AFL Power Rankings: Round 16 - Rising Saints and falling Swans

As the season tilts towards September, some sides are rising and others are falling around the AFL.

Catch up on this week's edition of Edge of the Crowd's Power Rankings.

Last week's rankings are in brackets.

1. Melbourne (1)

Last year when the Demons travelled to Adelaide it was their first loss of the season breaking their nine-game win streak to the start of the season. This time, the Demons got over the Crows by 29 points at Adelaide Oval in the Saturday twilight spot.

There were worrying signs for Melbourne heading into the match. Luke Jackson was a late out for the Demons, and already with their co-captain and first-choice ruckman Max Gawn out, Mitch Brown came in as their third ruckman. The Demons were too strong around the football however for the Crows on the day.

Like every other week midfield duo Clayton Oliver (36 disposals, 13 tackles) and Christian Petracca (33 disposals, three goals) were too strong in the midfield. Ed Langdon too was superb with 33 disposals on the wing.

Petracca had the most goals for the match with three on the board. Ben Brown and Mitch Brown were the only other multiple goal scorers for the Demons with two each.

The win puts Melbourne a game clear on the ladder with only seven matches until the end of the home and away season. The Demons are up against the Cats at GMHBA Stadium in their next match, likely to be a blockbuster match and an important potential win for the Demons.

2. Geelong (3)

Patrick Dangerfield's goal within the opening seconds of the game was just the start of Geelong's thumping over North Melbourne. The Cats hosted the Kangaroos at GMHBA on Saturday night to win by 112 points.

Although the Cats only lead at the first quarter by four points, they went on to kick 18 goals to North Melbourne's two after that point. The Cats had a whopping 49 more inside 50s, and never showed any signs of slowing down.

Believe it or not Jeremy Cameron (30 disposals, four goals, 10 marks) had the equal-most disposals for the Cats, having a day out. Mitch Duncan (30 disposals, 14 marks) destroyed in his 250 game milestone, alongside Cam Guthrie (29 disposals, seven tackles, five clearances).

Tom Hawkins' score defeated North Melbourne alone, as he was busy up forward with a very handy six goals and shows no signs of slowing down turning 34 in a few weeks. Alongside Cameron's four goals was Tyson Stengle, Brad Close, and Quinton Narkle with two goals a piece.

Geelong have a chance to go to the top of the ladder next round when it takes on Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium. If there is the chance the Cats lose, they could be pushed out of the top four with only a few rounds before the finals begin.

3. Fremantle (2)

The Dockers have survived a scare after their close encounter with the Power. Fremantle hosted Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium in the final Sunday twilight slot of the round to get over the line by eight points.

The Dockers lead for most of the match however were lucky with the Power missing two shots for goal within the last minutes. The only key difference between the two sides was how dominant Sean Darcy was in the ruck where he won hitouts 51-22 against the Power having no key ruck.

Unlikely duo James Aish (29 disposals, eight marks) and Jordan Clark (29 disposals, six marks) lead the Dockers for equal-most touches. Andrew Brayshaw continued his dominance with 27 disposals, 11 tackles, and five clearances.

Rory Lobb kicked a massive five goals for the Dockers, and showed how damaging he can be up forward with Darcy in the ruck. Matt Taberner and Lachie Schultz joined Aish with two each.

The Dockers are sitting handy in the top four with a win separating them from fifth place. Although Fremantle's next three matches are St Kilda, Sydney, and Richmond, they all loom as massive matches which the side need to win to stay in the top four.

4. Brisbane (4)

After last weeks disappointing thumping at the hands of the Demons, the Lions responded against the Bulldogs with a convincing win. Brisbane hosted the Western Bulldogs at the Gabba to start the round on Thursday night to get over the line by 41 points.

The talking point has not been the Lions response but more the controversial bump by Eric Hipwood, pushing Ryan Gardner into an umpire. However, even after being sent straight to the tribunal and the AFL wanting a two-game suspension, the tall forward will be free to play next weekend in a positive sign for the club.

Lachie Neale continued his amazing season with an equal high 33 disposals, seven tackles, and six clearances. Hugh McCluggage too was impactful with 26 disposals, seven tackles and three clearances.

Charlie Cameron was electric with four goals straight to his name. Joining him was 100-gamer Jarrod Berry, Joe Daniher, and Lincoln McCarthy all kicking two each.

The Lions have continued their season of surprises, they host the Bombers in Brisbane in their next match. This is not a match Brisbane should take lightly with Essendon in hot form beating St Kilda and Sydney in recent weeks.

