FREMANTLE'S late-season surge towards a finals berth hit a Geelong-shaped brick wall, and Carlton's revival continued with an emotion-charged win over arch rival Collingwood on Sunday. 

Meanwhile, the teams in the bottom six proved they're no one's idea of easybeats as Hawthorn shared the points with ladder-leading Melbourne while North and Gold Coast gave their better-fancied opponents a real shake. 

LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?

That's the state of play as the League heads into a nerve-racking final five rounds with 13 teams still in the hunt for eight finals berths. 

Check out how your team's run home to September is shaping up, and the crunch games that will shape the season. 

Gold Coast, Adelaide, Collingwood, Hawthorn and North Melbourne have not been considered.

04:20 Mins
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The 10: Round 18's best moments

Watch all the best highlights from a thrilling round of football

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1. Melbourne

54 points (13 wins, three losses, one draw), 127.8 per cent
The shock draw with lowly Hawthorn was still enough for the Demons to return to the top of the ladder, but their worrying form against teams not in finals contention makes next week's scheduled assignment against Gold Coast suddenly look tricky. The minor premiership appears a race in three against the Western Bulldogs and Geelong. The Dees play both those teams in a brutal final month of the season, that also includes a trip to Perth to face West Coast. Given the tough run home, a first McClelland Trophy since 1990 appears unlikely, but at least the double chance is all but secured. - Ben Sutton

The run home
R19: Gold Coast @ TIO Stadium
R20: Western Bulldogs @ MCG
R21: West Coast @ Optus Stadium
R22: Adelaide @ MCG
R23: Geelong @ GMHBA Stadium

2. Western Bulldogs

52 points (13 wins, four losses), 140.4 per cent
The Dogs are almost assured of a coveted double chance – two games and significant percentage clear of fifth-placed Brisbane – and can now set their sights on a top-two finish. The round 20 match against Melbourne could well be a battle for the minor premiership, although the final round against Port Adelaide is also a difficult one. With Stefan Martin and Adam Treloar expected to return shortly, the Bulldogs should be at their best just at the right time. - Michael Whiting

The run home
R19: Adelaide @ Mars Stadium
R20: Melbourne @ MCG
R21: Essendon @ Marvel Stadium
R22: Hawthorn @ UTAS Stadium
R23: Port Adelaide @ Marvel Stadium

LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?

3. Geelong

52 points (13 wins, four losses), 130.3 per cent
Geelong's percentage boost of almost six per cent in a dominant win against Fremantle has thrust the Cats into top two contention. They're buoyed by the way they are handling the fixture curveballs and have a regulation run home, venues aside. A double chance appears a near certainty now, and a round 23 showdown against Melbourne could determine whether they finish top two. Getting Jeremy Cameron and Gary Rohan back in the team after both missed against Fremantle is a key. - Nathan Schmook

The run home
R19: Richmond @ MCG
R20: North Melbourne @ Blundstone Arena
R21: GWS Giants @ GMHBA Stadium
R22: St Kilda @ GMHBA Stadium
R23: Melbourne @ GMHBA Stadium

4. Port Adelaide

48 points (12 wins, five losses), 119.8 per cent
Port Adelaide’s victory against an in-form St Kilda side on Saturday was vital, especially given Brisbane’s loss to Richmond the previous night. The victory allowed Port to leapfrog the Lions into fourth spot, as it pushes for the all-important double chance heading into September. If Ken Hinkley’s men can knock off Collingwood and the Giants over the next two weeks, they will find themselves in a very strong position heading into the Showdown in round 21. - Luke Michael

The run home
R19: Collingwood @ Adelaide Oval
R20: GWS Giants @ TBC
R21: Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval
R22: Carlton @ Adelaide Oval
R23: Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium

LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?

5. Brisbane

44 points (11 wins, six losses), 124.9 per cent
It has been a costly two weeks for the Lions, with back-to-back defeats to St Kilda and then Richmond jeopardising their top-four claims. In saying that, the Lions have a good lead in to the finals, with three out of five games scheduled for the Gabba. Chris Fagan's men will start favourite against all of their remaining opponents and have a healthy percentage, which could be crucial by the end of round 23. - Callum Twomey

The run home
R19: Hawthorn @ MCG
R20: Gold Coast @ Gabba
R21: Fremantle @ Optus Stadium
R22: Collingwood @ Gabba
R23: West Coast @ Gabba

6. Sydney

44 points (11 wins, six losses), 116.5 per cent

The rousing come-from-behind win in the Sydney derby makes it three stunning victories in a row for the Swans and all but assures their finals place. They should now be eyeing off a top-four spot after Brisbane's loss to Richmond brought the double-chance within their reach. But a run of three matches against teams still in finals contention, then finishing with a couple against rapidly improving clubs in North and Gold Coast mean the Swans will have to repeat the impressive form they showed in the second half against the Giants if they're to push higher. - Martin Pegan

The run home
R19: Fremantle @ GMHBA Stadium
R20: Essendon @ Marvel Stadium
R21: St Kilda @ Marvel Stadium
R22: North Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium
R23: Gold Coast @ TBC

LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?

