Front and Square

WITH the top eight far from settled, the premiership race is wide open which begins this week’s agenda…

Premiership race wide open

Eight rounds into the season and the top eight is far from a settled mix, with a few suprises no one had predicted.

Adelaide and Essendon are the standouts, followed by an injury-depleted West Coast and Collingwood who just keep performing.

Top four fancies Carlton have dropped dramatically to seventh following two consecutive losses and young gun Marc Murphy joining the likes of Carrazzo, Laidler and Waite on the sidelines.

Fremantle hang in the eight by a thread with St Kilda and Geelong breathing down their necks, as well as ladder surges from the likes of the Western Bulldogs and Richmond.

Usually by this stage of the season the top eight is pretty set and going by the history book, not much changes post-round eight.

2012 is proving a much more open year than seen before, with the top eight far from set.

Your club’s verdict

Adelaide: The in-form team of the competition dominated an under siege Carlton at Etihad Stadium. Former Blue Jacobs won the hitouts convincingly as Thompson and Dangerfield continued their supreme dominance.

Brisbane Lions: Got the win they needed against GWS, which will pay dividends for their confidence. Merrett and Brown combining for twelve goals was a great cameo, but need to build from here.

Carlton: Got hammered against the high flying Crows in a dis-spirited performance.  Blues need to make changes as Murphy joins growing injury list of Carrazzo, Laidler, Waite with the sore Duigan and Henderson.

Collingwood: Gutsy win by the Pies over the reigning premiers, will do wonders for team confidence. Injuries to the likes of Tarrant, Brown, Johnson, Reid and Swan the only concern.

Essendon: The Bombers are flying and make the trip to Western Sydney this weekend to tackle the young Giants. The super impressive Bombers are a lock for top four and have tremendous upside.

Fremantle: Poor effort against the Hawks in Launceston with Ross Lyon coming under fire for not utilising his talented ball-winners to advantage. Dockers are a much better side than what their most recent performance showed.

Geelong: Unlucky to go down to Pies on Friday night, but shot themselves in the foot through too many missed opportunities in their front half. A side in transition with alot of youngsters and expect them to improve.

Gold Coast: Full four quarter performances still lacking for the Suns, hence why they’re yet to win a game. Only in year two and will still take time but sustained effort and continual development of players vital.

GWS: Were smashed up at the Gabba but in their defense, the Giants have played most of the top teams in the first eight weeks of the season. Like the Suns, sustained effort and continual development of the list critical to their success in the Western Sydney region.

Hawthorn: Hawks are back on track after big win over Freo. Big plus is the likes of Gilham, Gibson, Stratton and Schoenmakers in the one backline. Luke Hodge’s persistent knee injury the only concern.

Melbourne: Flattening 102-point loss at the SCG, with the Demons at a miserable 0-8 for the season. Several players disinterested and lack of effort is alarming. Long road ahead for Mark Neeld’s Dees.

North Melbourne: Controlled game until last quarter, when Port Adelaide stormed home from 32 points down to win in last 10 minutes. Gut wretching result for Roos and won’t play finals on the back of those efforts.

Port Adelaide: Terrific win for coach Matthew Primus and his coaching career. Proves the Power have the will, determination and spirit to succeed. There’s talent at Alberton, despite contrary views.

Richmond: Came mighty close to toppling the Bombers but ultimately fell short. Damien Hardwick has Tigers on the right track.

St Kilda: The trip West was always going to be a challenge for the Saints but weren’t disgraced. The loss of Stanley, on top of the injured McEvoy further hits their damaged ruck stocks.

Sydney: Easy win over hapless Dees but the absence of Adam Goodes and Shane Mumford leaves them vulnerable against the top sides. Big game against St Kilda this week.

West Coast: Solid win after Essendon debacle the week before. Dean Cox terrific with 5 goals but the absences of LeCras, Kennedy, Nicoski and Embley has hit them hard. Still convinced they won’t drop a game at home.

Western Bulldogs: Two wins in a row puts the Dogs back in the race for a top eight spot. Big test awaits on Friday night against the Cats.

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