Road Warrior Ladder – Round 23. It’s The Giants v The Power

Well, things have turned out rather nicely, setting up a final-round clash to determine the Road Warrior Champions of 2023.

The Swans did the right thing and took top spot on Saturday night… although the “right thing” was not done by the AFL, with its bodgey score review system and rules, or by the goal umpire, either for that matter. Anyway, more on that at the conclusion of this article

The Sydney win relegated GWS into second place, and then Port Adelaide came along, visited Freo and went WHACK, to leapfrog both the Giants and Swans and move into the top spot.

And now, it is the Giants’ turn to respond… if they have it in them.

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.





2 – SYDNEY 26 PTS (139)

3 – GWS – 26 PTS  (59)

4 – BRISBANE – 24 PTS (187)

5 – COLLINGWOOD – 22 PTS (162)

6 – CARLTON – 16 PTS (175)

7 – RICHMOND – 16 PTS (90)

8 –  FREMANTLE – 16 PTS (41)

9 – MELBOURNE – 14 PTS (122)

10 – ST KILDA – 12 PTS (34)


12 – GOLD COAST – 8 PTS (94)

13 – ESSENDON – 8 PTS (77)

14 – GEELONG – 8 PTS (47)

15 – HAWTHORN – 8 PTS (58)

16 -WEST COAST – 4 PTS (7)

17 – ADELAIDE – 4 PTS (3)




LOL – look at the Eagles. In one fell swoop (pardon the pun), they not only jumped off the bottom of the AFL Ladder and sent North to the bottom, but they also did it on the Road Warrior Ladder and elevated above the Adelaide Crows, as well.

There you go, West Cost supporters – you were a better road team in 2023 than the Crows. At this point, anyway. If the Crows get you this week, they’ll earn their second win on the road this season and move above you.

We now have a race in two for the title, as Port Adelaide threw down the gauntlet with their win over the Dockers, and moved two points clear on top. The Swans have only a home game remaining, so their race has been run and second ais as good as they get, but GWS has one more chance to take the title when they face Carlton on the road this weekend.

Giddy up, baby!



GOLD COAST face off against North down in Hobart

FREO hit the road to face the Hawks at the MCG

ST KILDA head to the GABBA to face the Lions

ADELAIDE travel West to take on the Eagles and perhaps leapfrog them right back

RICHMOND fly to SA to take on Port

MELBOURNE head to the SCG to face the Swans

And GWS tries to take the title against the Blues at Marvel.



WESTERN BULLDOGS drive down the highway to sleepy hollow to face the Cats



Oh, hello!

I’m leaving the italics up for posterity. If you missed it last week, have a read this week, and then catch me at the end of this article.


Do we need to talk about the state of the AFL’s video review system?

Yes, I think we do, indeed.

For a while now, whenever there has been a decision made that has influenced the outcome of the game, someone asks the question – what if something like this costs a team a final? It’s a solid question, but the point that is being missed is that it is already costing teams a final.

Or it could be, at least.

You see, in a race that is this tight for the top eight, having a decision like this, and the pathetic footage the AFL is using to determine whether the ball was touched or not, ended up meaning Carlton won the game.

Not as bad, right – win, lose, or draw, they were in the eight at the end of Round 22, anyway.

That’s great, but four points in Round 22 is worth just as much as four points in any other round, and decisions like these have a far-reaching impact on the final state of the AFL Ladder at the end of the home and away season.

Humour me for a moment.

Let’s say the video evidence was better – as in something you’d expect from an organisation that is the pinnacle of the sport in any country (so, not the AFL, then?). Let’s say better vision showed clearly that Caleb Marchbank did not touch the footy. Carlton lose and drop back to 46 points on the ladder, positioning them in sixth and in a very vulnerable situation. It’d give teams like the Dogs, Bombers, and Giants a chance to leapfrog them with just one win and secure a finals spot of their own.

So, whilst the argument that it didn’t have an impact on the top eight right now is correct, it is also incredibly shortsighted and ignorant of the fact that every score in every game featuring a top eight team has ramifications on finals.

This is not a new problem for the AFL. Whilst it continues to pour money down the drain on other ventures, its score review system has been in dire need of a technology upgrade for years, and the league is falling further and further behind in comparison to other sporting codes around the globe.

Either get it right or scrap it and rely on the umpire’s call all the time. Hell, with the footage they use now, it is just as reliable to trust the goal umpires as it is the Nokia 2310 version of technology they’re using.Rant over…for now.


Okay – rant back on.

What we saw on the weekend was a disgrace. It was the result of a half-arsed implementation of a system the AFL was not prepared to invest in to the point that made it a viable failsafe. It was far from a failsafe – it was a fail.

And it wasn’t even the tech, this time. It was the rules around it. Nobody in charge ever thought that a point might be incorrectly ruled a goal at some stage? They only opted to automatically review goals that were disputed? How shortsighted is that?

And do you know why they didn’t bother opting to review those instances?

Because it slowed the game down and the AFL hated that.

And so, here we are – a team is missing a chance at finals because the AFL have decided that integrity and due diligence needed to be sacrificed at the altar of speed in the modern game, and in doing so, have made themselves, our league, and our code look like the red-headed stepchild of the sporting world.

What a cock up.

I wish I could say that nobody saw something like this coming, but a quick perusal of our archives will show you that we’ve been banging on about the ineptitude of several facets of the score review for years, now. What a shame the AFL refused to acknowledge there was an issue until it cost a team dearly.


Like this content? You could buy me a coffee – I do like coffee, but there is no guarantee I won’t use it to buy a doughnut… I like them more. And I am not brought to you by Sportsbet or Ladbrokes… or Bet365, or any of them.