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The run home: Eagles' grip on home final starts to slip

The 10: round 17's best moments Incredible cliffhangers and a bit of bravado headlines the action from the weekend
1. Geelong

52 points (13 wins, three losses), 141.0 per cent
The Cats are flying. They might look at back-to-back interstate trips in a fortnight's time and think about resting some veteran talent, given they are two games and percentage clear at the top of the AFL ladder. Realistically, such an advantage means that Chris Scott's side probably only needs to win three of six remaining games to ensure the minor premiership. With two of those at their home base at GMHBA Stadium – and with five remaining games against teams who probably won't play finals – the Cats can be feeling pretty good. - Riley Beveridge

LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your team finish?

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

2. Collingwood

44 points (11 wins, five losses), 117.2 per cent
All of a sudden, the run home looks less daunting for the Pies. Having secured an upset win against the Eagles on Friday night, Nathan Buckley's side is back into second spot on the AFL ladder and can return to thinking about a home qualifying final. They will start favourites in their remaining four matches at the MCG, but their two road games look tough tasks. If they can pinch at least one and do the business at home, a top-two finish is on the cards. - Riley Beveridge

AROUND THE STATE LEAGUES Star Pie returns, slick Eagle sizzles

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

3. Brisbane

44 points (11 wins, five losses), 114.8 per cent
If this team is genuine, and there's a mountain of evidence to suggest it is, it should be eyeing off a top-two spot. That would mean a home qualifying final, setting the Lions up for a scarcely believable Grand Final berth. They have lost just once at home this season – they were belted by Collingwood in round five – so four remaining games at their fortress means finishing second is realistic. There could be plenty at stake in their final fortnight, against fellow premiership contenders Geelong and Richmond. - Dinny Navaratnam

FULL FIXTURE Every round, every game

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

4. West Coast

44 points (11 wins, five losses), 113.3 per cent
How much will the Eagles rue throwing away a sizeable three-quarter time lead on Friday night? Tough trips to Alice Springs to face Melbourne and to the MCG to play Richmond are the key games in their run home, while North Melbourne, Adelaide and Hawthorn represent tricky home match-ups. They will probably need to win five of six – or maybe every single remaining match – to reclaim their spot in the top-two and earn a home qualifying final. - Riley Beveridge

The run home
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

5. Richmond

40 points (10 wins, six losses), 104.9 per cent
The Tigers are starting to hum. There were signs they were back to their best against Greater Western Sydney, and they should at least claim wins over Port, Melbourne and Carlton. Collingwood, West Coast and Brisbane will be harder tasks, but as they generate more form anything is possible. Right in the hunt for a top-four finish now. - Callum Twomey

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

6. Greater Western Sydney

36 points (nine wins, seven losses), 121.1 per cent
Sunday's loss to Richmond could have some effects – particularly if Stephen Coniglio is out for the long-term. The Giants are in sixth spot and face a challenging next couple of weeks, against the Magpies and then Port Adelaide on the road. They will be favoured to win their final four games, however, which should be enough for a home elimination final but a top-four finish could now be difficult. - Callum Twomey

BARRETT Finals, free agency up in the air as four clubs sweat on Coniglio's knee

The run home
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

7. Adelaide

36 points (nine wins, seven losses), 112.8 per cent
Next Friday night's match against Essendon looms as the Crows' most important of the season. Win, and Adelaide gives itself some – not much – breathing space for the final five rounds. Lose, and it'll be a dogfight all the way to round 23. Carlton the following week is suddenly a tricky contest and ensuing trips to play West Coast in Perth and the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat make for a tough run in. - Michael Whiting

The run home
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

8. Essendon

36 points (nine wins, seven losses), 102.4 per cent
Three consecutive wins by 10 points or fewer have rescued the Bombers' season, and now they are a solid chance of returning to the finals. Victory over the Suns and Power in rounds 19 and 20 – games the Dons will start favourites in – might be enough, but they'll likely have to win at least one other. The Dogs clash shapes as a pivotal one. Essendon's percentage isn't gaudy, so that's another reason the Gold Coast encounter will be important in the big scheme of things. - Marc McGowan

