And you thought the pointy end of the ladder was tight in the regular AFL Ladder. Hold onto your loose-fitting garments, people.

The Swans have hit the front!

Forced out of town, both the Swans and Giants have turned into Road Warriors in their own right, with Sydney posting an equal league-high of eight interstate wins to draw with Port Adelaide, but with a better points differential, they sit in the number one spot.

GWS move into the top four as well, leaving the Dees as the only Victorian team capable of grabbing top spot with a week to go… or maybe they’re not???

Onto the regular spiel…

We’ve heard it for years – the teams based outside Victoria have it tougher.

Forced to travel interstate almost every second week, they clock up enormous miles as they traverse the country to be part of this sport we love.

Meanwhile, we get some Victorian-based clubs cracking the sads when they have to play at Marvel Stadium instead of the MCG, and vice versa. Or those who get a little nasty when a move away from Kardinia Park is floated.

So, how do the teams fare away from home, and who is travelling best at the moment?

The Mongrel has devised a little ladder to assess who is the best road team in the league. Oh, the Vic teams will still get a look in if they’re good enough, and whilst I fully expect a number of fans to say this system is rigged to favour non-Victorian teams… I really don’t care. And if so, how are the Dees and Dogs in the top four? Stop your whining, fella!

So, how does it work?

The Road Warrior Ladder is named after one of the best Tag Teams of all-time. Don’t come at me with your Demolition garbage, or your Powers of Pain crap… they were Road Warrior rip-offs… who were, in turn, rip-offs of the 1980s movie, Mad Max.

It was called The Road Warrior in the United States because… geez, I’m not a film buff. Do your own homework.

Anyway, you get four points for an interstate win and two points for a win at an away venue that IS NOT played at the venue you consider your home ground. I don’t care if it’s not your home game – you’re still at the ground you play your home games at. The Road Warrior Ladder Nazi isn’t concerned with your feelings.

Tasmania is considered a home game for Hawthorn. You choose to play your home games there – you cop it. Same with GWS and Canberra – if it’s your choice, you wear it.

Now that my belligerence is out of the way, let’s get to business.

 

THE ROAD WARRIOR LADDER AFTER ROUND 21

 

1 – SYDNEY 32 PTS (260 POINT DIFFERENTIAL IN ROAD WINS)

2 – PORT ADELAIDE 32 PTS (233)

3 – MELBOURNE 28 PTS (270)

4 – GWS 28 PTS (179)

5 – WESTERN BULLDOGS 24 PTS (198)

6 – BRISBANE 22 PTS (231)

7 – GEELONG 20 PTS (230)

8 – GOLD COAST 20 PTS (89)

9 – ST KILDA 16 PTS (98)

10 – RICHMOND 14 PTS (173)

11 – ESSENDON 14 PTS (115)

12 – WEST COAST 12 PTS (102)

13 – FREMANTLE 12 PTS (86)

14 – ADELAIDE 12 PTS (66)

15 – COLLINGWOOD 10 PTS (40)

16 – NORTH MELBOURNE 8 PTS (17)

17 – HAWTHORN 6 PTS (39)

18 – CARLTON 4 PTS (11)

 

Great work by the Swans – not just in this system, but in terms of their overall performance this season. Winning as many games as they have is a tough ask, but doing it on the road for this long… that is impressive! They’re my favourite team to watch.

Ditto for the Giants, who have really knuckled down and just have to win – that’s it – to make the finals. Surely they won’t cock this up, right?

Right?!?!

 

POTENTIAL FOUR POINT GAMES THIS WEEKEND  (at the moment)

Pretty hard to judge at the time of writing given the “floating fixture” of Round 23, but I’ll do my best.

PORT ADELAIDE @ Marvel

SYDNEY and GOLD COAST @ Marvel

WEST COAST @ The Gabba

GWS @ Marvel

FREO @ Somewhere v St Kilda

NORTH MELB @ Adelaide Oval

 

POTENTIAL TWO POINT GAMES THIS WEEK

MELBOURNE @ Kardinia Park

 

So, the Dees are done! They cannot win this thing unless, by some miracle, the AFL decide to move their game against Geelong interstate. And why would they do that, right? Even they can justify that kind of abject idiocy.

So, it comes down to Port, Sydney, and GWS, who all have four-point games this week. One of them will be our Road Warrior Champions of 2021.

And while I am being accused and verbally abused for calling Carlton out for what they are – a rabble -let me share a little something with you.

Prior to capitulating in the way they did versus Port on the weekend, the Blues have not played outside Victoria since Round 14. So, seven games in Victoria in a row and still they failed to make a run at finals. As a matter of fact, they have played interstate four times this season and won just once – against the Suns. I have had to delete a ton of messages and comments from Carlton supporters getting defensive about their team after publishing an article asking why Alastair Clarkson would even consider coaching this mob, and I reckon the question is entirely justified. Their insipid white flag-raising efforts on the weekend are indicative of where they are as a club. Heartless and soulless.

Ahhh, that feels better.

Not a bad little concept, this one – Covid has really spiced things up. Two weeks to flatten the curve… yeah.

 

PS – wrestling talk- I never understood the appeal of the Midnight Express as a tag team. With the recent passing of Beautiful Bobby Eaton (the name had to be a bit of a joke), people have been lavishing praise on that team and their manager, Jim Cornette. I always considered them a step below the great teams of the time, but maybe that is just because the team was built around Jim Cornette and not the actual wrestlers.