The full 2020 schedule is now known; who will be the 8 finalists in six weeks? Quitting season is upon us, making the draw vitally important. Expect to see some lopsided results as teams dreaming of a premiership run beat up on teams counting down the matches until they return home from their hub.
1st - Port Adelaide - 36 points, 127.5%. Hawthorn (H), Sydney (H), Bye, North (Metricon), Essendon (H), Collingwood (Away, TBC).
It's a brilliant run home for the league leaders; an out of sorts Collingwood the only top-eight team to feature. A fairly safe bet to finish as minor premiers, Port should take plenty of momentum into the final series. Despite last weeks thumping at the hands of Geelong, they remain in an ideal position. 1st
2nd - Brisbane - 36 points, 118.3%. St Kilda (H), Melbourne (Darwin), Collingwood (H), Gold Coast (H), Sydney (Cairns), Carlton (H).
Challenging fixtures await the Lions over the final six weeks of the season. Yet, they'll start comfortable favourites in all of these. St Kilda, Melbourne, and Collingwood will all relish the chance to take a shot at one of most consistent teams in the league.
Given the nature of 2020, expect the Lions to slip up somewhere along the way. With that being said, they'll still find themselves in the top four, and likely the top two if they only slip up the once to conclude the season. 3rd
3rd - Geelong - 32 points, 138.5%. Adelaide (Adelaide Oval), Bulldogs (Metricon), Bye, Essendon (Gabba), Richmond (Metricon), Sydney (away TBC).
Losing just one of their last five - away to West Coast no less - the Cats are in a rich vein of form. Whilst some testing times await in the form of the Bulldogs and Richmond, Geelong should find themselves safely in the top four come Round 18. Already holding an impressive percentage, games against Adelaide, Essendon, and Sydney will only serve to boost this. As such, any slip-ups from above will see the Cats finish in the top two. It is just about the perfect run home for a team with premiership aspirations. With a bye, three fixtures that should be easy wins, and two games against quality opponents, the Cats should arrive fresh, and primed for finals footy. 2nd
4th - West Coast - 32 points, 121.1%. GWS (H), Richmond (Metricon), Essendon (Gabba), Western Bulldogs (Metricon), St Kilda (Gabba), North Melbourne (Away TBC).
Rolling towards a top-four finish, back at home in the West, life has been good for the Eagles. All that is about to change. Struggling in their early-season hub, West Coast will return to Queensland to finish off their season. Whilst they looked despondent last time around, surely this experienced list, so close to the end of its premiership window, will find a way to handle hub life better second time around.
Adding further pressure to the Eagles; fixturing has not been kind. Kicking off against a GWS outfit keen to respond this week, the Eagles will face difficult matches against Richmond, the Bulldogs and St Kilda whilst in Queensland. 6th
5th - St Kilda - 32 points, 115.8%. Brisbane (Gabba), Melbourne (Darwin), Bye, Hawthorn (Metricon), West Coast (Gabba), GWS (Away TBC).
The Saints are marching again, slaughtering Essendon to restore the percentage which had taken a battering at the hands of Geelong. Tough times await though. With Richmond breathing down their necks, the Saints face tough challenges against Brisbane, Melbourne, West Coast and GWS to finish their season.
Whilst producing some brilliant football at times - big wins against Richmond and Port being the pick of these - they have produced some stinkers as well. Will they be able to find the consistency needed over the final six weeks to secure a top-four finish. 5th
6th - Richmond - 30 points, 119%. Essendon (Darwin), West Coast (Metricon), Fremantle (Metricon), Bye, Geelong (Metricon), Adelaide (Away TBC).
Whilst they've been prone to the odd poor performance like all teams this year; Richmond's momentum is trending in the right direction. Two points outside of the top four, their fixtures against West Coast and Geelong will go along way to settling the top four.
Essendon, Fremantle and Adelaide provide plenty of percentage boosting opportunity, their last round fixture against Adelaide being a very friendly end to the regular season. 4th
7th - Collingwood - 26 points, 104.9%. North Melbourne (Gabba), Carlton (Gabba), Brisbane (Gabba), Bye, Gold Coast (Gabba), Port Adelaide ( TBC).
The Gabba becomes a Collingwood home ground to finish the season. Excluding the last rounds TBC against Port, they play all of their remaining fixtures at the venue. Their last five games are as challenging as it comes. Defining their season, Carlton, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Port are all 50-50 games or tougher. 9th
8th - Melbourne - 24 points, 118.2%. Western Bulldogs (Metricon), St Kilda (Darwin), Sydney (Cairns), Fremantle (Cairns), GWS (Gabba), Essendon (TBC).
Not the toughest, not the easiest finish for the rapidly improving Demons. Playing in four cities to finish off; may prove to be an advantage, providing breaks from their hub life. On the field, challenges await against the Bulldogs, the Saints, and GWS. Potentially, their season-ending catch-up fixture against Essendon will decide their fate. 7th
9th - GWS - 24 points, 98.2%. West Coast (Optus Stadium), Fremantle (Optus Stadium), Carlton (Metricon), Adelaide (Adelaide Oval), Melbourne (Gabba), St Kilda (TBC).
Similar to Melbourne, the Giants have a middle of the road fixture to finish. Yet, serious questions must be asked of their ability to in fact handle this. Given the nature of their loss to Sydney last week, the Fremantle and Carlton games are two they simply must win. Take care of business against Adelaide; they'll need to take two from three against the currently more fancied West Coast, Melbourne and St Kilda. 11th
10th - Western Bulldogs - 24 points, 97.9%. Melbourne (Metricon), Geelong (Metricon), Bye, West Coast (Metricon), Hawthorn (Adelaide Oval), Fremantle (TBC).
Have the Bulldogs left themselves too much to do? Defining games against Melbourne and Geelong await in the next fortnight. Following their bye, their Round 16 match against the West Coast will be as close to a must-win as you get. Finishing with the Hawks and Fremantle, the Bulldogs might just have to be close enough with a fortnight to go. 10th
11th - Essendon - 22 points, 86.1%. Richmond (Darwin), Hawthorn (Adelaide Oval), West Coast (Gabba), Geelong (Gabba), Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval), Melbourne (TBC).
Cooked, it's hard to work out why we have included Essendon here. Probably, because they are in front of Carlton who are still a chance. With games against Richmond, West Coast, Geelong and Port - not to mention the rapidly improving Melbourne - Essendon is rank outsiders to sniff the eight now. At best, they'll win once more this year. 13th or lower.
12th - Carlton - 20 points, 95.5%. Gold Coast (Darwin), Collingwood (Gabba), GWS (Metricon), Sydney (Metricon), Adelaide (Metricon), Brisbane (Away - TBC).
Whilst starting in a less than ideal position, Carlton holds its destiny in its own hands. Playing fixtures against fellow finalist contenders the Gold Coast, Collingwood and GWS give it everything to play for.
Potentially, wins against the Gold Coast and Collingwood in the next fortnight would allow for one slip up along the way. Their final round draw against the Brisbane is a possible blessing as well, could the Lions rest some stars with a top-two berth sewn up? 8th
13th - Gold Coast -18 points, 100.9%.
Grand final week for the Sun's, if they beat Carlton we'll do an article next week looking at their finals hopes.
14th - Fremantle - 16 points, 88.3%.
15th - Sydney - 16 points, 84.8%.
16th - Hawthorn - 16 points, 82.5%.
17th - North Melbourne - 12 points, 83.1%.
18th - Adelaide - 0 points, 54.7%
Needs help from the three-eyed raven.