The run home
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

9. Port Adelaide

32 points (eight wins, eight losses), 105.6 per cent
When the Tigers are firing, facing them at the MCG is as daunting a challenge as there is in football, but the Power's formline in their past nine games means writing them off would be foolhardy. Their record in that time reads LWLWLWLWL. That pattern suggests they're every chance of knocking off the Tigers. They have shown their best is good enough to make finals – they have beaten reigning premier West Coast and ladder-leader Geelong – so Port Adelaide will know it can match it with any side. - Dinny Navaratnam

The run home
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. Western Bulldogs

32 points (eight wins, eight losses), 94.8 per cent
There's a real chance for the Bulldogs here. The two teams directly above them, keeping them out of eighth, are anything but safe in their positions. Port Adelaide is incredibly inconsistent and was never in the game against Brisbane. Essendon, in eighth, could hardly be considered reliable either, and will send in gun backman Michael Hurley for a left shoulder operation, which could force him to miss the rest of the year. If current form holds, the Dogs should start favourite over the next fortnight, setting themselves up for a critical final month of the home and away season. - Dinny Navaratnam

FANTASY FORM WATCH Pig, Piglet, rage trades and your questions

The run home
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

11. Hawthorn

28 points (seven wins, nine losses), 100.1 per cent
It would be remarkable if Hawthorn made finals, considering it was fourth-last after round 15, but hasn't Alastair Clarkson made a career out of producing extraordinary results? There was the three-peat, which was especially difficult to achieve in an era of equalisation and a competition featuring 18 teams, and more recently, a top-four berth last year despite a list not considered overly impressive. They go into next week's Cats clash with momentum, having won two straight, and almost always rise to the occasion for what is one of the great modern-day rivalries. Then they're back in Tasmania, at a venue they've proven almost impossible to surmount. Victories in those two would see them even up the ledger and give themselves a sniff at the top eight. - Dinny Navaratnam

The run home
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

12. North Melbourne

28 points (seven wins, nine losses), 99.5 per cent
Saturday night's last-minute defeat to the Bombers might be the blow to the Roos' finals hopes they never recover from. North admirably fought back into post-season calculations, but its slow start to the season, which partly prompted Brad Scott to resign to usher in the Rhyce Shaw era, is coming back to haunt them. A brutal next month awaits the Kangas, who can probably afford to drop just one more match down the stretch, so a September berth is highly unlikely. - Marc McGowan

The run home
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

13. Fremantle

28 points (seven wins, nine losses), 96.0 per cent
Fremantle's prospects of making finals look bleak, to say the least. Sitting sixth after round 13, Ross Lyon's side has lost four straight. The Dockers' fixture would be reasonably negotiable if they were in form, with three games at home and two of their three away matches against sides outside the top eight. However, it's hard to see them turning their fortunes around. - Dinny Navaratnam

NINE THINGS WE LEARNED No excuses for Dockers' collapse

The run home
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

14. Sydney

24 points (six wins, 10 losses), 95.3 per cent
The Swans' loss to the Blues has just about ended their slim finals hopes. They head to Perth to take on Fremantle next week before returning to the SCG to welcome Geelong, then face Greater Western Sydney at Giants Stadium, and Port Adelaide on the road. You'd think they'll need to be perfect during that stretch and finish the season well against Melbourne at the MCG, and St Kilda at home, to have any hope of a miracle. - Adam Curley

The run home
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

15. St Kilda

24 points (six wins, 10 losses), 80.0 per cent
Let's be honest, the Saints aren't playing finals footy. They might still be a mathematical chance, but their form suggests they're one of the worst performing sides in the competition at the moment. - Riley Beveridge

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

16. Melbourne

20 points (five wins, 11 losses), 80.3 per cent
The Demons' finals chances are officially over after Sunday's loss to the Western Bulldogs. - Dinny Navaratnam

The run home
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