AFL Power Rankings Round 14: Cats and Dogs rise up

With Round 14 of the 2022 AFL season in the books, the bye rounds are now over, with most teams looking ahead to the run home in the second half of the season.

See how your team did in this week's edition of the Edge of the Crowd's Power Rankings.

Last week's rankings are in italics. Most bye teams remain unchanged.

1. Fremantle (1)

On a bye this week, the Dockers' ranking did not change.

2. Melbourne (2)

On a bye this week, the Demons' ranking did not change.

3. Brisbane (3)

On a bye this week, the Lions' ranking did not change.

4. Geelong (5)

In recent seasons, coming off the bye has seen Geelong become notorious for suffering a defeat, but that didn't happen this time around. Although the Chris Scott's side would've felt a little nervous at various points of their 18-point win over West Coast at Optus Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Geelong had a big five-goal-to-two third quarter to give the team a much-needed edge after the halftime scores were level, with the side getting inside the forward half easily, which lead to becoming more efficient once the ball was inside their attacking 50. Rhys Stanley and Mark Blicavs combined for 40 hit outs, which ensured the midfield unit was able to get first use of the ball to launch forward.

Cam Guthrie was the major ball winner for the Cats, collecting 25 disposals along with a game and career-high 13 tackles. Joel Selwood (24 disposals, seven clearances) and Tom Atkins (24 disposals) were also prolific with ball in hand.

Tyson Stengle and Tom Hawkins led the way in the forward line with three goals each, the latter becoming a member of the 700-goal club with his major in the third term. Sam Menegola kicked two goals for the Cats as he had an equal team-high eight score involvements, along with Stengle and Jeremy Cameron.

5. St Kilda (4)

The Saints had a hole blown in their momentum, and their season, with a surprising loss to the Bombers. After being stunned in the first half, the Saints came out with a fierce start in the second half, racking up five unanswered goals to bring the scores level at the time. However, despite these showings of dominance, the Saints ran out of gas and coughed up six unanswered goals as the term was coming to an end, unable to maintain the momentum to push for a win, undoing all the hard work to have gotten back into the game.

St Kilda was outplayed and outclassed at the most vital moments of the eventual 35-point loss at Marvel Stadium on Friday night, by use of the handball game, efficiency, and in winning the contested ball as the side was forced into turnovers at multiple stages. After throwing Tim Membrey behind the ball, the Saints struggled to generate attacking momentum and were unable to enter the forward 50 with any effectiveness in a concerning sign for coach Brett Ratten.

Jack Sinclair fought hard for his 31 disposals while having eight intercept possessions, while Jade Gresham (28 disposals, game-high seven inside 50s, equal team-high four tackles) attempted to drag the Saints over the line and had a starring role while Brad Hill (26 disposals, team-high 10 marks) also contributed well to the side.

Gresham was prolific on the scoreboard too, drifting forward to kick three goals - including two in the last quarter, meanwhile, Jack Higgins and Jack Billings kicked two each.

6. Sydney

Sydney went down to Port Adelaide in a shock 23-point loss at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon, as the side was challenged from the outset, falling away with a four-goal-to-one third quarter but it was in the middle and around the ball where Sydney lost its edge.

The Swans allowed their opponents to dominate the stoppages and get first use of the ball, and had few answers when the ball ended up in the backline, playing behind the man at certain points, leading to the Power getting greater looks at scoring.

Callum Mills played his part in gathering 27 touches though spent most of his time in the defensive end whereas Luke Parker had 26 disposals, with Sydney's next-best disposal-getter being Chad Warner, who amassed 20 possesions.

On the goal-front, Isaac Heeney was Sydney's only multiple goalkicker, scoring four majors for the match, while Mills, Lance Franklin, Will Hayward, and Peter Ladhams each kicked one goal.

7. Western Bulldogs

The Western Bulldogs had a goal-fest of a game against GWS on Saturday night at GIANTS Stadium, coming away with a 20-point win in a high-scoring affair. The Bulldogs came out blazing in the second half en route to the victory, as they proved to be making the most of their opportunities with the ball, and through forward entries.

Even without Bailey Smith, the Bulldogs were getting first use of the ball through the likes of Tom Liberatore and Marcus Bontempelli, while Tim English was doing both the ruck work with 34 hitouts and roving his own work, gaining 10 clearances.

Jackson Macrae had 37 touches for the Bulldogs, along with nine tackles and an equal-team-high 10 score involvements, while Adam Treloar (31 disposals), Bontempelli (28 disposals), Josh Dunkley (27 disposals), and Liberatore (26 disposals) all had big games in the midfield.