5. St Kilda (8)

St Kilda responded after their poor performance last week with a much-needed win over Carlton. The Saints beat the Blues by 15 points at Marvel Stadium on Friday night, and suddenly their season is worth playing for.

The Saints lead every quarter against the Blues, although it was always a tight contest. The Saints lost the free kick count 9-21, but it did not matter however as they looked dangerous all over the ground.

Jack Sinclair continues to be having a breakout season as he finished the match with 37 disposals and eleven marks, not to mention 24 of those being within the first half. Brad Hill was a massive addition back nto the side for the Saints with 27 disposals.

Tall forwards Tim Membrey (four goals, five marks) and Max King (three goals, seven marks) contributed for seven goals between the pair. Dan Butler, Jack Higgins, and Paddy Ryder also kicked two each, along Jack Steele's single major.

This win was much needed for the Saints. Before this win they had lost their past three matches. St Kilda host Fremantle at Marvel Stadium this Saturday night which they must win if they want to play finals.

6. Collingwood (9)

The Magpies held on to a nail biting win over the Suns on Saturday night at Metricon Stadium. Collingwood got the job done by five points, and the result came down to the final seconds of the match.

The Magpies' biggest talking point is the injury of Darcy Moore which happened in the final minutes of the final quarter. It is not a good sign for fans as Moore is very injury prone, however the injury appears not to be long term although his spot out of the team could weaken the Magpies' defence.

Nick Daicos (37 disposals, eight rebound 50s) continued his amazing debut season and would be the favourite for the Rising Star after his amazing performance. Steele Sidebottom was amazing in the midfield as well with 27 disposals and five tackles.

Jack Ginnivan and Josh Daicos were dominant up forward with three goals straight each, the two being the only multiple goal kickers for the Magpies as Oliver Henry, Brody Mihocek, and Will Hoskin-Elliott also kicked a single.

The Magpies have won their past six matches and are now sitting sixth only one game outside the top four. They are definitely a team many would not want to face in the next few weeks, and have a real chance of making finals.

7. Sydney (5)

Sydney would be in shock after its drop on the ladder the past few matches. The Swans travelled to the MCG to take on the Bombers on Saturday afternoon where they lost by nine points.

Sydney lead the inside 50 count 57 to Essendon's 49 but could not convert. The Swans had six more shots for goal over the Bombers, but inaccurate goal kicking cost them the match.

250-gamer Luke Parker (26 disposals, six tackles, and nine clearances) was amazing in the middle and provided for his team mates. Chad Warner (25 disposals, three goals, seven clearances) stepped up as well for the Swans.

Apart from Warner's three goals, Lance Franklin, Isaac Heeney and Sam Reid all kicked two to their name. Will Hayward, Tom Papley, and Callum Mills all kicked one.

The Swans have now lost two of their last three matches and next match they go head-to-head against the Bulldogs. Sydney must win this game to keep its momentum for the season going, and to ultimately play finals.

8. Carlton (6)

Carlton would be kicking themselves about their inaccurate goal kicking when the club hosted St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Friday night. The Blues went down to the Saints by 15 points and it has raised questions about where they sit.

The Blues were always in the match against the Saints however their inaccurate goal kicking was what made the difference in the results. The Blues had five extra scoring shots, and took seven extra marks inside 50.

Sam Walsh (33 disposals, six clearances) and Patrick Cripps (31 disposals, eight clearances) fought hard around the ball and worked hard to keep their side in the match. Adam Saad too provided plenty of run off the half back collecting 25 touches.

Jesse Motlop was amazing for the Blues up forward in only his fifth game in the AFL with three goals. Matthew Kennedy and Harry McKay kicked two goals, however Charlie Curnow kicked one goal and four behinds and could have made a big difference.

The Blues have now slipped to fifth place, a game out of the top four which would hurt with how tight the top eight is looking. The Blues have now lost three of their last five matches, and with a tough run home there is every chance they could miss the finals again.

9. Richmond (10)

The Tigers are back in the top eight with a nice win over the Eagles. Richmond hosted West Coast at the MCG where they got the job done by 35 points on Sunday afternoon.

After a close first quarter the Tigers came out in the second quarter to kick seven goals to the Eagles' three. Richmond were damaging on the scoreboard and were strong in their defence beating West Coast eight tackles inside 50 to its opponents' four.

Defenders Daniel Rioli (28 disposals, three clearances) and Nathan Broad (25 disposals, 11 marks) were solid in defence for the Tigers. Marlion Pickett too was superb in the midfield collecting 25 touches and five tackles.

