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The Run Home after Round 14, predicted ladder, top eight, finals, ladder predictor, analysis, fixture

With the bye rounds done and dusted, we can see September on the horizon. There’s just nine rounds left of the 2022 season – so who’s playing finals?

This is The Run Home, where Foxfooty.com.au analyses every club’s remaining fixture and tries to predict how the rest of the year will play out.

Which teams could take advantage of an easy draw to climb the ladder, and which clubs could tumble down the table based on a tough run of games?

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How does the Run Home work?

The below projections predict each game on a percentage chance basis, and then use those odds to give each team a projected win total.

For example, we might say two teams have a 50 per cent chance each of winning a very even game. So they’d each get 0.5 projected wins for their total. That’s why almost all teams have a projection that’s not a round number.

It’s all about probability, and it’s more accurate than trying to tip wins and losses, because no-one can tip nine every round.

It also means the predicted win totals are naturally conservative at the top (no team is predicted to go better than 6-3 from here), and optimistic at the bottom (no team is predicted to go worse than 2-7).

In reality, outliers going 8-1 or 1-8 will exist. Think of the projected win totals as the average result if you played the season out 100 times.

Roughead lines up for Gormandale | 01:34

PROJECTED WEEK 1 OF FINALS

First Qualifying Final (1st hosts 4th): Brisbane Lions vs Geelong Cats at the Gabba

First Elimination Final (5th hosts 8th): Carlton vs Collingwood at the MCG

Second Elimination Final (6th hosts 7th): Sydney Swans vs Richmond at the SCG

Second Qualifying Final (2nd hosts 3rd): Melbourne vs Fremantle at the MCG

PROJECTED FINAL LADDER

1. Brisbane Lions (15.45 projected wins)

2. Melbourne (15.05)

3. Fremantle (15)

4. Geelong Cats (14.7)

5. Carlton (13.6)

6. Sydney Swans (13.5)

7. Richmond (13.35)

8. Collingwood (12.7)

9. St Kilda (12.65)

10. Western Bulldogs (11.9)

11. Gold Coast Suns (11.85)

12. Port Adelaide (10.55)

13. Hawthorn (8.3)

14. Adelaide Crows (8)

15. GWS Giants (7.8)

16. Essendon (6.85)

17. North Melbourne (3.4)

18. West Coast Eagles (3.25)

Below, all 18 clubs are listed and analysed in the current ladder order.

Historic chance of playing finals from current record is calculated using data from the 1995-2019 seasons.

Remaining fixture difficulty is calculated using the average percentage of remaining opponents. This naturally advantages teams with a strong percentage themselves (because they can’t play themselves) and vice versa, but is a basic metric of how tough the remaining fixture is.

“De Goey is not showing common sense” | 03:50

1. BRISBANE LIONS (10-3, 134.2%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Melbourne at the MCG

Round 16: Western Bulldogs at the Gabba

Round 17: Essendon at the Gabba

Round 18: GWS Giants at Manuka Oval

Round 19: Gold Coast Suns at the Gabba

Round 20: Richmond at the MCG

Round 21: Carlton at the Gabba

Round 22: St Kilda at Marvel Stadium

Round 23: Melbourne at the Gabba

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 97%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 3rd-hardest

We have the Lions finishing on top, but it’s incredibly close – with them, Melbourne and Fremantle all within 0.4 wins, the best way to put it is that Brisbane is our slight favourite to finish first. But if they go 0-2 in their two games against the Demons, that’d clearly change.

In Brisbane’s favour is their clear home ground advantage. They play five games at the Gabba in their last nine, compared to Melbourne’s three at the MCG (and Melbourne has lost three straight there anyway), and Fremantle’s four at Optus Stadium.

Those home games where they’re clear favourites give them the edge in our projections because they have a few more very likely wins (70% or better), as compared to just likely wins.

If any team can get to 17 wins, a top-two finish should be theirs (a few teams finished third on percentage with 17 wins last decade, but it’s uncommon), so keep that ‘7-2 from here’ mark in mind for our top three. Hit it and they’re almost certainly hosting a qualifying final.