7. West Coast

36 points (nine wins, eight losses), 98.0 per cent
The Eagles will be glad to have returned to the winners' list and boosted their chances of playing finals with a much-needed 42-point triumph over Adelaide on Sunday, but they still have plenty of work to do if they want to remain inside the top eight with as many as five clubs still snapping at their heels. Next week's clash against fellow finals aspirant St Kilda at home is a must-win, while clashes against premiership fancies Melbourne and Brisbane during a difficult final month means Adam Simpson's side can barely afford any off days. Their away match against a much-improved Collingwood at the MCG in a fortnight appears – on paper at least – their easiest match coming home, while the final Derby of the season could go a long way in deciding how many West Australian teams feature in September. - Jonathan Healy

The run home
R19: St Kilda @ Optus Stadium
R20: Collingwood @ MCG
R21: Melbourne @ Optus Stadium
R22: Fremantle @ Optus Stadium
R23: Brisbane @ Gabba

8. Essendon

32 points (eight wins, nine losses), 104.5 per cent
The Bombers took an important step forward in their quest for finals, neatly dodging the first-half banana peel North Melbourne threw their way. While most fixture details are up in the air, it currently looks unlikely they'll have all three of their scheduled Marvel Stadium games at home. GWS, Gold Coast and Collingwood look like wins at the moment, and while the Western Bulldogs are probably a bridge too far, the game against Sydney in a fortnight looks crucial. – Sarah Black

The run home
R19: GWS Giants @ Marvel Stadium
R20: Sydney @ Marvel Stadium
R21: Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium
R22: Gold Coast @ Metricon Stadium
R23: Collingwood @ MCG

9. Richmond

32 points (eight wins, nine losses), 100.8 per cent
The Tigers broke a four-game losing streak just in the nick of time as their finals hopes were about to be extinguished. Their win over Brisbane breathed life into their top-eight chances, with a relatively solid run home. The Cats clash will be a challenge, as will a trip to Perth, but they would go into games against North Melbourne, Greater Western Sydney and Hawthorn with a level of confidence they can get the job done, even in the absence of Dustin Martin. Richmond can't afford slip-ups in a tight group battling for a top-eight berth. - Callum Twomey 

The run home
R19: Geelong @ MCG
R20: Fremantle @ Optus Stadium
R21: North Melbourne @ MCG
R22: GWS Giants @ TBC
R23: Hawthorn @ MCG

10. Fremantle

32 points (eight wins, nine losses), 92.5 per cent
The Dockers' big percentage boost after round 17 was almost completely undone in the Geelong loss, dropping close to five per cent and losing their place in the top eight. Other results went against them and they are now a long shot to play finals, having been exposed by a hardened opponent and facing more of the same in a difficult run home. Three of Freo's last five games are currently scheduled at Optus Stadium after the venue swap with Brisbane earlier this season, and clashes against Richmond and St Kilda at least means they can scrap it out with fellow challengers themselves. - Nathan Schmook

The run home
R19: Sydney @ GMHBA Stadium
R20: Richmond @ Optus Stadium
R21: Brisbane @ Optus Stadium
R22: West Coast @ Optus Stadium
R23: St Kilda @ Marvel Stadium

LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?

11. St Kilda

32 points (eight wins, nine losses), 86.6 per cent
It was a devastating loss for St Kilda against Port Adelaide on Saturday, because it blew a golden chance to move into the top eight after playing catch-up for most of the season. Winning next week’s clash against fellow finals contender West Coast in Perth will be pivotal to keeping St Kilda’s September dreams alive, especially with tough matches to come against Sydney and Geelong. But with three wins from their past four matches, the Saints have the recent form to make a late charge for finals action. - Luke Michael

The run home
R19: West Coast @ Optus Stadium
R20: Carlton @ Marvel Stadium
R21: Sydney @ TBC
R22: Geelong @ GMHBA Stadium
R23: Fremantle @ Marvel Stadium

12. Greater Western Sydney

30 points (seven wins, nine losses, one draw), 95.5 per cent
GWS missed an opportunity to climb into the top eight when it gave up a 35-point lead and suffered a demoralising loss in the Sydney derby, especially after some fellow finals hopefuls also failed to claim the four points. The Giants now need lift themselves back up and find a way to upset at least one of Geelong or Port Adelaide, but their next match against Essendon and then in round 22 against Richmond loom as the 'eight-pointers' that could make or break their season. The Giants also need to find the consistency to go on a winning run, something they haven't got close to since their consecutive victories in rounds seven and eight. - Martin Pegan

The run home
R19: Essendon @ Marvel Stadium
R20: Port Adelaide @ TBC
R21: Geelong @ GMHBA Stadium
R22: Richmond @ TBC
R23: Carlton @ Marvel Stadium

LADDER PREDICTOR Where will your club finish?

13. Carlton

28 points (seven wins, 10 losses), 93.9 per cent
Carlton's season has a pulse. Its comeback 29-point win over Collingwood on Sunday leaves the club within touching distance of the top eight, albeit with percentage not on the Blues' side. However, with a trio of winnable Marvel Stadium games scheduled to come against North Melbourne, St Kilda and Gold Coast in the next three weeks, you can't write David Teague's side off just yet. The Blues will probably need to win four of their final five games – and have results elsewhere go their way – but it's not out of the question. Could a miracle be on the cards? - Riley Beveridge

The run home
R19: North Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium
R20: St Kilda @ Marvel Stadium
R21: Gold Coast @ Marvel Stadium
R22: Port Adelaide @ Adelaide Oval
R23: GWS Giants @ Marvel Stadium