Two. One. None.
What happens when team registers one of those totals in the win column over the last two weeks of the home and away season?
The top eight is down to 11 contenders with only the current top three of Richmond, West Coast and GWS having completely secured a spot in the finals. The final two rounds can change the scope of finals completely, today I look at how each team's final two games can affect their finals aspirations.
1. Richmond: Need one win from two games against subpar teams in Essendon and the Bulldogs. A loss and two 100+ point wins from West Coast would see them lose top spot.
2. West Coast: Two losses could see the Eagles drop as low as 6th if they get belted by the Demons at Optus and the Lions at the Gabba. One win will lock up 2nd place as even if the Tigers’ lose, the Eagles just don’t have the percentage to match the table topping Tigers. Two wins and a Tigers’ loss would put them into 1st place at seasons end.
3. Greater Western Sydney: Weren’t we talking about these guys missing the finals when Jezza Cameron got his for six (or five, actually, but being hit for five doesn’t sound quite right)? Nevertheless, here they are sitting in 3rd with a depleted list full of talent in every position. Their final two games against Sydney at Spotless and Melbourne at the G can cement them a top 4 spot or see them drop as low as 7th. Playing against two teams with finals aspirations, the Giants will need at least one win unless the footy God’s are on their side. Two wins cements a top three finish and possibly top two if the Eagles drop both of their games to the Dees and Lions. One win sees them anywhere between 3rd and 6th depending on the Hawks, Pies and Swans. Zero wins will still see the Giants play finals, but from as low as 7th depending on results from Hawthorn, Collingwood and Sydney as all three teams need just 1 win to overtake them. Confused yet? It gets better.
4. Hawthorn: Should grab an easy win this week against the Saints however the round 23 game against Sydney is set to be a blockbuster and will have major top four implications. Two wins sees the Hawks lock in a top four spot and with two losses coming from West Coast and just one loss from GWS the Hawks could move into 3rd position at season’s end. One win could see them drop as low as 7th! Luckily for the Hawks, they have percentage over most of their competition. Collingwood and Sydney are their fiercest competition for their top four spot and double chance, however all three teams will have to prove themselves against the game's best. Zero wins, a Hawks fan nightmare, could be on the cards if the Hawks fail to register another win in 2018. One win from Collingwood, Sydney and Melbourne would see them drop to 7th. Two wins from the Cats (very likely), Port (very possible), North (possible) and Essendon (very unlikely) will see them drop out of the 8 and as a Cats fan, this would be a dream.
5. Collingwood: The Pies are battered and bruised, their whole list is wrapped in bandages and not looking up, the game of AFL takes no prisoners. The Pies will have to beat the Power at the G and the Dockers out west for their top eight spot. They have the exact same scenarios as Hawthorn and Sydney in the win column, so I won’t repeat myself. I also know Collingwood supporters aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed, so I’ll keep it simple. Two wins sees a spot between 2nd and 5th depending on outcomes. One win will keep them in finals and if the footy gods are on their side, even see top four. Zero wins = no finals.
6. Sydney: On behalf of all AFL fans, get stuffed! Are these guys ever going to miss finals?! There is still a strong possibility of this year being the year. Similar outcomes to the Pies and Hawks, however two tough games are ahead of them. GWS at Spotless and Hawthorn at the SCG. To spare me my sanity of repeating myself again, Two wins is guaranteed 3-5 finish, One win means you put your fate in the hands of those around you, with possible finishes from 4th to 8th depending on outcomes. Zero wins… enjoy your holiday.
7. Melbourne: Ahh the Dees, the disappointing Dees. Luckily for the Dees, they love to hand out beatings - a 130.5% sees them relatively safe from a repeat of last year’s premature celebrations. It also means that one win solidifies a finals birth, irrespective of percentage. However, making finals means they will finally have to beat a top 8 side. Two wins could still see them in the four, however West Coast away and GWS at home are tough games, especially after the tough loss to Sydney last week. One win means Dees fans can rejoice, finals are here, welcome to the big time. If two losses occur, I will laugh. Prove yourself or get lost.
8. Port Adelaide: I don’t know where to start with this mob. They have all the talent needed to win the flag, but what’s missing? Finals wins, obviously. But how to get there? Two wins are quite possible, but will take some effort to get over the Pies at the G and Essendon at Adelaide oval. As crazy as it sounds after their disastrous last fortnight, two wins could put them in the top four if everyone above them loses a game or two. One win can see them rise to 6th, 7th or just stay in 8th. Zero wins spells disaster with just one win needed from the Cats against the Dockers and Suns at GMHBA enough to send the Power packing.
9. Geelong: As a Cats fan, this season has been disappointing. The talent our midfield possesses is ridiculous and it’s been a shame that it hasn’t been able to connect. Nevertheless, here we are, 21 rounds in and two wins required to make the eight - luckily the games are against the sorry Dockers and Suns. One win would mean no finals unless the power lose both of their games to Collingwood and Essendon. Zero wins sees Paddy and co on the waves at Bells Beach.
10. North Melbourne: I see nothing coming out of North so I’ll make it quick. Not only do the Kangaroos need one of the top eight teams to metaphorically crash and burn, they will also need the Cats to lose to the Dockers or Suns. Sorry North, no finals.
11. Essendon: Exactly the same as North, No finals, impressive 2nd half of the year but you left it too late.
So there it is, Two-One-None.
Two weeks of season defining games are upon us. Get watching, Stay Mongrel.
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