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The run home: Is Port too unreliable to play finals?

The 10: round 15's best moments here was some brilliant action to watch from the weekend
1. Geelong

48 points (12 wins, two losses), 145.5 per cent
The Cats are sitting very comfortably at the top of the table and it would be a surprise if they relinquished that spot from here. They will start hot favourites in their next four games, and while Fremantle at Optus Stadium presents a challenge, they have met most of those this season. Their percentage is the best in the competition and Brisbane is the only top-four contender they face in the run home. - Callum Twomey

The run home
R16: Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium
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. Collingwood

40 points (10 wins, four losses), 119.9 percent
The next month will be key to Collingwood's top-two hopes. A blockbuster Friday night fixture with Hawthorn kickstarts a run where it also travels interstate in successive weeks to fellow contenders West Coast and Greater Western Sydney. Having missed the chance to go a game clear in second on Saturday night, it will need to get through that period relatively unscathed to ensure a home qualifying final. Fortunately, the Pies finish with four of their last five games at the MCG. - Riley Beveridge

The run home
R16: Hawthorn @ MCG
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

NINE THINGS WE LEARNED Star Crow's fall defies belief

3. West Coast

40 points (10 wins, four losses), 106.4 per cent
The Eagles simply found a way against Hawthorn despite being dominated in the third quarter and trailing by eight points late in the final term. They aren't firing on all cylinders and their relatively modest percentage may count against them in the race for a top-four spot. However, West Coast has an excellent launching pad for the stretch run, regained Nic Nat on Saturday, and defenders Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass will be back next week. Watch out, Fremantle, in next week's Western Derby. - Marc McGowan

The run home
R16: Fremantle @ Optus Stadium
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

4. Greater Western Sydney

36 points (nine wins, five losses), 129.8 per cent
The side's round 18 clash with Collingwood has long looked like being a playoff for second spot and a home qualifying final. However, defeat to Essendon this week could mean its focus turns more towards simply securing a top-four berth. Five of its last eight matches are at home, though it faces daunting trips to the MCG and the Adelaide Oval among them. Given the stretch of home fixtures, expect the Giants to still earn a double chance.

The run home
R16: Brisbane @ Giants Stadium
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

BARRETT The 'Any Given Sunday' era has finally arrived

5. Brisbane

36 points (nine wins, five losses), 110.5 per cent
Beating Melbourne took the Lions one win closer to making their first finals appearance in 10 seasons. They now need to win at least three – and possibly four – of the remaining eight matches to see September action and the coming fortnight looms large. Back-to-back road games against GWS and Port Adelaide could either set them up for a top-four tilt or a mad scramble to stay in the eight. One thing on the Lions' side is an incredibly healthy playing list, with just two players and the concussed Oscar McInerney battling to be available for next week. - Michael Whiting

The run home
R16: Greater Western Sydney @ Giants Stadium
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

AROUND THE STATE LEAGUES Who starred in your club's second tier?

6. Adelaide

32 points (eight wins, six losses), 111.0 per cent
It's always hard to predict the winner in the Showdown battles, but after that the Crows have a good month of contests that should see them net at least three, and probably four, wins. If they could pinch a win against either of last year's Grand Finalists in rounds 21-22 that would place them in a strong position heading into the finals. It will be pressure on if they drop to Port next week, though. - Callum Twomey

The run home
R16: Port Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval
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

7. Richmond

32 points (eight wins, six losses), 95.3 per cent
Next week is the Tigers' final interstate trip of the home and away season, and is a game they will enter as raging favourites. Collect the win against the Suns and it leaves the Tigers in a strong position to set up a late charge to the top four. They have some challenging games late, including clashes with Collingwood, Greater Western Sydney and West Coast, while Brisbane and Port Adelaide could also be tough. But being Melbourne-based helps their cause. With the worst percentage in the top eight they need to claim some scalps. - Callum Twomey

The run home
R16: Gold Coast @ Metricon Stadium
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

8. Fremantle

28 points (seven wins, seven losses), 107.2 per cent
The 50th Western Derby will be one of the most significant in history with both teams jockeying for finals positions and Fremantle desperate to end a run of eight straight losses to West Coast. If the Dockers can pull off an upset it would be a major boost for their chances of featuring in September for the first time since 2015, particularly after the costly last-minute loss to the Blues on Sunday. After the Eagles, six of Freo's last seven games are against teams currently outside the top eight, although none of those sides will be pushovers. - Travis King

The run home
R16: West Coast @ Optus Stadium
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

