The Road Warrior Ladder – Round 12

A challenger has emerged.

With the Sydney Swans taking a week off with the bye, the Fremantle Dockers took the opportunity to rub the Dees’ noses in the dirt as they cruised to a lazy 92-point win in Alice Springs to pull within a game of the breakaway leaders.

Not only are the Swans the best team in the competition right now, but they are also the best road team, and as I keep saying, great teams have to win on the road.

They have taken all before them in 2024, and whilst the Dockers are flying under the radar for wins on the road, there is no hiding from the Swans. They’re the real deal.

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.




1 – SYDNEY – 20 PTS (197 point differential in road wins)

2 – FREMANTLE – 16 PTS (189)

3 – GWS – 12 PTS (97)

4 – PORT ADELAIDE – 12 PTS (95)

5 – GEELONG – 12 PTS (49)

6 – CARLTON – 12 (47)

7 – COLLINGWOOD – 10 PTS (15)

8 – ADELAIDE – 8 PTS (59)

9 – MELBOURNE – 8 PTS (22)

10 – ST KILDA – 8 PTS (21)

11 – ESSENDON – 8 PTS (9)


13 – BRISBANE – 6 PTS (22)

14 – HAWTHORN – 4 PTS (52)




There have been a few people in the media out for blood when it comes to the Fremantle Dockers over the last little while.

Despite a winning record and improvement across the board, some decided that the Dockers weren’t being exciting enough. I reckon Melbourne wish those people would shut the hell up and stop giving Freo a point to prove. With their fourth interstate win of the year, the Dockers move into outright second on the Road Warrior Ladder, and to within a game of the all-conquering Swans, who play at home next week.

It likely means that the Round 14 clashes will have a big bearing on how the ladder looks, with Freo heading to Marvel to face the Dogs, and Sydney to Adelaide Oval to face the Crows. A win to either team, and top spot beckons.

Down the other end of the ladder, the Suns are now in the AFL top eight, despite failing to win a game away from home. Interestingly, the only other teams without a road win are ranked 16th, 17th, and 18th on the AFL Ladder, so the Suns loooove that home cooking.




RICHMOND head to Adelaide Oval to face the Crows

BRISBANE come off the bye to play the Dogs at Marvel

GWS face the Hawks down in Tassie

NORTH MELBOURNE will look to repeat last year’s dose, facing the Eagles at Optus

GOLD COAST look for their first road win of 2024, facing the Saints at Marvel

And GEELONG head to the SCG to face the league-leading Swans



None this week



So, we’ve had seven games with tighter holding-the-ball interpretations – how is it looking?

It started slow, with just eight paid on Thursday night. The AFL average this season was 8.26 coming into that game. It picked up a bit on Friday night, with 13 paid… and then I kind of stopped counting, but what it has done is instil a sense of urgency in the ball carrier – he now feels he has to get rid of it.

I kind of like that.

Of course, I’d like it more if the umpires didn’t shit themselves in a final few minutes and continue to pay what look to be obvious holding-the-ball free kicks, but overall, I think it is a slight improvement on what was happening, which was players just dropping the footy out in tackles, and play on being called.

I reckon it will get better for a couple of weeks, before the umps start to fall back into bad habits and allow players an eternity again, undoing any good work they’re currently doing. Always happens.

Interested as to what you think.