Aaron Naughton shot into fifth place in the Coleman Medal standings with a five-goal haul. Cody Weightman continued his recent form in front of goal with a five-goal showing also - with each coming in the first half -, as well as having kicked the first two goals of the match while Rhylee West had two first-quarter goals.

8. Carlton

The Blues stumbled again at the MCG on Thursday night, when placed under pressure by a roaring Tigers outfit. Carlton fought valiantly, though went down by 15 points, although it wasn't helped by a goalless first term and being down by 34 points midway through the second quarter, unable to bring the margin back down by enough.

When the Blues utilised the run and carry with a handpass-heavy game, it helped give them some much-needed time and space to get out of the defensive end and use the corridor of the ground. They fought hard late as they came back against the Tigers, with Adam Saad superb behind the ball (25 disposals, 11 intercepts), but it was going forward where the Blues had the most trouble.

Sam Walsh and 150-gamer Patrick Cripps found the ball with ease, collecting 34 disposals each while Sam Docherty was a stalwart down back with 31 touches, 11 marks, 10 rebounds, and nine intercept possessions.

Harry McKay continued his stellar year, adding another four goals - including three in the fourth quarter - to his season tally while Coleman Medal leader Charlie Curnow could only manage one major, as did Lachie O'Brien, George Hewitt, Corey Durdin and Jack Martin.

The Blues will also be left to count the cost of the loss, as Saad (eye), Sam Durdin (knee) and Jack Martin (leg) all joined an already-extensive casualty ward at Princes Park.

9. Gold Coast (9)

Gold Coast had a strong showing at home against Adelaide, winning by 43 points at Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Kicking away with an 11-goal second half (and eight-goal final term) to set up the win, the Suns are on a three-game win streak as a maiden finals berth still beckons for the side.

The Suns dominated going inside 50 and created plenty of scoring chances, converting well on the scoreboard. The team used every available bit of space on their home deck to play around the Crows and it worked with their pressure and intensity lifting as the game went on.

Noah Anderson amassed 28 touches for the Suns, gathering the ball at the stoppages (six clearances) to launch forward (11 inside 50s). Co-captain Touk Miller (24 disposals), David Swallow (21 disposals), and Ben Ainsworth (20 disposals) were among the team's major ball winners. Matt Rowell had a game-high 11 tackles for the second game in a row.

Ainsworth was one of four Gold Coast players to kick three goals for the match, along with Izak Rankine, Levi Casboult, and Mabior Chol in a true showcase of the mixture of young and experienced talent shining through. Sam Flanders and Nick Holman kicked a couple of goals each, while Joel Jeffrey and Alex Davies kicked one goal each.

10. Richmond (10)

The Tigers are on their way back, as they come into premiership contention after a strong couple of months. A tight loss to the Swans and a bye were the only two weeks out of the last seven that they haven't banked four points, after a slow start to the season.

In the wet, the Tigers were back to their frenetic best, as they hassled, paddled and surged the play forward, making the most of their team speed in the wet conditions. They leapt out of the blocks, kicking the first six goals of the match to set the Blues a huge task at the MCG on Thursday night, coming away 15-point victors.

Over the course of the match, the Tigers dominated the number of times they were able to get the ball inside their 50, with the game largely being played in their attacking half of the ground. The tackling and constant pressure and one-percenters were influential in ensuring a late Blues fightback was held off.

Dion Prestia was enormous for the Tigers, collecting 33 disposals and 13 clearances while the defensive trio of Liam Baker, Jayden Short, and Nick Vlastuin had 27, 25, and 24 disposals, respectively. Jack Graham had a game-high 10 tackles while Toby Nankervis and Jack Riewoldt had five tackles each.

Tom Lynch found the middle of the goals three times in his return from a hamstring injury while Shai Bolton and Riewoldt kicked two apiece and singles went to Noah Balta, Shane Edwards, Marlion Pickett, and Daniel Rioli.

11. GWS (11)

It was a high-scoring contest at GIANTS Stadium where GWS hosted the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night, however, the home side couldn't get the job done, going down by 20 points. The Giants kept on the heels of the Bulldogs up until the midway point of the third quarter and despite a late comeback, fell short.

As well as it being a goal-fest, it was also an event encounter with the Bulldogs, with the efficiency inside 50 the only thing preventing the Giants from getting closer towards a win, and giving up too much of the ball through turnovers, which the Bulldogs pounced on.

Stephen Coniglio and Tom Green each had 32 possessions with the latter having a team-high eight clearances. Lachie Whitefield played a rotating defender-midfielder role and finished with 30 disposals.

Toby Greene kicked seven goals in a losing side that included three majors in the first quarter alone, in a game that also included 14 score involvements, eight inside 50s and three contested marks. Jesse Hogan kicked three goals, while Jake Riccardi and Coniglio got on the scoreboard multiple times also.

