North Melbourne’s barnstorming start to the AFL season is now ancient history.
Their 32-point loss to West Coast at Subiaco on Sunday means the Kangaroos have lost five of their last six games and plummeted from top spot on the ladder to eighth.
The situation is far from catastrophic – North’s nine-game winning streak at the start of the season means they are only one game plus percentage outside the top four.
And the Kangaroos have a three-game buffer over Port Adelaide, Collingwood Melbourne and St Kilda, who will need a lot to go right if any of them are to push for the finals.
But of North’s 10 wins this season, only two have been against other teams currently in the top eight.
Their form slump makes next Saturday’s home game against the resurgent Power a big clash.
The Eagles’ 16.8 (104) to 11.6 (72) win over the Kangaroos was their first this year against another top eight team.
West Coast improved from eighth to fifth, leaving them just one win adrift of second.
Also on Sunday, Adelaide extended their winning streak to seven with a regulation 10-goal win over Carlton at the MCG.
The 16.11 (107) to 7.5 (47) win sent the Crows rocketing from fifth to third.
Geelong and GWS were the big losers in round 16, with the Cats falling at home to Sydney on Friday night by 38 points.
As Geelong dropped out of the top four, Sydney replaced them in second spot and set up a ripping clash on Thursday night against top side Hawthorn at the SCG.
The Giants were also ordinary at home, falling to the Magpies by 32 points to drop from third to seventh.
Richmond gave the Western Bulldogs an almighty scare on Saturday night, but the ‘Dogs won ugly by 10 points to improve from sixth to fourth.
Only two games separates top side Hawthorn from North in eighth.
The Hawks beat Port Adelaide on Thursday night by 22 points in a rugged clash.
Melbourne beat Fremantle in Darwin, Gold Coast won the Q Clash over Brisbane and St Kilda overcame Essendon late in the fourth quarter to record a vital win.