1. Adelaide

44 points (11 wins, four losses) 139 per cent
The Crows ticked a few boxes on Friday night, cementing themselves in the top three and adding a few percentage points to boot. Now it is about finishing in the top two and they’ll do themselves an enormous boost by beating Geelong at home in a fortnight in what is effectively an eight-point game. First comes Melbourne in Darwin where, thanks to the AFLW premiership, the Crows hope to have most of the home town support.

The run home
Rd 17: Melbourne (TIO Stadium)
Rd 18: Geelong (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 19: Collingwood (MCG)
Rd 20: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 21: Essendon (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 22: Sydney (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 23: West Coast (Domain Stadium)

Around the state leagues: Who starred in your club's twos?

2. Greater Western Sydney

44 points (10 wins, three losses, two draws) 117.8 per cent
The first team in 96 years to play in consecutive draws, that’s a piece of history the Giants will reluctantly claim as their own. They should have finished the Hawks off on Saturday, but must now regroup for a massive derby clash with the Swans on Saturday night and then Richmond at the MCG. They’re no good things in either given their chequered form and a long injury list that is starting to bite.

The run home
Rd 17: Sydney (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 18: Richmond (MCG)
Rd 19: Fremantle (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 20: Melbourne (Manuka Oval)
Rd 21: Western Bulldogs (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 22: West Coast (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 23: Geelong (Simonds Stadium) 

Not again! The Giants made history with a second straight draw. Picture: AFL Photos

Nine things we learned from round 16

3. Geelong

42 points (10 wins, four losses, 1 draw) 119 per cent
The Cats return home from their northern sojourn with six of a possible eight premiership points in their kit bag and after the Swans, might be the form team of the competition. A tasty Saturday afternoon clash at the MCG against the improving Hawthorn is next before a critical Friday night trip to Paddy Dangerfield’s old stamping ground. Win that and the Cats might not have to leave Victoria for the rest of the season.

The run home
Rd 17: Hawthorn (MCG)
Rd 18: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 19: Carlton (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 20: Sydney (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 21: Richmond (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 22: Collingwood (MCG)
Rd 23: GWS (Simonds Stadium) 

Forecast the road to the flag with the AFL Ladder and Finals Predictor

After the siren: Saints go from pretenders to contenders

Fantasy form watch: Blue a snout contender

4. Port Adelaide

36 points (nine wins, six losses) 132.0
Great win by the Power against the Eagles, surely their best for the year, and it gets them into the top four. But to stay there they face three huge weeks from rounds 18-20 against Melbourne, St Kilda and the Crows. Win two of those and they probably stay there, with every chance of a Showdown qualifying final against the Crows. What is helping the Power is their percentage, which is clearly the second-best in the competition.

The run home
Rd 17: North Melbourne (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 18: Melbourne (MCG)
Rd 19: St Kilda (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 20: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 21: Collingwood (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 22: Western Bulldogs (Eureka Stadium)
Rd 23: Gold Coast (Adelaide Oval)

5. Melbourne

36 points (nine wins, six losses) 110.8 per cent
A hard won but precious four points gained at the MCG on Sunday and the difference between winning and losing was huge – the Demons could have dropped out of the top eight with a loss, had West Coast beaten Port Adelaide. Darwin might not have staged many bigger games than Demons-Crows this Saturday night, and there are still huge games to come against the Power, the Giants and St Kilda. Three of Melbourne's next four games are outside Victoria.

The run home
Rd 17: Adelaide (TIO Stadium)
Rd 18: Port Adelaide (MCG)
Rd 19: North Melbourne (Blundstone Arena)
Rd 20: GWS (Manuka Oval)
Rd 21: St Kilda (MCG)
Rd 22: Brisbane Lions (MCG)
Rd 23: Collingwood (MCG)

6. Richmond

36 points (nine wins, six losses) 105.3 per cent

Before Tiger fans get too confident of a quick turnaround, they should cast their minds back a week to see what the Brisbane Lions did to Essendon at the same time, same place. Richmond remains fourth on the ladder by virtue of a late flourish against the Saints, but the first half was perhaps the first time this year the Tigers simply didn't turn up. The season is too tight for that to happen again.

The run home
Rd 17: Brisbane Lions (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 18: GWS (MCG)
Rd 19: Gold Coast (Metricon Stadium)
Rd 20: Hawthorn (MCG)
Rd 21: Geelong (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 22: Fremantle (Domain Stadium)
Rd 23: St Kilda (MCG) 

7. St Kilda

36 points (nine wins, six losses), 104 per cent
The Saints have strung together four wins on the trot, an impressive feat in a season so even. She’ll be a fast game under the closed roof on Friday night against the Bombers, but the consecutive road games after that against the Swans and Power will probably decide how high the Saints will finish the home and away season. The rematch against Richmond at the MCG in round 23 will also likely have plenty riding on it for both teams.