12. Collingwood (12)

On a bye this week, the Magpies' ranking did not change.

13. Port Adelaide (13)

Port Adelaide continued its up-and-down season with a surprising victory against Sydney at Adelaide Oval on Saturday afternoon, rounding out 23-point winners. The Power was slick with the ball and were more efficient than their opponents, which lead to the victory, even with a goalless final quarter.

Port Adelaide was effective at winning the ball at crucial stoppages and held onto the ball and remained in control at the most opportune times to ensure Sydney didn't have any easy possession of their own. When the Power went forward, they found targets - and the scoreboard - and if not, kept the ball locked into the forward 50 through a high amount of pressure and tackles.

Brownlow Medallist Ollie Wines lead the way for Port Adelaide, finishing up with 34 touches and 10 clearances, while Karl Amon had 31 disposals. Riley Bonner spent much of his time on the wing where he was able to gather 27 disposals, with a game-high nine marks, whereas Sam Powell-Pepper was the game's top tackler with six.

In front of the goals, Todd Marshall kicked four majors including two in the first quarter, as well as eight marks while fellow key forward Charlie Dixon secured two goals as Port Adelaide's only other multiple goalkicker.

14. Adelaide (14)

Following the first quarter in which they held a one-goal lead, the Crows couldn't keep up with the pace of the Suns from that point at Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon, going down by 43 points. While Adelaide had a similar amount of chances going forward and used the ball better, the side was on the back foot, allowing Gold Coast to get greater looks at the unfolding plays.

The Crows were great defensively, holding onto their tackles, and trying to limit the speed at which the Suns demonstrated they could use the ball, however, a lack of possessions around the ground meant the Crows were confined to play a game where their movement was condensed and unable to move freely.

Rory Laird had the most disposals for the match with 42 touches, going at 81 per cent efficiency with six tackles and five clearances, whereas Jordan Dawson and Matt Crouch both finished with over 30 disposals, the latter sticking an equal team-high seven tackles in the process.

Darcy Fogarty was the only multiple goalscorer for Adelaide, with singles coming from eight different players, including defender Will Hamill kicking his first goal at the AFL level.

15. Essendon (16)

The Bombers only won two games before the bye, but the way they started the match against the Saints, you would have thought they were the top four contenders. Essendon broke a four-game losing streak with a 35-point win against St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Friday night. Despite a scare when the Saints drew level in the third term after piling on five unanswered goals, the Bombers responded well and ran out the game to record their first victory in over a month.

The Bombers were the better team defensively winning the tackle count, which was evident in the forward 50 as well, but overall were effective with the ball and on the scoreboard, and in keeping the ball off their opponents through spoils, intercepts, follow-up efforts to win the ball, or general ball movement.

In a pleasing sign for the Bombers, the midfield worked together to cover Darcy Parish's absence due to injury, while midseason draftee Massimo D'Ambrosio looked at home in his debut, with 15 touches. Mason Redman had a career-high 31 disposals in a contest where he took a game-high 11 marks, while Zach Merrett (26 disposals, seven tackles), Nick Hind (25 disposals), and Dylan Shiel (25 disposals, seven clearances) were big for the Bombers also.

In his 100th game, Peter Wright, after being goalless in his last three outings, kicked four goals for the Bombers that including two in the last quarter, as he was assisted by Jake Stringer, and Harrison Jones, Sam Draper, and Matt Guelfi who all kicked two goals each.

Ben Hobbs was nominated as the Rising Star this week on the back of his strong performance - 22 disposals, five marks, eight score involvements -, as the Bombers look to set the tone for the second half of the season.

16. Hawthorn (15)

On a bye this week, the Hawks' ranking fell as a result of the Bombers' rise.

17. West Coast (18)

West Coast was competitive against Geelong at Optus Stadium on Saturday afternoon, going down by 18 points - the club's second-lowest losing margin of the season. Although the Cats clawed their way to a near-four-goal lead in the second quarter, the Eagles came back to have the scores level going into the main break. However, a three-goal buffer at the final change couldn't be cut, even if the Eagles had their chances.

With Tim Kelly a late out, West Coast was kept steady by Andrew Gaff (27 disposals), Jack Redden (24 disposals, seven tackles, six clearances), and Elliot Yeo (22 disposals, nine marks). Coming in for his first game of the season after a long-term ankle injury, Dom Sheed collected 20 disposals throughout the midfield.

Josh Kennedy, Jake Waterman, and Jamie Cripps kicked two goals each while Jack Petruccelle, Connor West, and Willie Rioli all chipped in with one goal for the Eagles.

18. North Melbourne (17)

On a bye this week, the Kangaroos' ranking fell as a result of the Eagles' rise.