After round 10 the AFL premiership is as tight as ever, with only one win separating the third ranked team (Melbourne) and the ninth (Port Adelaide, who have a game in hand after a bye). Hawthorn, in tenth, are only a single win outside the top eight. The bottom eight are a lot more spread out, with four teams still realistically hoping for a finals appearance.
The dominant sides
West Coast and Richmond are a clear first and second, and will be very comfortable with how they are tracking. Melbourne and Sydney are also a cut above the chasing pack. The Swans have negotiated several tricky games so far, including being the only team in this year’s AFL to beat West Coast (and in Perth no less) and have a perfect away record that will see them in good stead come finals time. Their only problem appears to be (at times) overconfidence.
The Kangaroos, Cats, Crows, Magpies and Power are separated only by points differential, and are each only a win behind Melbourne and Sydney. Port Adelaide, although currently ninth, are the best placed of this group because they still have a game in hand. All are good teams on their day, but consistency has been a problem. The reality is that only (at most) four of these teams will make it into the AFL finals.
The Hawks and Giants are both capable of breaking into finals contention, although it will take some consistency on Hawthorn’s part and confidence on GWS’. Essendon, Fremantle and Footscray are also outside chances, but it would be a surprise to see them make it. The Suns are theoretically also in this group, as they still have a game in hand. Essendon have recently found form, and are the best placed of these teams to break in.
The ones who should focus on 2019
The Saints, Lions and Blues each have a single win, and need to get a head start on a new playing style and overhauled roster if they want to be an AFL threat in 2019.