The run home
Rd 17: Essendon (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 18: Sydney (SCG)
Rd 19: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 20: West Coast (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 21: Melbourne (MCG)
Rd 22: North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 23: Richmond (MCG)

After the siren: Saints go from pretenders to contenders

Are the Saints the real deal? Picture: AFL Photos

8. Sydney

32 points (eight wins, seven losses), 113.3 per cent
Took care of business against Gold Coast but things haven’t really changed for the Swans. They have four tough away games to come – GWS, Hawthorn, Geelong and Adelaide – and they need to win two for the finals fairytale to come true. All roads lead to Spotless Stadium on Saturday night but given the diabolical traffic in Sydney, the Swans fans might want to get going now.

The run home
Rd 17: GWS (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 18: St Kilda (SCG)
Rd 19: Hawthorn (MCG)
Rd 20: Geelong (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 21: Fremantle (SCG)
Rd 22: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 23: Carlton (SCG)  

9. West Coast

32 points (eight wins, seven losses) 99.9 per cent
Is there a more flaky team in the AFL than West Coast? Just when it looked like the Eagles got their season back on track, they lose in dismal fashion at home to Port. Big derby clash with Freo on Sunday, but the next two are very winnable. West Coast will be in the finals mix until the death, but Domain Stadium's last ever game is now shaping as the round 23 clash with Adelaide.

The run home
Rd 17: Fremantle (Domain Stadium)
Rd 18: Collingwood (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 19: Brisbane Lions (Domain Stadium)
Rd 20: St Kilda (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 21: Carlton (Domain Stadium)
Rd 22: GWS (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 23: Adelaide (Domain Stadium)  

Forecast the road to the flag with the AFL Ladder and Finals Predictor

10. Essendon

28 points (seven wins, eight losses) 104.4 per cent
The Dons would have taken great delight in hammering the final nail into Collingwood’s coffin for 2017, but of more importance was a solid four-quarter performance with no let-up at the end. Bring your skates for the St Kilda clash on Friday night, because the ball will zip from end to end. Every game from here on in is an even money bet, so the likelihood is that the Bombers will still be alive in round 23.

The run home
Rd 17: St Kilda (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 18: North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 19: Western Bulldogs (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 20: Carlton (MCG)
Rd 21: Adelaide (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 22: Gold Coast (Metricon Stadium)
Rd 23: Fremantle (Etihad Stadium)

The Bombers bounced back by trouncing their old rivals. Picture: AFL Photos

11. Western Bulldogs

28 points (seven wins, eight losses) 92.4 per cent
The Dogs are in the midst of the mother of all premiership hangovers, but all is not lost. They would look at their next four games as very winnable and if they can finally find some form, they’ll remain in the finals mix. But they’re a fair way off the team that finished seventh after the home and away season and miles off the team that dominated in September.

The run home
Rd 17: Carlton (MCG)
Rd 18: Gold Coast (Cazalys Stadium)
Rd 19: Essendon (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 20: Brisbane Lions (Gabba)
Rd 21: GWS (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 22: Port Adelaide (Eureka Stadium)
Rd 23: Hawthorn (Etihad Stadium) 

Around the state leagues: Who starred in your club's twos?

12. Fremantle

28 points (seven wins, eight losses) 81.7 per cent
The Dockers are back in the mix after snapping a five-game losing streak, but their fate is likely to be determined over the next three weeks with a (home) derby clash with West Coast, the Hawks at home and the Giants away. Win two of those and they’ll still be alive.

The run home
Rd 17: West Coast (Domain Stadium)
Rd 18: Hawthorn (Domain Stadium)
Rd 19: GWS (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 20: Gold Coast (Domain Stadium)
Rd 21: Sydney (SCG)
Rd 22: Richmond (Domain Stadium)
Rd 23: Essendon (Etihad Stadium) 

The Dockers kept their slim finals hopes alive with another thrilling win. Picture: AFL Photos

13. Hawthorn

26 points (six wins, eight losses, one draw), 83.6 per cent
For a team that almost certainly won’t play finals, the Hawks boast some handy scalps – Sydney and Adelaide on the road and a draw with the Giants. Can they beat the Cats? Not sure, but they'll be far more competitive on Saturday than Easter Monday when they lost by 86 points. Festive week looms ahead of Luke Hodge’s 300th game.

The run home
Rd 17: Geelong (MCG)
Rd 18: Fremantle (Domain Stadium)
Rd 19: Sydney (MCG)
Rd 20: Richmond (MCG)
Rd 21: North Melbourne (University of Tasmania Stadium)
Rd 22: Carlton (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 23: Western Bulldogs (Etihad Stadium) 

Fantasy form watch: Blue a snout contender

14. Gold Coast

24 points (six wins, nine losses) 85.5 per cent
It would appear the maiden finals appearance for the Suns will wait for at least another year unless they can win out from here.

The run home
Rd 17: Collingwood (Metricon Stadium)
Rd 18: Western Bulldogs (Cazalys Stadium)
Rd 19: Richmond (Metricon Stadium)
Rd 20: Fremantle (Domain Stadium)
Rd 21: Brisbane Lions (Gabba)
Rd 22: Essendon (Metricon Stadium)
Rd 23: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)