It’s been renowned as the closest season in years. As we edge closer to the finish line, the arms race is becoming clearer.
The top eight is finally taking shape. Instead of deciphering who can win the premiership, it’s easier to work out who can’t.
Brisbane are the lone wolf that have been anchored at the bottom of the ladder all season. North Melbourne haven’t been much higher as they endure their rebuild.
Carlton and Collingwood officially join the list of non-contenders after losing on the weekend. Gold Coast and Hawthorn are inconsistent and should have their sights set on the future.
Fremantle and Essendon are both much improved from last season, where they occupied the bottom two places on the ladder. They still have plenty of work to do before they can be considered contenders.
West Coast have been patchy this season, dropping their ‘flat track bullies’ tag to being all-round mediocre. The Western Bulldogs are a shadow of their 2016 premiership self. They’ve lost their hunger, aggression and electric ball movement.
Upwards from there, it’s anyone’s game. While the Bulldogs did the unthinkable last year, claiming a top four spot is crucial for any genuine premiership aspire. The clock is ticking as we learn who will sink and who will swim.