Fox Footy’s projection: 15.45 projected wins, finishing 1st

Having lost three in a row, the Demons are at real risk of missing the top two and a home qualifying final. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

2. MELBOURNE (10-3, 134%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Brisbane Lions at the MCG

Round 16: Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval

Round 17: Geelong Cats at GMHBA Stadium

Round 18: Port Adelaide at TIO Traeger Park

Round 19: Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium

Round 20: Fremantle at Optus Stadium

Round 21: Collingwood at the MCG

Round 22: Carlton at the MCG

Round 23: Brisbane Lions at the Gabba

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 97%

Remaining fixture difficulty: Hardest

The Demons’ three consecutive losses have seen them fall from top-two sure things into potentially being forced interstate in the first week of finals – which would be a major swing to their premiership chances.

Whether you think they can get to 16 or 17 wins is dependent on how think about their current form. If you reckon they can recover with Steven May back in the side and fix their ailing attack, then they should be fine.

But this fixture is bloody hard. Their easiest game left is Adelaide in Adelaide – which they lost last year. They’ve got three games left against the Lions and Dockers alone, plus Geelong away, plus Collingwood again, plus they’ll finally play Carlton for the first time all year. If they haven’t fixed what’s ailing them over the bye, then they’re in trouble.

We think Melbourne will be better after the bye, and as long as they don’t drop all of their games against Brisbane and Fremantle, the top two is reachable.

But even Melbourne at its best would drop a couple of games against this fixture. The current version? They’re not even a lock for the top four.

Fox Footy’s projection: 15.05 projected wins, finishing 2nd

How long do Tiger greats go? | 02:02

3. FREMANTLE (10-3, 128.5%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Carlton at Marvel Stadium

Round 16: Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium

Round 17: St Kilda at Marvel Stadium

Round 18: Sydney Swans at Optus Stadium

Round 19: Richmond at Marvel Stadium

Round 20: Melbourne at Optus Stadium

Round 21: Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium

Round 22: West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium

Round 23: GWS Giants at Manuka Oval

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 97%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 8th-hardest

As we said in the Brisbane capsule, the current top three is extremely close, so we wouldn’t read too much into Fremantle being third. Specific game results, particularly Melbourne’s two games against Brisbane and one against Fremantle, are likely to decide their finishing order.

You may rate them more highly than us, but even if you’re fully on board the Flagmantle train, their fixture is still difficult (if not as difficult as Melbourne’s or Brisbane’s). So they face the same problem of needing to win a bunch of 55-45 or 60-40 (at best) games.

The Derby should be easy, but you’re looking at a trip to Canberra to face the Giants – never easy – or Port Adelaide at home as their next-easiest game. And then it’s a bunch of games against contenders, including continued trips back-and-forth to Melbourne to face four sides fighting for their own spots in the eight.

Listen, we’re excited for a really dramatic run home, but it’s making it very hard to accurately predict who’ll finish where. Let’s put it this way – if the Dockers win their last four at home, and then just pinch one or two in Melbourne, they should be top-two bound.

Fox Footy’s projection: 15 projected wins, finishing 3rd

The Dockers are on a roll, but the fixture doesn’t ease up from here. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

4. GEELONG CATS (9-4, 127.7%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Richmond at the MCG

Round 16: North Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium

Round 17: Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium

Round 18: Carlton at the MCG

Round 19: Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval

Round 20: Western Bulldogs at GMHBA Stadium

Round 21: St Kilda at GMHBA Stadium

Round 22: Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium

Round 23: West Coast Eagles at GMHBA Stadium

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 97%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 9th-easiest

With a win and percentage’s advantage over the chasing pack, Carlton excepted, the Cats are the standout contenders for fourth. Remarkably it would be their 13th top-four finish in 16 years.

Of course, anyone who saw these Cats against West Coast knows they’re not locks for the top four, because their midfield just isn’t performing as it should be.

Still, Geelong has the advantages of a fixture back-loaded with home games – they play more times at Kardinia Park over the season’s last eight weeks than over the first 15.

We actually have the Cats as slight favourites in every game left on their fixture; if they’re going to stumble, it’d be in the next month, with tricky MCG games against Richmond and Carlton, plus Melbourne’s first visit to the Cattery since that comeback late last year.

But every contender is going to stumble at some point over the last nine weeks, because pretty much everyone has a tough draw, so the Cats’ advantages should be enough to send them into a qualifying final. Again.

Fox Footy’s projection: 14.7 projected wins, finishing 4th

Hawkins kicks 700th goal in Cats win | 02:26

5. CARLTON (9-4, 112.3%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Fremantle at Marvel Stadium

Round 16: St Kilda at Marvel Stadium

Round 17: West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium

Round 18: Geelong Cats at the MCG

Round 19: GWS Giants at Marvel Stadium

Round 20: Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval

Round 21: Brisbane Lions at the Gabba

Round 22: Melbourne at the MCG

Round 23: Collingwood at the MCG

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 97%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 7th-hardest

Those ‘historic chance of playing finals’ numbers would be getting Carlton fans excited but this isn’t a normal season, and the reality is the Blues are only one win and a small amount of percentage inside the eight. It’s tight.

