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The run home: Round 18

Ashley Browne, AFL Media  July 17, 2017 9:59 AM

Adelaide retained top spot on the AFL ladder with a win over Melbourne in Darwin

Adelaide retained top spot on the AFL ladder with a win over Melbourne in Darwin

1. Adelaide

48 points (12 wins, four losses) 140.4 per cent
The Crows seem to have regained their strut but their biggest hurdle between now and the finals comes on Friday night in the shape of Geelong, who they have lost their past five games to. The build-up to the Adelaide Oval clash will be huge, particularly with fitness clouds over both Rory Sloane and Patrick Dangerfield, but irrespective, order the pizza and stock the fridge. This one will be epic. And important.

The run home
Rd 18: Geelong (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 19: Collingwood (MCG)
Rd 20: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 21: Essendon (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 22: Sydney (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 23: West Coast (Domain Stadium)

2. Geelong

46 points (11 wins, four losses, one draw) 118.1 per cent
The Cats are riding their luck in close games. Had Michael Walters and Isaac Smith not missed last-gasp kicks for the goal in the last month the Cats would be in a battle just to be in the eight. The Crows away on Friday night will be tough but remaining games against fellow top-eight clubs Richmond, Sydney and GWS are all at home.

The run home
Rd 18: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 19: Carlton (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 20: Sydney (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 21: Richmond (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 22: Collingwood (MCG)
Rd 23: GWS (Simonds Stadium) 

3. Greater Western Sydney

44 points (10 wins, four losses, two draws) 115.7
Were probably due to lose to the big brother up the road but as we approach the pointy end of the season, the Giants haven't won a game in nearly a month. Sunday against Richmond will provide the Giants with another searching test in what is their only game at the home of football for the home and away season. Looking ahead after that, there aren't too many gimmes left for the G-Men unless they can get close to their best team back together.

The run home
Rd 18: Richmond (MCG)
Rd 19: Fremantle (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 20: Melbourne (Manuka Oval)
Rd 21: Western Bulldogs (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 22: West Coast (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 23: Geelong (Simonds Stadium) 

4. Port Adelaide

40 points, (10 wins, six losses) 136.3 per cent
Tasty game at the MCG for the Power coming up against Melbourne. It will be the first clash there between them since 2013 and only the second in eight years. A fortnight after that comes the second Showdown for the year. Win that and the top four beckons and it could well set up a bonus clash between the Crows and Power in the opening week of the finals.

The run home

Rd 18: Melbourne (MCG)
Rd 19: St Kilda (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 20: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 21: Collingwood (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 22: Western Bulldogs (Eureka Stadium)
Rd 23: Gold Coast (Adelaide Oval) 

5. Richmond

40 points (10 wins, six losses) 107.4 per cent
Given the calamity of last week, the Tigers will be happy to get away with the win against a pesky opponent. Huge MCG game looming against the Giants on Sunday and we'll learn plenty about them then, while their last four games are also tough. If the Tigers make the top four, they'll have truly earned it.

The run home
Rd 18: GWS (MCG)
Rd 19: Gold Coast (Metricon Stadium)
Rd 20: Hawthorn (MCG)
Rd 21: Geelong (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 22: Fremantle (Domain Stadium)
Rd 23: St Kilda (MCG) 

6. Sydney

36 points (nine wins, seven losses) 113.4 per cent
The Swans are playing so well that it is hard to see them dropping a home game from here. They need to win at least one more on the road to be certain of making the finals and while they're too smart to look past the Saints this week, the following Friday night against the Hawks at the MCG will be massive. Win that and it says here that they're in. Remarkable.

The run home
Rd 18: St Kilda (SCG)
Rd 19: Hawthorn (MCG)
Rd 20: Geelong (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 21: Fremantle (SCG)
Rd 22: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 23: Carlton (SCG) 

7. Melbourne

36 points (nine wins, seven losses) 106.7 per cent
The Demons are too depleted through the midfield to compete with the best teams and Saturday night in Darwin proved that. Big Saturday afternoon clash with Port Adelaide coming up at the MCG followed by two more road trips. But with Jack Viney, Jack Watts and Dom Tyson set to return, they'll be in better shape.

The run home
Rd 18: Port Adelaide (MCG)
Rd 19: North Melbourne (Blundstone Arena)
Rd 20: GWS (Manuka Oval)
Rd 21: St Kilda (MCG)
Rd 22: Brisbane Lions (MCG)
Rd 23: Collingwood (MCG)

8. West Coast

36 points (nine wins, seven losses) 102.6 per cent
Is there a more flakey team in the competition? The Eagles get the vote here for the hardest team to predict from week to week, so how they’ll go against the Pies next week is anyone’s guess. At least it’s at Etihad where they’ve won two of three this year. West Coast’s fate for 2017 is unlikely to be clear until the final fortnight of the season.

The run home
Rd 18: Collingwood (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 19: Brisbane Lions (Domain Stadium)
Rd 20: St Kilda (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 21: Carlton (Domain Stadium)
Rd 22: GWS (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 23: Adelaide (Domain Stadium) 

9. St Kilda

36 points (nine wins, seven losses), 99.4 per cent
From the penthouse to the outhouse for the Sainters in just six days and they face a daunting fortnight on the road to recapture some form. They have lost nine of their past 10 against the Swans and haven't won at the SCG since 2009. Then they travel to Adelaide to play Port at Adelaide Oval, where they have a 0-7 record. The Saints cannot afford to look past that.

The run home
Rd 18: Sydney (SCG)
Rd 19: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 20: West Coast (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 21: Melbourne (MCG)
Rd 22: North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 23: Richmond (MCG)

10. Essendon

32 points (eight wins, eight losses) 108.5 per cent
There might not be a more aesthetically pleasing side than the Bombers and the combination of their pace and imposing spine could take them deep into September. The caveat of course is that every time we get excited by a team they drop the next one – witness Richmond and the Saints the last two weeks. With just one interstate trip remaining, the Bombers are on track to play finals.

The run home
Rd 18: North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 19: Western Bulldogs (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 20: Carlton (MCG)
Rd 21: Adelaide (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 22: Gold Coast (Metricon Stadium)
Rd 23: Fremantle (Etihad Stadium)

11. Western Bulldogs

32 points (eight wins, eight losses) 94.2 per cent
Still on the outside looking in, but still alive after an untidy win over Carlton. The Dogs have two trips to Queensland in the next three weeks and simply have to take care of business both times to stay in the finals hunt. The intervening clash with Essendon may play a large part in deciding their September fate.

The run home
Rd 18: Gold Coast (Cazalys Stadium)
Rd 19: Essendon (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 20: Brisbane Lions (Gabba)
Rd 21: GWS (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 22: Port Adelaide (Eureka Stadium)
Rd 23: Hawthorn (Etihad Stadium) 

Lewis Young gets up there on debut ✈️ #AFLBluesDogs

12. Fremantle

28 points (seven wins, eight losses) 80.6 per cent
This would be a good time for the Dockers to do something about their awful record against Hawthorn, which includes 10 defeats from their last 11 meetings. It’s at home on Saturday night, which helps a bit. But they almost have to win out from here and when you kick five goals at home on a good day for footy, the suggestion here is that they won’t.

The run home
Rd 18: Hawthorn (Domain Stadium)
Rd 19: GWS (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 20: Gold Coast (Domain Stadium)
Rd 21: Sydney (SCG)
Rd 22: Richmond (Domain Stadium)
Rd 23: Essendon (Etihad Stadium)

13. Hawthorn

26 points (six weeks, nine losses, one draw), 84.4 per cent
When asked about Hawthorn’s finals hopes after the three-point loss to Geelong on Saturday, coach Alastair Clarkson shrugged his shoulders and said, "Who cares?". They’re now a mathematical hope only of playing finals but given their form of late against three of the flag favourites, they won't be an easy out for anyone from here.

The run home
Rd 18: Fremantle (Domain Stadium)
Rd 19: Sydney (MCG)
Rd 20: Richmond (MCG)
Rd 21: North Melbourne (University of Tasmania Stadium)
Rd 22: Carlton (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 23: Western Bulldogs (Etihad Stadium)