The bye rounds have kicked in, so time for some sneaky gains in the Road Warrior Ladder as we move past the halfway point of the season.
We’ve heard it for years – the teams based outside Victoria have it tougher.
I get it, though. I really do. Forced to travel interstate almost every second week, some teams 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. Stop your whining.
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. The Road Warrior Ladder Nazi isn’t concerned with your feelings – just facts.
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 12
1 – PORT ADELAIDE 16 PTS (89-POINT DIFFERENTIAL IN ROAD WINS)
2 – BRISBANE – 12 PTS (132)
3 – SYDNEY – 12 PTS (96)
4 – COLLINGWOOD – 12 PTS (70)
5 – FREMANTLE – 12 PTS (34)
6 – WESTERN BULLDOGS – 10 PTS (69… DUDE)
7 – GWS – 10 PTS (10)
8 – CARLTON – 8 PTS (118)
9 – GOLD COAST – 8 PTS (94)
10 – ESSENDON – 8 PTS (77)
11 – MELBOURNE – 8 PTS (68)
12 – RICHMOND – 8 PTS (32)
13 – GEELONG – 4 PTS (47)
14 – ST KILDA – 4 PTS (12)
15 – ADELAIDE – 4 PTS (3)
16 – NORTH MELBOURNE – 4PTS (1)
17 – HAWTHORN – 2 PTS (10)
18 – WEST COAST – NO POINTS AS YET
Collingwood are the big movers this week, using their West Coast road trip to bolster their record.
The Pies jumped from 12th to fourth due to the healthy 63 point win that pushed them right into contention. Not bad for a club that doesn’t travel, huh?
Port played at home, Brisbane had the bye, as did Freo and Sydney, which meant that movement at the top end of the ladder was pretty limited. This allowed Collingwood to sneak into the top four. I have to ask – do you reckon they’ve peaked too early this season?
Last year, we saw Melbourne take all before them in the first half of the season, only to fall in a heap as we turned for home. Could something similar happen to the Pies, or are they playing such an irrepressible brand of footy that they will cruise into September?
Regardless of which way it goes, it will be one of the stories of the season.
The Tigers picked up their second road win of the year, prevailing in a classic against the GWS Giants. If you’re looking for a game to watch on replay, this or the Essendon win would have to be it this week. Just a ripping game of footy, see-sawing leads and momentum, and plenty of feeling in it.
Geelong were the only other team to pick up any points this week, and that was only two points as they made the trip up the highway to beat the Dogs (again) at Marvel. Don’t bet against this mob – heaps of quality to come back, yet.
UPCOMING FOUR-POINT GAMES
ST KILDA venture to the SCG to take on The Swans
PORT ADELAIDE head over to Marvel to face The Dogs
BRISBANE head to the MCG to face Hawthorn
WEST COAST look for their first points against the Crows
RICHMOND head to WA to take on Fremantle
And GWS head to Tassie to take on North
TWO-POINT CROSSTOWN GAMES THIS WEEK
None this week
ODD FOOTNOTE OF THE WEEK
There is a lot of chatter about the Gold Coast Suns at the moment, having just wrapped up a two game residency in Darwin with a second win. The last time this type of chatter was happening was in 2014, on the back of a bloke named Gary Ablett carrying the team. When he went down, so too did the Suns.
This time around, it is much more like a concerted team effort carrying this team. Solid defence with Sam Collins and Charlie Ballard, a quickly developing midfield headlined by Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson, and a forward set up with Jack Lukosius suddenly playing out of his skin give the Suns a potent mix.
And they have Touk Miller coming back later in the year, too.
This mob are threatening, but with that comes pressure, In the past, they have been unable to handle it – this week, they get the bye so some of it will dissipate, but in Round 13, they face Carlton in a game that will likely make or break their season.
Contenders, or pretenders?
We’ll find out in a fortnight.
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