They should be OK, with that extra one win under the belts making up for having a harder fixture than some of the teams below them, Richmond and Sydney in particular. Those two teams and the Blues are all projected around the same win total, so percentage may be critical there.

If their injury crisis gets any worse – or just sustains, really – the Blues could get knocked about a bit in the next month. They should be fine getting to 12 wins, with games left against West Coast, GWS and Adelaide, but none of their other games are simple.

The top four is gettable, especially if they beat Geelong in Round 18; like pretty much every top eight side, it’s games like that which’ll decide the finals order.

Fox Footy’s projection: 13.6 projected wins, finishing 5th

Tigers roll into 8 as Blues battle on | 02:52

6. RICHMOND (8-5, 117.8%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Geelong Cats at the MCG

Round 16: West Coast Eagles at the MCG

Round 17: Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium

Round 18: North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium

Round 19: Fremantle at Marvel Stadium

Round 20: Brisbane Lions at the MCG

Round 21: Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval

Round 22: Hawthorn at the MCG

Round 23: Essendon at the MCG

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 79%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 4th-easiest

Here come the Tigers, with six wins from their last seven games, and every chance they’ll make that nine from 11 at the very least.

With six games left against bottom 10 sides, it’d be a surprise if Damien Hardwick’s men didn’t reach that 13-win mark that looks like the minimum to play finals in 2022.

Really, they could be dreaming of a top-four berth, as they get Geelong, Fremantle and Brisbane all in Melbourne making those games quite a bit easier.

A 15-win season is within reach, if the Tigers continue to play at their recent level. And in particular if they beat Geelong, that’s likely to be enough for the double chance.

Fox Footy’s projection: 13.35 projected wins, finishing 7th

Disrespectful or good theatre? | 01:34

7. SYDNEY SWANS (8-5, 115.1%)

Remaining games

Round 15: St Kilda at the SCG

Round 16: Essendon at the MCG

Round 17: Western Bulldogs at the SCG

Round 18: Fremantle at Optus Stadium

Round 19: Adelaide Crows at the SCG

Round 20: GWS Giants at the SCG

Round 21: North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium

Round 22: Collingwood at the SCG

Round 23: St Kilda at Marvel Stadium

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 79%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 6th-easiest

Despite their stumble against Port Adelaide – which isn’t as big of a stumble as the ladder suggests – we’re quite confident the Swans will survive the battle royale to make the eight.

That’s thanks to their fixture, which includes five home games and four meetings with bottom-six sides.

Combined, we have Sydney favoured in seven of their last nine matches, with only games away to Fremantle and a should-be-healthy-by-then St Kilda looking especially tricky.

In fact if they can fully capitalise on their fixture the Swans could make a run at the top four, but at the very least they should be hoping for a home elimination final, almost certainly forcing a Victorian side up north. And they’ve only lost one final in NSW against an interstate team since 2004.

Fox Footy’s projection: 13.5 projected wins, finishing 6th

St Kilda’s shock loss to Essendon could cost them a finals spot. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

8. ST KILDA (8-5, 113.3%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Sydney Swans at the SCG

Round 16: Carlton at Marvel Stadium

Round 17: Fremantle at Marvel Stadium

Round 18: Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium

Round 19: West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium

Round 20: Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium

Round 21: Geelong Cats at GMHBA Stadium

Round 22: Brisbane Lions at Marvel Stadium

Round 23: Sydney Swans at Marvel Stadium

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 79%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 4th-hardest

Uh oh.

Suddenly the Saints are in the thick of the top-eight race. And the problem is, of the four eight-win teams, they clearly have the most difficult fixture.

So while we think St Kilda at its best can challenge for the top four, their current run of injuries combined with Friday night’s shock loss to Essendon have put them behind the eight-ball. They need to find form, and quickly, with four very loseable games over the next month.

The brief respite against West Coast and Hawthorn is then followed by a tough three-game stretch to end the season.

It’s very rare for a team to miss the finals on 12 wins, but it’s never happened for a 13-win team, so you need to consider this year a race to 13. Can the Saints get there?

