AFL Round 4 power rankings

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This round was an interesting one as the wheat began separating itself from the chaff, where early-season form began looking less like a mirage and more a pattern. Read on in my power rankings for season 2021 below.

18. North Melbourne

(No change)

The most obvious selection for the most obvious reasons. The Roos are still winless, but they are not bereft of hope. They kicked their highest score of the year in 68. Jaidyn Stephenson has continued to show development in the inside midfield role. The latest loss has resulted in in their percentage increasing, which is something, but they have been deprived of good footy for the first month of the year.

17. Collingwood

(-7)

The Magpies are a club nearing the precipice of a drastic rebuild after some of the asinine and nonsensical list management decisions they’ve made over the past few years. Their coach is too stubborn, they have too many players over 30 and they still overpay their players. They were insipid against a winless Giants outfit and, while they were only beaten by 30 points, it felt like a lot more. Two coaches in the AFL era have won their first premiership after five years, Damien Hardwick and Mark Williams. If Collingwood put up any more performances like that then Bucks will not win a premiership.

16. Hawthorn

(-3)

The Hawks travelled to Perth to find an enraged if inaccurate Fremantle side. Hawthorn were unable to parlay their disposal dominance into a win, they were up 84 in disposals but down 17 in inside 50s. They controlled the ball but they did not have it in dangerous positions. This loss has left this author with questions around the overall sustainability of their list development.

15. Gold Coast Suns

(-3)

The Gold Coast story is a litany of injuries. They were deprived of their talismanic ruckman this week and they do not have any able replacements instead being forced to take Chris Burgess and Caleb Graham as their ruck rotations against a much bigger and heavier Marc Pittonet. However, that was always going to be a concern.

What would worry Stuart Dew the most was the repeated butchering of the ball coming out of their defensive 50, resulting in 81 turnovers. Jack Lukosius and Darcy Macpherson, in particular, butchered the ball going at 54 per cent disposal efficiency for the evening while their outside back men also struggled with Jack Bowes having the highest disposal efficiency rating with 86 per cent. All around, it was a disheartening performance from the Suns this week, and one that sees them tumble down the rankings.

14. GWS Giants

(+2)

The parochial Bombers supporter in me wants to really rub it in Collingwood’s faces for such a meek performance, but to do so would detract from the Giants. Toby Greene led from the front with five goals in a best on ground display, while he was ably assisted by human wrecking ball Shane Mumford and workhorse Callan Ward. The Giants were able to cast off the aspersions of the previous week and build tension for the Battle of the Bridge this week.

13. St Kilda

(+4)

A week is a long time in footy. That is what the win by the bold Saints reveals for them. While I have them reasonably low, as they need to show a pattern of being able to put in strong performances week after week, I don’t think many people would’ve predicted a St Kilda win (unless you’re me of course).

The win was built off of pressure and running in numbers as the fandangled Fox footy pressure gauge had them at well over 200 points. While this performance was a confidence-building win, the Saints need to show something more as they will be travelling more in the latter half of the year.

(Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

12. Essendon

(+2)

I would love to have my beloved Bombers higher, and if they had scored just four more points I would have. The Bombers have had one of the biggest reversals of fortune over the past two weeks, first obliterating the lazy and insipid Saints before going down to a heavily-fancied Swans side in Sydney. Much has been said of the last four games being decided by less than a goal, but in actuality the Swans should have won by more were it not for the inaccuracy they had in front of goal.

11. Brisbane Lions

(-4)

Brisbane needed to show something in Ballarat in the blustery conditions but they failed to do so. Their game style of working your way systematically down the wings is not working, and their clearance domination has been hampered by what appears to be a back injury to Lachie Neale.

Their only win has come against an exceptionally poor Collingwood side and, if they are to be considered any threat, they will need to put the Bombers to the sword at the Gabba this week. That being said, there are bright spots, particularly the performance of Eric Hipwood – who appears to be relishing the reduced pressure of being second fiddle to Joey Daniher. The Lions just need more contribution from their small forwards and a little more luck with injury.

10. Fremantle

(+5)

Fremantle were a pre-season favourite to jump up the ladder and you can see why. They have a young side built on a solid draft haul over the past few years, with some wiley veterans like David Mundy and Nat Fyfe. Much will be made of Fyfe’s inaccuracy in front of goal, of bigger concern to my mind is the disparity between their performances in West Australia vs their performances elsewhere. If they wish to quieten criticism, they will beat Adelaide in South Australia but, given the red hot form of the Texan, I am skeptical.

