More than a third of the 2012 AFL season has now been completed and already it has proven to be the closest, most open season in recent memory.
At the top end of the table on seven wins and one loss each, are West Coast, Adelaide and Essendon. West Coast, despite some injury concerns, are playing well as most expected, however Essendon and Adelaide have been the two unexpected bolters this season – Both of which are growing from strength to strength each week.
Next, on six wins apiece are Sydney and Collingwood. Sydney, despite recording a massive win this round against Melbourne, are showing some worrying signs, having lost their two before this weeks win, however Collingwood are building nicely, having not lost for more than a month.
The remaining teams in the Top 8 are Hawthorn, Carlton and Fremantle, all of which have won five games each. Hawthorn, after a slow start, have won their last three and like Collingwood are building for a big assault through the midway part of the season, however Carlton and Fremantle are both proving to be very inconsistent. The Blues are probably the biggest shock, having lost their last two in games which they were expected to win.
St Kilda, Geelong and the Bulldogs fill positions 9, 10 and 11, with the Saints looking the most dangerous of the lot. They’ve struggled to put two wins together however have shown signs of improving form. Geelong have been the shock this season, with many fearing the era is over. They’ve lost their last two and tough questions need to be asked of many of the senior players, however I’m one who believes they’ll bounce back very soon and forge their way back towards the top of the ladder. The Bulldogs, after a slow start, are improving and have won four of their last five games. Many tip them to miss the Top 8 this season however they’re certainly still in the mix at this stage.
North Melbourne, Richmond and Brisbane have all won three of their eight games and are all in danger of slipping out of finals contention. North Melbourne have dropped their bundle after a promising start to the season and have lost their last three, whilst the Tigers are still lurking and I they may sneak into the Top 8 come season’s end. Brisbane have shown genuine signs of improvement this year and the young list will continue to improve as the season continues.
Port Adelaide are in 15th position with two wins, one courtesy of a thrilling win over North Melbourne this weekend however they will not participate in September action.
Greater Western Sydney are next with one win, after an unexpected one against Gold Coast last weekend, whilst Gold Coast and Melbourne fill the final two positions having both not recorded a win this season. Guy McKenna will hope that changes ASAP or his head will be on the chopping block come season’s end, whilst Melbourne are going from bad to worse and face Carlton, Essendon and Collingwood in the next three weeks.
It’s still very early in the season however having a look at the remaining games for the season, if I was to tip my Top 8 at this stage, I’d have the following;
1. Hawthorn (19 wins)
2. West Coast (19)
3. Adelaide (17)
4. Geelong (16)
5. Collingwood (16)
6. Carlton (15)
7. Essendon (14)
8. St Kilda (13)
What are your thoughts? Tell me below who will finish higher and why, or who will finish lower and why!
Image courtesy of Adelaide Now