Well, if they beat the Eagles and Hawks (no sure things), they still need three wins against the Swans (x2), Blues, Dockers, Bulldogs, Cats and Lions. And to stay ahead of teams on percentage, in case everyone else gets to 13 too. Not easy.

Because of their fixture, we have them ninth on projected wins. If they can match Collingwood’s win total they may stay above them on percentage, but point is, the win projection shows it’ll be harder for them to get to 13 anyway.

Fox Footy’s projection: 12.65 projected wins, finishing 9th

‘Supposed to be playing for a contract!’ | 05:38

9. COLLINGWOOD (8-5, 105.4%)

Remaining games

Round 15: GWS Giants at the MCG

Round 16: Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium

Round 17: North Melbourne at the MCG

Round 18: Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval

Round 19: Essendon at the MCG

Round 20: Port Adelaide at the MCG

Round 21: Melbourne at the MCG

Round 22: Sydney Swans at the SCG

Round 23: Carlton at the MCG

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 79%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 5th-easiest

The Magpies’ run of brilliant wins over the past five weeks have propelled them into the finals conversation, and this next five weeks should keep them there.

It won’t be easy but there’s a real chance Collingwood reaches 13 wins before August, with all six of their upcoming games winnable. We have them favourites in five – just win those, and they’re probably home, because no team has ever missed the top eight with 13 wins.

But as we see every single week, being favourite does not mean you’re guaranteed to win. If St Kilda can lose to Essendon, Collingwood certainly can, for example. So the Magpies still need to keep this run of form going.

A finals berth would be an incredible achievement for Craig McRae’s side, coming from 17th to September. But coming 17th last year deserves some credit for this rise.

After all, by finishing that low on the ladder, they earned second games against Gold Coast, Adelaide and Essendon. (By comparison, St Kilda got Brisbane, Fremantle, Geelong and Sydney twice.)

Fox Footy’s projection: 12.7 projected wins, finishing 8th

De Goey’s nightclub antics in Bali | 00:37

10. WESTERN BULLDOGS (7-6, 118.6%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium

Round 16: Brisbane Lions at the Gabba

Round 17: Sydney Swans at the SCG

Round 18: St Kilda at Marvel Stadium

Round 19: Melbourne at Marvel Stadium

Round 20: Geelong Cats at GMHBA Stadium

Round 21: Fremantle at Marvel Stadium

Round 22: GWS Giants at Marvel Stadium

Round 23: Hawthorn at UTAS Stadium

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 57%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 2nd-hardest

Let’s try and explain the Bulldogs’ problem like this: we really rate them. We don’t have them worse than 40% to win any remaining game… and it’s still tough to get them to 12 wins, never mind 13.

This last weekend helped, but they still need multiple teams to fall over – St Kilda because of injuries/form like Friday night? Carlton or Collingwood slide? Melbourne never regains its form?! – so it’s very hard to get the numbers to work for the Bulldogs to play finals.

In effect, they need to play like a flag contender just to make the eight, with beating the Hawks twice and Giants again non-negotiables.

From there they’d need to go at least 3-3 against the Lions (away), Swans (away), Saints, Dees, Cats (away) and Dockers. Possible, yes. Likely? Maybe not.

Look – they’ve only lost to two teams outside the top eight. Adelaide by a point, well, they should’ve won that but everyone has bad days. Port Adelaide in Adelaide is a legitimately tough game as Sydney just discovered, so that’s not a disgraceful loss.

The Bulldogs are good. Their fixture has just been ridiculously tough, and they haven’t played at their best all season – which we suspect will cost them a September berth. But if they get there, watch out.

Fox Footy’s projection: 11.9 projected wins, finishing 10th

Bailey Dale re-signs with Bulldogs | 00:43

11. GOLD COAST SUNS (7-6, 111.6%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval

Round 16: Collingwood at Metricon Stadium

Round 17: Richmond at Metricon Stadium

Round 18: Essendon at Marvel Stadium

Round 19: Brisbane Lions at the Gabba

Round 20: West Coast Eagles at Metricon Stadium

Round 21: Hawthorn at UTAS Stadium

Round 22: Geelong Cats at Metricon Stadium

Round 23: North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 57%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 3rd-easiest

If the Suns had just recorded what should be their best-ever season one year earlier, they could’ve played finals. A 12-win team with a percentage in the 110s would’ve safely made it in 2021.

Instead, amid the toughest race for the eight in years, if we squint we can see Gold Coast sneaking their way to 12 wins… but 13 seems too hard.

