash against old rivals Richmond at the MCG, Nathan Buckley's side will need to reverse its slide quickly. If it doesn't, its hopes of ensuring a double chance could slip from its grasp. - Riley Beveridge

The run home
R17: West Coast @ Optus Stadium
R18: Greater Western Sydney @ GIANTS Stadium
R19: Richmond @ MCG
R20: Gold Coast @ MCG
R21: Melbourne @ MCG
R22: Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval
R23: Essendon @ MCG

Debutant Isaac Quaynor was a bright light for the Pies on Friday night. Picture: AFL Photos
Hawthorn v Collingwood

NINE THINGS WE LEARNED Is the Eddie Betts show on its last legs?

4. Brisbane

40 points (10 wins, five losses), 111.5 per cent
While Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney look to be faltering around Brisbane, the Lions are clicking nicely into gear and are a serious top-four chance. With four games to come at the Gabba, and three of those against sides outside the top eight, the fixture means that ambition is alive. The final-round clash with Richmond at the MCG could be telling in figuring out whether the Lions are genuine flag contenders, since that's the ground at which premierships are won. - Dinny Navaratnam

The run home
R17: Port Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval
R18: North Melbourne @ Gabba
R19: Hawthorn @ University of Tasmania Stadium
R20: Western Bulldogs @ Gabba
R21: Gold Coast @ Gabba
R22: Geelong @ Gabba
R23: Richmond @ MCG

GWS v Brisbane

5. Greater Western Sydney

36 points (nine wins, six losses), 125.4 per cent
On talent, Greater Western Sydney should secure the double chance, but if the Giants don’t quickly regroup, that won't be happening. Richmond at the MCG looms as a tough outing, and Collingwood the following week does as well, although the Pies are playing as poorly as they have in a long time. If Josh Kelly misses time over the next fortnight with a left calf issue, that puts a dent in the side's top-four hopes. The final month should be relatively easily negioated, but that depends on how GWS is travelling at the time. - Dinny Navaratnam

The run home
R17: Richmond @ MCG
R18: Collingwood @ Giants Stadium
R19: Port Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval
R20: Sydney @ Giants Stadium
R21: Hawthorn @ UNSW Canberra Oval
R22: Western Bulldogs @ Giants Stadium
R23: Gold Coast @ Metricon Stadium

AROUND THE STATE LEAGUES Big Crow shines, tough Pie stats up

6. Richmond

36 points (nine wins, six losses), 103.0 per cent
The Tigers boosted their stocks by not only the four premiership points, but a healthy eight percentage points with the landslide win over Gold Coast on Saturday. Richmond will now remain in Victoria for the rest of the home-and-away season, playing its final seven matches at the MCG, starting with next Sunday's belter against GWS. The next three weeks could define exactly where their season is headed, with Port Adelaide and fellow premiership fancies Collingwood following the Giants clash. Ominously, they had a 9-6 record at the same point of the season in their premiership year of 2017. - Michael Whiting

The run home
R17: Greater Western Sydney @ MCG
R18: Port Adelaide @ MCG
R19: Collingwood @ MCG
R20: Melbourne @ MCG
R21: Carlton @ MCG
R22: West Coast @ MCG
R23: Brisbane @ MCG

7. Port Adelaide

32 points (eight wins, seven losses), 110.3 per cent
The Power are so hot and cold that they could be absolutely anything. In the past three weeks, they've beaten Geelong and Adelaide, while losing to the Western Bulldogs. The next month will have a big say about whether the Power can secure themselves a spot in the finals, let alone a home final. They haven't won back-to-back games since rounds five and six, so next week's match with Brisbane is crucial to building on their momentum. - Lee Gaskin

The run home
R17: Brisbane @ Adelaide Oval
R18: Richmond @ MCG
R19: Greater Western Sydney @ Adelaide Oval
R20: Essendon @ Marvel Stadium
R21: Sydney @ Adelaide Oval
R22: North Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium
R23: Fremantle @ Adelaide Oval 

Adelaide v Port Adelaide

BARRETT Weight of expectation could crush Pies' dreams

8. Adelaide

32 points (eight wins, seven losses), 105.0 per cent
The Crows still have plenty of work to do to feature in the finals after their thumping at the hands of Port Adelaide on Saturday night. Working in their favour is a relatively easy draw. The round 18 clash with Essendon will be difficult, while the back-to-back games against West Coast and Collingwood in rounds 21 and 22 could define their season. Forward Tom Lynch, who has missed the past four games with a calf injury, will be an important inclusion in the run home. - Lee Gaskin

The run home
R17: Gold Coast @ Metricon Stadium
R18: Essendon @ Adelaide Oval
R19: Carlton @ MCG
R20: St Kilda @ Adelaide Oval
R21: West Coast @ Optus Stadium
R22: Collingwood @ Adelaide Oval
R23: Western Bulldogs @ Mars Stadium

Don Pyke, Taylor Walker and the Crows have some work to do. Picture: AFL Photos
Adelaide v Port Adelaide

9. Essendon

32 points (eight wins, seven losses), 102.1 per cent
The Bombers would be disappointed to not make the top eight from here, but missing finals is certainly on the cards for a side that has to do a lot more before it's considered reliable. Just one of their remaining opponents entered round 16 in the top-four, and that's the faltering Collingwood, although the Pies would expect to have put their season back on course by the final round of the home and away season. Pinching one of the away games against Adelaide and Fremantle would be critical, and while Essendon has to jump on a plane to face Gold Coast, the Suns seem to be running on fumes. - Dinny Navaratnam 