9. Carlton

(+2)

Carlton were able to get the win, but it was unconvincing. When your ruckman has seven centimetres on Caleb Graham and 11 centimetres on Chris Burgess, you’d hope that would translate into an around the ground domination. But the dewy and damp conditions nullified the form of Harry McKay, and the tall heavy forward line of Carlton. Despite that, Liam Jones (13), Sam Dochety (eight), and Sam Petrevski Seaton (nine) were able to have a field day intercepting the ball up the ground and sending it back into the 50 for repeat forward entries. That being said, if Carlton want to be taken seriously they need to convert their chances – an inaccurate nine goals, 16 behinds the final result.

8. Adelaide Crows

(+1)

I don’t think even the most parochial of fans would have predicted Adelaide to be 3-1 after four rounds. The Crows have built their game style on pressure and kicking it to Tex. While the Crows have had the advantage of a comparatively easy fixture you can only win the games that are in front of you. The Crows absorbed the best pressure the North Melbourne side could bring and exerted their dominance in the last quarter.

Taylor Walker of the Crows kicks the ball

(Photo by James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

7. West Coast Eagles

(-4)

West Coast were up by as much as 33 points in the third quarter on Saturday against the Saints, and they lost by 20 points to a suddenly and surprisingly frenetic St Kilda outfit. While the Eagles have the excuse of injuries to key players like Elliot Yeo and Luke Shuey, the performance in the absence of their parochial supporter base away from Perth has raised numerous questions of the premiership hopefuls.

6. Geelong Cats

(-1)

Geelong are in a world of hurt at the moment. They’ve sold out their future in the name of contending now but, in the absence of their prized key forward recruit in Jeremy Cameron and their firebrand midfielder in Patrick Dangerfield, their performances have left a lot to be desired. The Cats need to string together some better performances against solid opposition or they will be heading into the quagmire and ignominy of mid-table anonymity without a core of youthful players with which to rebound.

5. Richmond

(-1)

I’ve switched the Tigers and Port Adelaide. Richmond were able to push the Power right to the death but fell agonisingly short. There was still a lot to like about the hard-edged performance, which showed Richmond are no less Richmond-y where they are doing what is necessary to be thereabouts.

4. Port Adelaide

(+1)

Well that was certainly a turn around. Port Adelaide were able to push the reigning premiers built on the back of their clearances, their young guns and the cool head of Robbie Gray. To turn around their fortunes in such a way does bode well for their future in this season, however injuries to Xavier Durusma, and Zac Butters will leave them deprived of two of their best young talents, so it remains to be seen whether Port will continue their good run with form this year.

Orazio Fantasia of the Power is congratulated by Darcy Byrne-Jones

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

3. Sydney Swans

(-1)

The only reason they have dropped a rank is they should have won by more. The scoring shots drastically favoured the Swans, but the Bombers were able to clog up the corridor and prevent easy access to their key forwards. Dane Rampe and Isaac Heeney are also out, challenging the depth of the Swans going forward. But if they are to continue at the same rate then they will be in the top four.

2. Melbourne

(+5)

The lid is well and truly off ladies and gentlemen. This Melbourne side have gone to their first 4-0 start since 1994, and will now seek to have their first 5-0 start to a season since 1990 when they come up against a Hawthorn side bereft of confidence. In particular, the resilience to keep Tom Hawkins quiet when your best defender goes off with a fractured eye socket was exceptional and plaudits ought to be paid to the undersized Adam Tomlinson, while Jake Lever ably played the role of general leading his side to a strong win against a pre-season premiership fancy. I think the Hawthorn game shapes as a potential danger game given the Hawks are coming off of a loss and will be eager to perform in front of their local crowds.

1. Western Bulldogs

(No change)
By a country mile we have the unflappable Western Bulldogs. They have shown an ability to get things done in all climates since the start of the year. Their 81 tackles for the game and 13 inside their forward 50 revealed a side that can do it easy on the outside and grit their teeth and grind out a win on the outside.

In particular, Tim English is shaping as one of the best ruckman this year with three goals from 17 touches in blustery cold conditions in Ballarat. Adam Treloar is also showing his wares with an additional 29 disposals, five clearances and ten tackles in a performance revealing exactly what Collingwood are missing.

he Bulldogs are still yet to bring in their prized pick 1 in Jamarra Ugle-Hagan yet with Josh Bruce, Aaron Naughton, and English all ably representing the key forward department. The Bulldogs are becoming a terrifying prospect all around where I believe that they will beat more than the Kangaroos by 100 points this year.

So there you have in folks, thanks for reading I will see you next week.

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