THE MOST FEARSOME FINALISTS?
North Melbourne’s win over St Kilda means the AFL’s top eight is all but finalised. However, competition for the right to host finals and a coveted top-four berth is ongoing and fierce. To come up with a form guide as September approaches, AAP has ranked the contenders based on results against fellow top-eight teams (despite the protests of coaches, beating Essendon is probably less meaningful than beating Hawthorn).
1. GEELONG (W:8 L:2, 126.5 per cent)
2. SYDNEY (W:5 L:4, 112 per cent)
3. HAWTHORN (W:5 L:3, 92.9 per cent)
4. GWS (W:4 L:3, 116.5 per cent)
5. ADELAIDE (W:4 L:5, 101.2 per cent)
6. WESTERN BULLDOGS (W:3 L:5, 86.2 per cent)
7. NORTH MELBOURNE (W:2 L:5, 83.5 per cent)
8. WEST COAST (W:1 L:5, 91.8 per cent)
*Geelong are guaranteed of finishing minor premiers on this ladder. The next time they face a top-eight side will be in week one of the finals
*Sydney are the only top-eight team to have tackled both Hawthorn and GWS twice. They’re 1-1 against each premiership contender
*Hawthorn’s defeats came in rounds one, six and nine. Two of them were at the MCG
*The Giants are yet to drop a game at home against fellow top-eight sides
*Discounting two defeats to Geelong, Adelaide’s average losing margin against fellow top-eight clubs is nine points
*The Bulldogs’ average winning margin in their three triumphs listed here is also nine points
*North have lost their past five matches against top-eight teams, a slump that started with their first defeat of the season (against Sydney in round 10)
*West Coast’s sole win over a fellow top-eight side was in round 16 at home against North. They face GWS, Hawthorn and the Crows in a tough run to September.