Jack Riewoldt lead the Tigers with three goals with many goal kickers kicking multiple goals. Joining him was Liam Baker, Shai Bolton, Shane Edwards, Tom Lynch, Kamdyn McIntosh, and Pickett all kicking two each.

The Tigers are to now face the Suns who would be coming out hard as they are looking to join the finals race along with the Tigers. Richmond is looking comfortable with winning three of the last four matches.

10. Western Bulldogs (7)

The Bulldogs fought hard in the first half against the Lions, but it was not enough for them to continue the whole match. The Bulldogs went down by 41 points against the Lions at the Gabba on Thursday night.

The Bulldogs looked strong in the first half and also lead the inside 50 count heading into the forward half 57 to the Lions' 50. They too lead in clearances 44 to the Lions' 31, it would be the use of the footy that cost the Bulldogs.

Tom Liberatore was strong for the Bulldogs collecting 33 disposals, five tackle, and eight clearances. 200-gamer Jackson Macrae was consistent as always with 32 disposals, and a whopping 10 clearances to his name.

Aaron Naughton and Rhylee West were the only multiple goal kickers for the Bulldogs with two each to their name. Debutant Dominic Bedendo was amongst four other Bulldogs who kicked a goal.

The Bulldogs now sit outside the top eight by a win. It does not come any easier with Sydney, St Kilda, and Melbourne in the next three matches. The Bulldogs need to win against these top eight sides if they want to continue their finals run from last year.

11. Gold Coast (11)

Gold Coast would be in denial right now as he club have lost their past two matches by under a goal. The Suns hosted the Magpies at Metricon stadium on Saturday night where they went down by five points in a thrilling match between the two sides.

The Suns lead for half of the last quarter before the Magpies came home strong. The Suns had every opportunity including eight more inside 50s and 14 more clearances over the Magpies.

Touk Miller (31 disposals, 10 clearances, 10 clearances) was an absolute beast around the football with Noah Anderson (30 disposals, six clearances) just behind him.

Izak Rankine (four goals, 18 disposals) was dominant up forward for the Suns, and has asked the question whether he is the best small forward in the competition. Debutant Hewago Paul Oea kicked a much needed goal in his first game where Anderson and Levi Casboult kicked one each also.

There is every chance the Suns can bounce back in the next few weeks, however due to their injury list and the tough teams they still need to face, it is unlikely. Gold Coast sit 11th on the ladder two games outside the eight, and need to beat Richmond at the MCG if the club want to keep their season alive and book a maiden finals berth.

12. Port Adelaide (12)

After last weeks massive less-than-a-kick win over the Suns, the Power would be kicking themselves that they lost to the Dockers by eight points. The Power flew to Perth to play the Dockers at Optus Stadium on Sunday evening.

The Power would have been only a win outside of the top eight if a they had won. It would be a turn of events from their first five matches of the season they ended up losing. Port Adelaide competed all game with a side bound to be top four the end of the year.

Reigning Brownlow Medallist Ollie Wines (39 disposals, five clearances) and Travis Boak (32 disposals, four tackles) actually were the dominant midfielders over the Dockers. Jase Burgoyne too was amazing in his first game collecting 17 disposals and five marks.

Charlie Dixon, Mitch Georgiades, and Connor Rozee all kicked two goals a piece for the Power. Dixon kicked his only two goals in the last quarter and kept the momentum for his side in the later stages.

The Power had a real opportunity to creep into the top eight. The Power are to host the Giants this week in Adelaide, however have tough matches against the Demons and the Cats in Melbourne coming up.

13. GWS Giants (13)

The Giants were not perturbed by the wet and wild conditions at Giants Stadium. In fact, Category B Rookie Callum Brown appeared right at home, which made sense, given his Irish background. Brown starred with four goals in the wet conditions, proving the difference between the Giants and the Hawks.

The Giants dominated territory early in the sloppy conditions, but they weren't able to capitalise early, and it took until the early part of the third term before the Giants were able to kick away.

The weather was no match for a Giants forward line that was as smooth as any match this season, considering the weather. Jesse Hogan and Jacob Wehr each kicked two goals, while with Brown's four, there was no reliance on Toby Greene to carry the offensive load for the home side.

As the rain fell, the Giants dominated the last term, but weren't able to spark anything on the scoreboard. The way the side finished should be a confidence booster for interim coach Mark McVeigh, and keeps the Giants' slim hopes of finals alive.

