Time on – round 17

WINNERS & LOSERS

Essendon 12.12 (84) def. Adelaide 10.13 (73)

Gold Coast Suns 12.13 (85) def. 9.16 (70)

Collingwood 13.20 (98) def. Carlton 11.13 (79)

St Kilda 13.4 (82) def. West Coast Eagles 9.7 (61)

Melbourne 17.11 (113) def. Port Adelaide 14.8 (92)

Fremantle 15.8 (98) def. Sydney Swans 13.9 (87)

Geelong 20.13 (133) def. Brisbane Lions 15.14 (104)

North Melbourne 21.16 (142) def. Western Bulldogs 17.9 (111)

3 LIKES

1. Top eight far from decided

The Pies, Cats, Hawks and Blues are legit top four material but all spots from 5th-8th are up for grabs. With the Dogs and Saints stringing games together and back in form, the Dockers, Swans and Bombers are the three most vulnerable for mine. Eagles are the biggest threat to take Hawthorn’s 3rd spot or Carlton’s 4th in the top four, otherwise they’ll finish 5th. The competition for those final spots in the eight has intensified and we’ll know the final eight in 7 weeks time.

2. The Saints are coming

After being under heavy fire early on, the Saints now have six wins from eight starts, which should translate into eight from ten with Adelaide and the Gold Coast to come in the next couple weeks. Key players are back in form and the performance against the West Coast was impressive. They also did the late Allan Jeans a great performance.

3. Applaud Kangas

I take my hat off to Brad Scott and the Kangaroos astonishing win over the Western Bulldogs. I didn’t give the Roos a shot against the Dogs, and who would’ve after the embarrassing 117 point loss to the Pies last week? Their midfield was sublime – in particular Wells, Swallow and Ziebell – delivering to a sharpshooter in Petrie who finished with 5 goals. Well done Roos, now I want consistency!

3 DISLIKES

1. Richmond’s demise

The Tigers are in trouble, big trouble. This is a team carrying a injured Jack Riewoldt, down on confidence and not providing any excitement or spark at the moment. With a tough run home, they may be stranded on 6 wins and fall away dramatically. My biggest concern is the defense – no run, no rebound, not alot of structure but too much reshuffling. They face the Cats on Sunday, which could turn very ugly.

2. Blues need a key forward

Carlton went into battle at the MCG on Saturday facing arch-rival Collingwood without their two most important key talls – Jarrad Waite and Michael Jamison. This has forced Lachie Henderson to play down back but this robs them of a tall marking target in the goalsquare aside from Matthew Kreuzer, who is still young and just finding his feet after a knee reconstruction. The Blues tried Bret Thornton, Matthew Watson up forward on Saturday, even Robbie Warnock and Kreuzer. None of the those worked and they appeared unorganised and very unsettled in their front half. Andrew Walker kicked 4 goals but needed support while it must be cleared up at Visy Park that Eddie Betts and Jeff Garlett are not leading forwards, they’re crumbers. Waite and Jamison are still on the sidelines so the Blues need to come up with a forward solution, and fast.

3. Crows in trouble

They led all night only to be overrun by a determined Essendon outfit on their home turf. This doesn’t help Neil Craig’s chances of remaining in the top job at West Lakes for much longer, even though the club moved him into the staff category. Irrelevant. The Crows are in bad shape and finals is a long way off. An away Friday night blockbuster against a running hot St Kilda is not what they need but it gives them a big opportunity to stand up.

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