The run home
R17: North Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium
R18: Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval
R19: Gold Coast @ Metricon Stadium
R20: Port Adelaide @ Marvel Stadium
R21: Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium
R22: Fremantle @ Optus Stadium
R23: Collingwood @ MCG

10. North Melbourne

28 points (seven wins, eight losses), 99.8 percent
Finals are a serious proposition. Next week's clash with Essendon is massive. The Roos need to win that, because in the following month, they face three seriously good sides in Brisbane, West Coast and Geelong. Rhyce Shaw took the coaching reins from Brad Scott when the side was 3-7, so if he defied the tricky fixture and led the team to the top-eight, it might give North's hierarchy reason to pause before throwing the kitchen sink at John Longmire. - Dinny Navaratnam

The run home
R17: Essendon @ Marvel Stadium
R18: Brisbane @ Gabba
R19: West Coast @ Optus Stadium
R20: Hawthorn @ Marvel Stadium
R21: Geelong @ GMHBA Stadium
R22: Port Adelaide @ Marvel Stadium
R23: Melbourne @ Blundstone Arena

11. Fremantle

28 points (seven wins, eight losses), 98.4 per cent
After 13 rounds the Dockers sat sixth on the ladder and looked a genuine chance of playing finals for the first time since 2015, but that seems an almost impossible dream now with three-straight losses sending them plummeting to 10th spot. Going down to Carlton was a hammer blow, and the Western Derby embarrassment could be the moment the wheels came off for Ross Lyon's side. They need to bounce back and win at least four, but probably five, of the last seven games and at best might only start favourites against Sydney, St Kilda and potentially Essendon. - Travis King

The run home
R17: Hawthorn @ University of Tasmania Stadium
R18: Sydney @ Optus Stadium
R19: Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium
R20: Geelong @ Optus Stadium
R21: St Kilda @ Marvel Stadium
R22: Essendon @ Optus Stadium
R23: Port Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval

Fremantle v West Coast Eagfles

FANTASY FORM WATCH The Pig delivers again on tough week for coaches

12. Western Bulldogs

28 points (seven wins, eight losses), 93.9 per cent
With their shock win over Geelong on Saturday night, the Dogs are still in the finals equation. Particularly given the defeats to fellow top-eight hopefuls Fremantle and Sydney around them on the ladder. The Dogs at their best will capture several more wins this year at least, and if they can beat Melbourne and St Kilda the next two weeks, they are a good sniff for a top-eight berth. If that happens, their round 21 meeting against Essendon will be crucial.

The run home
R17: Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium
R18: St Kilda @ Marvel Stadium
R19: Fremantle @ Marvel Stadium
R20: Brisbane @ Gabba
R21: Essendon @ Marvel Stadium
R22: Greater Western Sydney @ Giants Stadium
R23: Adelaide @ Mars Stadium

Western Bulldogs

13. Hawthorn

24 points (six wins, nine losses), 97.4 per cent
Although you can never rule out Hawthorn, finals footy does look unlikely. An upset win over Collingwood kept its slim September hopes alive, but it remains two games outside the top eight and still needing to be near-perfect for the remainder of the season. Surprisingly, Hawthorn has only one more game at the MCG for the rest of the year. - Riley Beveridge

The run home
R17: Fremantle @ University of Tasmania Stadium
R18: Geelong @ MCG
R19: Brisbane @ University of Tasmania Stadium
R20: North Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium
R21: Greater Western Sydney @ UNSW Canberra Oval
R22: Gold Coast @ Marvel Stadium
R23: West Coast @ Optus Stadium

14. Sydney

24 points (six wins, nine losses), 95.6 per cent
If the Swans make finals from here, that might sit second only to the 2012 premiership as coach John Longmire's finest achievement in his tenure. With no genuine ruckmen available and superstar Lance Franklin nursing a left hamstring injury, they would have to get through a brutal four-week patch, starting in round 18, against two teams that were in the top four before the weekend started, and another two with September ambitions. Their remaining three games are very winnable (Sydney could start favourite in all three) but it would have to spring something special to finish in the top eight. - Dinny Navaratnam

The run home
R17: Carlton @ SCG
R18: Fremantle @ Optus Stadium
R19: Geelong @ SCG
R20: Greater Western Sydney @ Giants Stadium
R21: Port Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval
R22: Melbourne @ MCG
R23: St Kilda @ SCG

Essendon v Sydney Swans

15. St Kilda

24 points (six wins, nine losses), 80.7 per cent
The Saints' fixture is actually reasonably manageable, although going down to Geelong to face the ladder leader is imposing, despite the Cats' mid-season stutters. It's hard to see the Saints making finals though. They're faltering and don't look up to making the top eight, which means it's hard to see Alan Richardson continuing as coach next season. - Dinny Navaratnam

The run home
R17: Geelong @ GMHBA Stadium
R18: Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium
R19: Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium
R20: Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval
R21: Fremantle @ Marvel Stadium
R22: Carlton @ MCG
R23: Sydney @ SCG

FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game

North Melbourne v St Kilda

16. Melbourne

20 points (five wins, 10 losses), 79.9 per cent
The Dees are still alive, but only by the barest of margins after scraping over the line against Carlton. They face the Western Bulldogs at a bad time, with Luke Beveridge's side coming off an impressive win over ladder leaders Geelong, but if Max Gawn returns from a left ankle injury, that would help offset the losses of Marty Hore (collarbone) and Tom McDonald (knee). - Dinny Navaratnam

The run home
R17: Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium
R18: West Coast @ TIO Traeger Park
R19: St Kilda @ Marvel Stadium
R20: Richmond @ MCG
R21: Collingwood @ MCG
R22: Sydney @ MCG
R23: North Melbourne @ Blundstone Arena 

AFL Fantasy