FANTASY FORM WATCH Lion king reigns with bye rounds over

9. Port Adelaide

28 points (seven wins, seven losses), 105.5 per cent
A shock loss to the Western Bulldogs has cost the Power a massive opportunity to consolidate their spot in the top eight. It doesn't get any easier in the next five weeks with games against Adelaide, Brisbane, Richmond (at the MCG), Greater Western Sydney and Essendon (Marvel Stadium). It could all come down to their round 23 clash with Fremantle at Adelaide Oval. Last year's end-of-season fadeout will certainly be motivation to ensure that doesn't repeat. - Lee Gaskin

The run home
R16: Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval
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 

10. Essendon

28 points (seven wins, seven losses), 101.3 per cent
Essendon's season has a pulse. An unlikely victory over Greater Western Sydney kept it within touching distance of the top eight, though the run home doesn't get much easier. The Bombers face three interstate trips in eight weeks, while it also takes on finals rivals Port Adelaide and Collingwood in Victoria. Given it probably needs to win six of its final eight matches to secure a finals berth, it probably needs to pinch two of its remaining three road trips – it will target at least one upset against either Adelaide or Fremantle.

The run home
R16: Sydney @ MCG
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

11. North Melbourne

24 points (six wins, eight losses), 96.6 percent
All of a sudden, North Melbourne is just one game from the top eight. However, a tough run home will ensure September footy remains a difficult prospect. Needing to win around six or seven of their last eight matches, the Kangaroos see a fixture list that features five games against teams above them on the ladder, four that are already in finals positions and three that are away from their home base at either Marvel Stadium or Blundstone Arena. Still, the fact the side has put itself in the finals conversation in the first place is a fine achievement. - Riley Beveridge

The run home
R16: St Kilda @ Blundstone Arena
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

12. Sydney

24 points (six wins, eight losses), 96.2 per cent
The Swans' slim finals chances incredibly remain alive after they started the season so poorly, on the back of their fifth win in their past seven games. Next week's clash against Essendon at the MCG is crucial with the Bombers also outside the top eight, with a winnable match-up with Carlton at home to follow in round 17. Games against Fremantle (away), Geelong (home), Greater Western Sydney (away) and Port Adelaide (away) will seal Sydney's fate and it looks a mammoth task for John Longmire's men. - Adam Curley

The run home
R16: Essendon @ MCG
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

13. Western Bulldogs

24 points (six wins, eight losses), 92.3 per cent
The Bulldogs have kickstarted their faint finals hopes with their gritty upset of Port Adelaide. However, they still face an uphill battle to feature in September given their tough draw. Saturday's clash with ladder leader Geelong at Marvel Stadium will be another tough challenge. Providing they get past the Cats, the Dogs still have to navigate a tricky path that includes Fremantle, Brisbane, Essendon, GWS and Adelaide. Not impossible, but it would be a massive test for Luke Beveridge's plucky youngsters. - Lee Gaskin

The run home
R16: Geelong @ Marvel Stadium
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

14. St Kilda

24 points (six wins, eight losses), 82.1 per cent
The Saints are not looking like a finals team, despite their efforts this season. They have some winnable games at the back end of the year, including next week against North Melbourne, in round 18 against the Dogs, the following week against Melbourne on their home deck and facing the Blues in round 22, but will likely finish in the block of sides outside the top eight. - Callum Twomey

The run home
R16: North Melbourne @ Blundstone Arena
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

15. Hawthorn

20 points (five wins, nine losses, 96.9 per cent)
That defeat to West Coast would have hurt, and means the Hawks have lost four on the trot – all by 19 points or fewer. Their competitiveness is to be admired but this isn't the same Hawthorn side that dominated the AFL not that long ago. Alastair Clarkson's men will be warm favourites against the Suns in round 22 but it's otherwise a horror stretch run against finals-bound or in-form sides. There's unlikely to be too many more wins before the season's over. - Marc McGowan

The run home
R16: Collingwood @ MCG
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

16. Melbourne

16 points (four wins, 10 losses), 77.9 per cent
If the Demons weren't on thin ice before playing Brisbane, they are now. If you're the ultimate optimist Melbourne could run the slate home with eight wins and finish with 12 and maybe, just maybe, squeak into the eight. Remember Richmond winning its last nine in 2014 to finish eighth? Well, it starts next week against the Blues and in general the next month is quite friendly, but something needs to change and change fast. - Michael Whiting

The run home
R16: Carlton @ MCG
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 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs