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The run home: Round 22

Ashley Browne, AFL Media  August 14, 2017 9:45 AM

AFL 2017 Round 21 - Essendon v Adelaide

Adelaide sealed a top-two spot with Saturday night's win over Essendon

1. Adelaide

62 points (15 wins, four losses, 1 draw) 142.1 per cent
The Crows are safely ensconced in the top two and two home finals are all but assured. But Don Pyke could not ask for a better tune-up on the eve of the finals against the white-hot Swans. It is the match-up between the two in-form teams in the competition and truth be told, the two best teams in the competition. Order a pizza and stock the fridge. It will be great viewing.

The run home
Rd 22: Sydney (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 23: West Coast (Domain Stadium)

2. Greater Western Sydney

56 points (13 wins, five losses, two draws) 117.7 per cent
First things first for the Giants is West Coast at home next Saturday. The Eagles beat them there last year, so that should prevent the Giants from looking too far ahead. But the Geelong game in a fortnight, shapes as huge, with the winner likely to finish second and earn two home finals. They'll need all their big guns available for that one, so fingers will be crossed that Toby Greene beats the MRP rap.

The run home
Rd 22: West Coast (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 23: Geelong (Simonds Stadium)

3. Geelong

54 points (13 wins, six losses, one draw) 115.4 per cent
See above. The Cats have lost their last three to Collingwood, so this Saturday afternoon at the MCG has to be their focus before they can turn to the monstrous Giants game at home to follow, and with all that will be riding on it.

The run home
Rd 22: Collingwood (MCG)
Rd 23: GWS (Simonds Stadium) 

The Cats-Giants clash is shaping as a battle for second spot. Picture: AFL Photos
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4. Richmond

52 points (13 wins, seven losses), 110.5 per cent
The Tigers should be able to successfully negotiate the final two games of the season and earn themselves a double chance. But boy, how must they regret those three straight losses from rounds seven to nine – all by less than a goal – that kept them from likely finishing in the top two.

The run home
Rd 22: Fremantle (Domain Stadium)
Rd 23: St Kilda (MCG)

5. Sydney

48 points (12 wins, eight losses) 123.6 per cent
It would take an unlikely Richmond stumble from here and the Swans to win out for them to finish in the top four, but how good will Friday night be at Adelaide Oval? The premiership credentials of both the Crows and Swans will be tested here. The main question mark over the Swans from here is how many petrol tickets are remaining following their 0-6 start to the year.

The run home
Rd 22: Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 23: Carlton (SCG) 

6. Port Adelaide

48 points (12 wins, eight losses) 123.2 per cent
The win over Collingwood on Sunday evening wasn't entirely convincing, but it did the job and the Power can now book themselves a finals berth. The next step is to book themselves a home elimination final, which they should earn by knocking over lowly Gold Coast at home in round 23. Win both games and they could yet finish in the top four if the Tigers somehow stumble from here.

The run home
Rd 22: Western Bulldogs (Eureka Stadium)
Rd 23: Gold Coast (Adelaide Oval)

7. Melbourne

44 points (11 wins, nine losses) 106.0 per cent
Huge win for the Demons, perhaps their most important of the season given the context. Take care of business from here and they should play finals for the first time in 11 years because they have a handy percentage break over the Western Bulldogs. They'll enjoy wrapping up a finals berth against Collingwood in round 23 if that what it comes to.

The run home
Rd 22: Brisbane Lions (MCG)
Rd 23: Collingwood (MCG)

8. West Coast

44 points (11 wins, nine losses) 105.7 per cent
Went to sleep for a quarter against the Blues, who fortunately for West Coast, were not quite good enough to make them pay. Closing out the season against the top two teams represents a huge jump in class for the Eagles and they’ll need to play significantly better than they have. But they beat the Giants in Sydney last year and also knocked over the Crows in the final round of 2016, so there is a precedent. As their coach says, don't count them out.

The run home
Rd 22: GWS (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 23: Adelaide (Domain Stadium)  



9. Western Bulldogs

44 points (11 wins, nine losses) 98.3 per cent

Swings and roundabouts for the Dogs. The home ground advantage they give up next week by hosting Port Adelaide at Ballarat next Saturday, they get back in round 23 when they 'visit' the Hawks at Etihad Stadium. Chances are the Dogs will make the finals if they win both games from here, but what they don't want is for West Coast and Melbourne to win both their last two and for Port to win its final game. They could yet miss out after all.

The run home
Rd 22: Port Adelaide (Eureka Stadium)
Rd 23: Hawthorn (Etihad Stadium)

10. Essendon

40 points (10 wins, 10 losses) 104.5 per cent
The Bombers must win their last two games to stay in the finals hunt but the good news is that they close out the season against what might be the two worst-performed teams of the second half of the season. Not only should the Bombers win, they might yet garner some much-needed percentage. The bad news is they need to rely on other results to sneak into the top eight.

The run home
Rd 22: Gold Coast (Metricon Stadium)
Rd 23: Fremantle (Etihad Stadium) 

The Dons need other results to fall their way to make the finas. Picture: AFL Photos
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11. St Kilda

40 points (10 wins, 10 losses) 96.1 per cent
The Saints have all but blown it for 2017. They need to win both from here and hope that those immediately above them lose both. We can see the Saints beating lowly North Melbourne next week, but Richmond at the MCG to finish will be difficult. The post-mortems will be interesting. Have the Saints improved on last year's 12-win season?

The run home
Rd 22: North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 23: Richmond (MCG)

12. Hawthorn

38 points (nine wins, 10 losses, 1 draw) 89.8 per cent
They're not dead after all. If the Hawks win their last two, the Dogs and Eagles lose their last two and Essendon and St Kilda each lose one of their remaining games, Hawthorn would make it. The clash with the Bulldogs in round 23 could yet be more than Luke Hodge's farewell game. Don't book a rare September holiday just yet, Hawthorn supporters.