They’ve got four games left against the bottom six, so if they can win all of those – no sure thing – that’s 11. Then it’d be about stopping a contender or two at home, with Collingwood, Richmond and Geelong all visiting Metricon Stadium.

Keep in mind the Suns, who’ve only played four true home games this year, beat Fremantle and Carlton there, while putting a real scare into Melbourne and playing Brisbane closer than the margin suggests. They’ve been genuinely good at home.

Beating both Collingwood and Richmond would be massive, because those would be wins over direct ladder rivals, swinging the race for the eight. But if they can’t do that – or say, upset the Power on the road this week – then we just can’t see them making the eight.

Which is a shame, because it’d be an incredible story, but at least there’s some real positivity around this club for once.

Fox Footy’s projection: 11.85 projected wins, finishing 11th

Ladham lands CHEAP late shots | 00:34

12. PORT ADELAIDE (6-7, 105.3%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Gold Coast Suns at Adelaide Oval

Round 16: Fremantle at Optus Stadium

Round 17: GWS Giants at Adelaide Oval

Round 18: Melbourne at TIO Traeger Park

Round 19: Geelong Cats at Adelaide Oval

Round 20: Collingwood at the MCG

Round 21: Richmond at Adelaide Oval

Round 22: Essendon at Marvel Stadium

Round 23: Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 30%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 6th-hardest

Saturday’s win over Sydney keeps Port Adelaide in the finals hunt, if only just.

They’re still going to need to win at least six, and probably seven, of their last nine games which is a pace more akin to a flag contender. And at no point this year have the Power looked like a flag contender.

On the plus side, they get the Suns, Giants, Cats and Tigers at home. Win all of those games, plus take care of the Bombers and Crows in the last fortnight, and that’s your 12 wins.

But even that feels a bit optimistic, and they’d probably need a 13th too (Collingwood?). The margin for error here is incredibly slim.

Fox Footy’s projection: 10.55 projected wins, finishing 12th

Port power past Swans! | 01:57

13. GWS GIANTS (4-9, 91.1%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Collingwood at the MCG

Round 16: Hawthorn at Giants Stadium

Round 17: Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval

Round 18: Brisbane Lions at Manuka Oval

Round 19: Carlton at Marvel Stadium

Round 20: Sydney Swans at the SCG

Round 21: Essendon at Giants Stadium

Round 22: Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium

Round 23: Fremantle at Manuka Oval

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 3%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 5th-hardest

This isn’t 2021, so the Giants aren’t sneaking into the eight with 11 and a half wins – but is this year’s team really that much worse than last year’s? Over the last month, with two comfortable wins and two valiant losses to contenders, they’ve been very competitive.

We suspect that’ll continue over the rest of the season but with nine losses on the board, they would realistically have to win out to play finals.

That won’t happen, but they’ll play spoiler a couple of times, with potential to really harm the finals campaigns of the Magpies and Power in the next few weeks, plus cruel the Blues, Swans and Dogs’ bids at the top four/eight. Plus Freo can’t treat Round 23 as a dead rubber.

We have them 15th on the final ladder but that’s all about their fixture being a lot harder than Adelaide’s and Hawthorn’s. The Giants are definitely better than the Crows for example, but the Crows still have three games left against West Coast and North.

Fox Footy’s projection: 7.8 projected wins, finishing 15th

14. HAWTHORN (4-9, 87.5%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium

Round 16: GWS Giants at Giants Stadium

Round 17: Adelaide Crows at Marvel Stadium

Round 18: West Coast Eagles at the MCG

Round 19: North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena

Round 20: St Kilda at Marvel Stadium

Round 21: Gold Coast Suns at UTAS Stadium

Round 22: Richmond at the MCG

Round 23: Western Bulldogs at UTAS Stadium

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 3%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 2nd-easiest

With nine losses at this point of the season, you’re realistically done, but the Hawks are going to hang around in the ‘well, they’re not technically out of the race…’ section of this column for a while longer.

One more loss will basically seal their fate but we can already tell over the next five weeks we’ll be unable to move them into the Eliminated section, because they’ve got games against three of the four teams below them, plus ladder neighbours GWS. They’re good enough to be 8-10 heading into the season’s final month.

And the fact some of their better performances of the season have come against top teams – getting close to Fremantle (away) and Melbourne, beating Brisbane and Geelong – mean they could feasibly win any of their remaining games.

