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The run home: Is another Clarko miracle on the cards?

The 10: round 22's best moments Remarkable endings to top-four epics, emotional farewells and the high-flyers are back
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1. Brisbane

64 points (16 wins, five losses), 120.9 per cent
Who could have dreamed up this? The Lions will enter the final round with a chance to win the minor premiership, but to do so they'll have to overcome one of the biggest challenges in the game – defeating Richmond at the MCG. When the teams met there last year, the Tigers absolutely destroyed the Lions, keeping them to a paltry two goals. Things are different now, though. Depending on results, Brisbane could still finish anywhere from first to fourth. - Michael Whiting

The run home
R23: Richmond @ MCG

 

2. Geelong

60 points (15 wins, six losses), 132.4 per cent
For basically the first time this season the Cats have slipped from top spot. Although they lost to the Lions in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday, the Cats played good footy and would fancy themselves against Carlton at home. Plus, they've been alternating losses with wins since the bye and if that trend continues, it all looks rosy for the home team. Geelong could still finish anywhere from first to fourth depending on results. - Michael Whiting

The run home
R23: Carlton @ GMHBA Stadium

 
3. West Coast

60 points (15 wins, six losses), 115.7 per cent
West Coast still has its top-four hopes in its hands. However, its hopes of a home qualifying final rely on other results going its way. First thing's first for Adam Simpson, take care of its own business. That involves beating Hawthorn at Optus Stadium on Saturday night. Should it do that, then its focus will turn to Geelong's encounter with Carlton and Brisbane's trip to the MCG to meet Richmond. A favourable result in either one of those games could see West Coast suddenly move into the top two on the AFL ladder. However, lose to Hawthorn and West Coast is then looking at a do-or-die elimination final. - Riley Beveridge

The run home
R23: Hawthorn @ Optus Stadium

 
4. Richmond

60 points (15 wins, six losses), 112.5 per cent
Richmond is another side with its top-four hopes in its own hands. However, it perhaps has next week's biggest test on the cards – ladder-leading Brisbane at the MCG. Win that and Richmond is level on points with Brisbane. However, given it has a significantly smaller percentage than Brisbane, Geelong and West Coast, it will still need a host of other results to go its way to somehow jump into the top-two. Lose that clash on Sunday and it risks falling out of the top-four entirely, depending on Collingwood's result against Essendon on Friday night. - Riley Beveridge

The run home
R23: Brisbane @ MCG

 
5. Collingwood

56 points (14 wins, seven losses), 117.8 per cent
The Magpies kept their top-four dreams alive after thumping listless Adelaide by 66 points at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. They could secure a double chance in the finals if they beat Essendon at the MCG on Friday night and either Richmond or West Coast lose in round 23, with percentage set to be the deciding factor. The Magpies are building momentum with three wins in a row, and will get Darcy Moore, Jordan De Goey and Jaidyn Stephenson back for the finals. - Lee Gaskin

The run home
R23: Essendon @ MCG

 
6. Greater Western Sydney

48 points (12 wins, nine losses), 111.5 per cent
The Giants didn't lose much with their loss to the Dogs and remain in sixth spot ahead of a round 23 clash with Gold Coast. With important names Jeremy Cameron, Jacob Hopper and Jeremy Finlayson a chance to return from injury against the Suns they should easily wrap up a home elimination final. - Adam Curley

The run home
R23: Gold Coast @ Metricon Stadium

 
7. Essendon

48 points (12 wins, nine losses), 95.8 per cent
Getting past the Dockers by 32 points on Saturday night means Essendon can breathe a lot easier facing Collingwood in round 23, with John Worsfold's outfit already assured of an elimination final berth. It's highly unlikely the Bombers will overtake Greater Western Sydney in sixth spot given the Giants face Gold Coast this week. Essendon's attention from here will be on ending the longest active streak for any club without winning in September, stretching back to 2004. - Travis King

The run home
R23: Collingwood @ MCG

 
8. Western Bulldogs

44 points (11 wins, 10 losses), 105.6 per cent
An impressive win over the Giants saw the Dogs claim eighth position ahead of next week's monster clash against Adelaide in Ballarat. Beat the Crows and they will play in September for the first time since their famous flag of 2016, and could finish as high as seventh. If they lose, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn or Adelaide could possibly steal the last spot in the finals. - Adam Curley

The run home
R23: Adelaide @ Mars Stadium

 

9. Hawthorn

40 points (10 wins, 11 losses), 106.6 per cent
At the end of round 15, the Hawks were 5-9 after losing four on the trot and faced what seemed an insurmountable challenge in their bid to make finals, with all but Sunday's clash with Gold Coast against sides that were comfortably inside the top eight or had legitimate ambitions to make it. Now, making September is within Hawthorn's grasp. However, the challenge confronting it is brutally difficult – going on the road to take on West Coast. It's going to take a monumental effort, but there's a reason Alastair Clarkson is considered a master coach. It would be foolish to write off his side's chances. - Dinny Navaratnam

The run home
R23: West Coast @ Optus Stadium

 

10. Adelaide

40 points (10 wins, 11 losses), 103.0 per cent
The Crows are limping their way to the finals, having won just two of their past eight games. They don't deserve to be there, but a win against the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat next Sunday could incredibly have the Crows featuring in September. However, they might also have to nervously wait until the final game of the home and away season for the result of Port Adelaide's game with Fremantle, with percentage likely to come into the equation. - Lee Gaskin

The run home
R23: Western Bulldogs @ Mars Stadium

 

11. Port Adelaide

40 points (10 wins, 11 losses), 103.0 per cent
That was a horrific night at the office against the Kangaroos on Saturday. The Power lost six per cent in the 86-point hammering – against a club it had beaten five straight times – and stumbled out of the top eight in the process. Port must beat the Dockers in the final round to make the finals, but that scenario also relies on West Coast defeating Hawthorn, and Adelaide accounting for the Western Bulldogs. On top of that, Ken Hinkley's team will have to win by more than Adelaide does over the Dogs in the clash earlier on the same day. - Marc McGowan

The run home
R23: Fremantle @ Adelaide Oval 

 

12. North Melbourne 

36 points (nine wins, 12 losses), 99.1 per cent
A monster 86-point win over the inconsistent Power, fuelled by Ben Brown's 10-goal haul, catapulted the Kangaroos above Fremantle and St Kilda into 12th but it's a case of too little, too late. Just like the Dockers and the Saints, North's finals chance are done and dusted, but their rampant showing against Port Adelaide will give Rhyce Shaw and his charges some confidence heading into round 23 against the hapless Demons, and the coming summer. - Michael Rogers 

R23: Melbourne @ Blundstone Arena 

 

13. Fremantle

36 points (nine wins, 12 losses), 94.0 per cent
Poor skills yet again cost the Dockers against Essendon as their slim finals chances were officially ended in a 32-point defeat at home. It means Ross Lyon's men will spend a fourth straight September watching on and the coach will be under significant pressure in the final season of his contract in 2020 to engineer a return to post-season footy. Focusing on improving some woeful skill execution over summer would be a good place to start. - Travis King

The run home
R23: Port Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval

 

14. St Kilda

36 points (nine wins, 12 losses), 85.4 per cent
It's September holidays for the Saints, who needed to defeat Carlton – and next week's opponents, Sydney – as well as results going their way, in order to qualify for finals. St Kilda could finish as low as 14th after still being in the running with a fortnight to go, such is the evenness of this season. - Sarah Black

The run home
R23: Sydney @ SCG

 

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