14. Essendon (15)

Essendon has responded from losing to las- placed West Coast last week to come out and beat Sydney by nine points. The Bombers hosted the Swans at the MCG for a thrilling match between the two sides.

Essendon looked strong around the footy leading the possession rate 380 to Sydney's 298. The Bombers also had eight more clearances over the Swans for a massive win for the club.

Captain Dyson Heppell (25 disposals, eight marks) and Nick Hind (25 disposals, seven marks) were huge holding up the backline. Massimo D'Ambrosio was massive in only his third game in the AFL collecting 23 touches and ended up receiving the Round 16 Rising Star nomination.

Zach Merrett was as damaging up forward as he is in the midfield kicking three goals to his name. Jake Stringer and Peter Wright kicked two goals each as the only other multiple goalscorers.

Essendon has charged to finish the home and away season strong. The test will be whether or not they will be able to knock off the Lions this week in Brisbane.

15. Adelaide (14)

Adelaide would have felt confident after only trailing by a point at half time to Melbourne, however the side just could not continue for the whole match. The Crows hosted the Demons at Adelaide Oval on Saturday evening, but went down by 29 points.

The Crows had a massive advantage with dominant ruck duo Max Gawn and Luke Jackson out. Riley O'Brien was up against Melbourne's third ruckman Mitch Brown, with the Crows winning the hitouts 57-13. The Crows too also had only six less inside 50s than the Demons, however their efficiency was at 37 per cent when inside 50.

Crow duo Rory Laird (32 disposals, nine tackles) and Ben Keays (30 disposals, six clearances) fought hard but could not keep up with Demons' midfield. Jordan Dawson too backed up his performance last week and finished with 30 disposals and 10 marks.

Keays and Taylor Walker were the Crows' only multiple goal scorers with two each whereas Dawson crept up the field to kick one as well.

Adelaide faces the challenge of playing Hawthorn away next week, a match which could see the side go down to 16th if Essendon pull an upset over Brisbane.

16. Hawthorn (16)

The Hawks were forced to wonder whether they needed to bring swimming costumes to the game, given the weather. It took almost half the first quarter before the Hawks even made it inside forward 50, but Connor MacDonald capitalised, and then momentum flowed.

From there, the Hawks kicked three of the next four goals to lead at the first break. After the break, the Hawks didn't have the same scoreboard impact, but Tom Mitchell did manage to contract leather poisoning, with 15 touches in the second term.

A late third-quarter goal from Dylan Moore kept the Hawks in touch going into the final break, but they were unable to capitalise and get any closer in the final quarter.

The loss keeps the Hawks firmly in 15th, and more than five wins outside the eight, virtually ending any hope of a finals campaign. It was also the end of Mitch Lewis' streak of 25 games straight with a goal.

17. West Coast (17)

The Eagles would be absolutely gut-wrenched that they lost to the Tigers. The Eagles played Richmond at the MCG on Sunday afternoon and went down by 35 points.

The Eagles, even though they lost by six goals, beat the Tigers in almost every area. The Eagles had more inside 50s, disposals, and clearances, however could not kick straight. The Eagles had the exact same scoring shots that the Tigers had.

The Eagles midfield was dominant all day lead by Tim Kelly (40 disposals, nine clearances) who was elite for the Eagles. Luke Shuey (26 disposals, 11 clearances) was also incredible.

Jamie Cripps kicked a massive three goals for the Eagles to try and keep them in the match. Kelly kicked two as well to back up his dominance as the only multiple goalscorers for the Eagles.

There is no doubt within the last two games the Eagles suddenly have a few of their players back and are firing again. They take on the Blues this week in Perth, which is looking to be a closer game than many may speculate.

18. North Melbourne (18)

Although the Kangaroos were competitive with the Cats up until the first quarter, the home side obliterated the Roos by 112 points at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday night.

Although North Melbourne was fairly equal with the amount of clearances won, it was its use of the footy that ultimately let the team down. The Kangaroos had a total of 75 turnovers for the match, and went inside 50 with a disposal efficiency of 28 per cent.

Luke Davies-Uniacke (36 disposals, seven clearances) continued performing the whole match despite his teams thumping. Jy Simpkin too stood up with 27 touches and seven tackles.

The Kangaroos only kicked five goals for the match, including two after the first quarter. Paul Curtis, Nick Larkey, Jack Mahony, Tristan Xerri, and Cameron Zurhaar managed to kick one goal each.

North Melbourne managed to get only 12 disposals within their inside 50 for the entire match. The Kangaroos have lost their last 11 matches by more than 40 points. The Kangaroos have a tough match against the Magpies this week.