They’re just too inconsistent to actually win them all, though.

Fox Footy’s projection: 8.3 projected wins, finishing 13th

GRAPHIC: Powell’s season over | 00:43

15. ADELAIDE CROWS (4-9, 80.1%)

Remaining games

Round 15: North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena

Round 16: Melbourne at Adelaide Oval

Round 17: Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium

Round 18: Collingwood at Adelaide Oval

Round 19: Sydney Swans at the SCG

Round 20: Carlton at Adelaide Oval

Round 21: West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium

Round 22: North Melbourne at Adelaide Oval

Round 23: Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 3%

Remaining fixture difficulty: Easiest

Our numbers say the Crows have the easiest fixture left in the AFL – essentially because they play North Melbourne twice and West Coast once over the last nine weeks.

They should be favoured in those three games (depending on whether the Eagles keep improving as we saw against Geelong), and they’re good enough to pinch another… but you look at their other games one-by-one, and it’s hard to figure out which would be their eighth win. We’ll see.

Fox Footy’s projection: 8 projected wins, finishing 14th

Stringer, Rutten ok despite verbal spray | 02:08

16. ESSENDON (3-10, 77.5%)

Remaining games

Round 15: West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium

Round 16: Sydney Swans at the MCG

Round 17: Brisbane Lions at the Gabba

Round 18: Gold Coast Suns at Marvel Stadium

Round 19: Collingwood at the MCG

Round 20: North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium

Round 21: GWS Giants at Giants Stadium

Round 22: Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium

Round 23: Richmond at the MCG

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 5%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 7th-easiest

Friday night’s upset of St Kilda was a big win for the ‘see, Essendon isn’t completely terrible’ campaign we’ve been waging for most of the year, but more to the point, it shows that they’re not a complete easybeat over the remaining nine weeks.

With just three games left against the current top eight, this is a pretty kind run, especially compared to the way they started the year.

Sequencing often impacts how we perceive a team – we might be going into next year saying how Essendon improved in the second half of the season, but that could simply be their fixture getting easier. Just keep that in mind early next year.

The only impact they will have on the finals from here is recording more upsets.

Fox Footy’s projection: 6.85 projected wins, finishing 16th

Bombers bounce back with big Saints win | 02:44

17. NORTH MELBOURNE (1-12, 52.3%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Adelaide Crows at Blundstone Arena

Round 16: Geelong Cats at GMHBA Stadium

Round 17: Collingwood at the MCG

Round 18: Richmond at Marvel Stadium

Round 19: Hawthorn at Blundstone Arena

Round 20: Essendon at Marvel Stadium

Round 21: Sydney Swans at Marvel Stadium

Round 22: Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval

Round 23: Gold Coast Suns at Marvel Stadium

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 0%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 8th-easiest

The Kangaroos could go unbeaten from here and they’d probably still be three wins out of the eight. They’re not playing finals, clearly, and the only question is whether they can pinch a game against someone like Adelaide, and avoid a percentage race with West Coast for last.

(In the same way that the projections are conservative at the top end, they’re generous at the bottom end, which is why the Roos have two more projected wins. We’re not brave enough to tell you which two games they’d win; this is just how the system works when you’re giving a team roughly a 25% chance every week.)

Fox Footy’s projection: 3.4 projected wins, finishing 17th

Watts advises Horne-Francis to leave | 00:49

18. WEST COAST EAGLES (1-12, 52.2%)

Remaining games

Round 15: Essendon at Optus Stadium

Round 16: Richmond at the MCG

Round 17: Carlton at Optus Stadium

Round 18: Hawthorn at the MCG

Round 19: St Kilda at Optus Stadium

Round 20: Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Stadium

Round 21: Adelaide Crows at Optus Stadium

Round 22: Fremantle at Optus Stadium

Round 23: Geelong Cats at GMHBA Stadium

Historic chance of playing finals from current record: 0%

Remaining fixture difficulty: 9th-hardest

The Eagles probably need to win at least one more game to avoid the wooden spoon, and they don’t play North Melbourne again. Adelaide at home shapes as their best chance, though the way they played against Geelong, maybe the Bombers should be scared too?

(In the same way that the projections are conservative at the top end, they’re generous at the bottom end, which is why the Eagles have two more projected wins. We’re not brave enough to tell you which two games they’d win; this is just how the system works when you’re giving a team roughly a 25% chance every week.)

Fox Footy’s projection: 3.25 projected wins, finishing 18th

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