The 2022 AFL home and away season has entered its final month, with the race for the final spots in the top eight heating up after the results from Round 20 keep things interesting.
Check out this week's edition of the Edge of the Crowd's Power Rankings.
Last week's rankings are in brackets.
1. Geelong (1)
Following a slow start, allowing the Bulldogs to score 26 points before they got on the scoreboard with a Brad Close behind, the Cats stormed home in the second half to run out 28-point victors at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday night.
In captain Joel Selwood's 350th game, Geelong had a 10-goal-to-three second half while limiting the Western Bulldogs' threat, holding its opponents to a goalless third term - and nine unanswered goals in the process.
Patrick Dangerfield starred for the home side with 26 disposals, seven clearances, six inside 50s, and a goal, with Isaac Smith (26 disposals, eight marks, nine score involvements) and Cam Guthrie (25 disposals, two goals) playing significant roles in the win.
Down forward, the Cats had five multiple goalscorers, with Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron, Tyson Stengle, Gary Rohan, and Guthrie each kicking two goals. Close looked threatening also, though he was wayward with one goal and three behinds.
2. Melbourne (3)
Melbourne travelled west to take on fellow top-four fancies Fremantle and came away with a 46-point win at Optus Stadium on Friday night, leading from the very start of the game to the end.
The Demons limited the Dockers to two goals in the first term and a single goal in each of the quarters that followed as they won more of the contested ball and, therefore, were able to go forward with ease, entering the attacking 50 20 more times than their opponents - and always finding targets inside the arc.
Jack Viney led the way for the Demons with 33 touches, while Christian Petracca had 30 possessions and a game-high ten score involvements. Angus Brayshaw collected 28 disposals and a game-high nine inside 50s.
Kysaiah Pickett and Bayley Fritsch each kicked three goals for Melbourne on the night, with Charlie Spargo being the only other multiple goalkickers with two majors. Jake Melksham threatened but couldn't convert, kicking one goal and three behinds.
3. Brisbane (2)
Brisbane's losing streak at the MCG continues, even after leading by as much as 42 points during the third quarter, going down to Richmond by seven points on Sunday afternoon. The Lions shot out of the blocks with a seven-goal-to-two opening term; however, in the second half, they became unravelled and overrun by the Tigers due to some costly mistakes and misses while kicking for goal.
The Lions were efficient in the stoppages, with Rhys Mathieson and Lachie Neale leading the way for their team. However, the turnovers and the Tigers' ability to intercept brought the Lions' downfall in this fixture.
Neale was electric for the Lions, racking up 31 touches and six centre clearances, while Keidean Coleman finished up with a career-high 30 disposals. Hugh McCluggage (26 disposals) and Dayne Zorko (25 disposals) each played pivotal roles for the Lions.
Eric Hipwood was the main target up forward and could've had more goals to his name had he converted better, finishing with three goals and four behinds. Joe Daniher scored three goals while Charlie Cameron and Lincoln McCarthy scored two.
4. Sydney (4)
Sydney hosted cross-town rivals Greater Western Sydney in the Battle of the Bridge on Saturday afternoon, coming away with a 73-point victory at the SCG. After giving up the game's first goal, the Swans marched forward soon after, taking the lead and never looking back.
The Swans kept the Giants goalless in both the second and fourth quarters, all the while kicking truly themselves, winning every quarter, and scoring over 100 points for the third time in the four weeks. The Swans had 117 more disposals, 33 more inside 50s, 24 more tackles, and took 42 more marks than their opponents, but it was the work inside 50 that allowed the Swans to be ruthless with 12 marks and 20 tackles inside 50, leaving plenty of opportunities to score.
Luke Parker won the Brett Kirk Medal as the best player in the match - the fifth time he's won the accolade. Parker had 34 disposals and an equal game-high six clearances as he found himself covering plenty of ground. Errol Gulden had a career-high 33 disposals, along with 12 marks, ten inside 50s, and two goals. James Rowbottom had a game-high 13 tackles, finishing with 23 disposals and a goal.
Isaac Heeney, Lance Franklin, and Sam Reid kicked three goals each, as Tom Papley and Gulden each kicked two majors.
5. Fremantle (5)
Fremantle hosted Melbourne on Friday night at Optus Stadium, but it wasn't the result Justin Longmuir's men would've hoped for, going down by 46 points. The Dockers could not get a look inside 50 and towards goal, kicking five goals for the match - the first quarter being the only quarter where they scored more than one goal.
While the Dockers had enough use of the football, they didn't have much possession where it mattered, with the ball in their defensive half for most of the game. With a kick-mark style of play, the Dockers tried their hardest to clear the ball from trouble but were often intercepted by hot Demons players around the contest who thrived on any turnovers.
David Mundy and Will Brodie both finished with 35 disposals, with the two the leading clearance-getters for the game with ten and seven, respectively. Andrew Brayshaw had 30 possessions and ten marks, while James Aish had 28 touches and a game-high nine tackles.
Michael Frederick and Michael Walters chipped in for two goals each, with Griffin Logue rounding out the list of goalkickers for Fremantle.
6. Collingwood (6)
Collingwood has won its 10th straight game, and it was another close result, picking up a six-point win in front of home fans at the MCG against Port Adelaide. The Magpies were able to withhold a fast-finishing Power outfit after having led by 24 points early in the fourth quarter.
The ruck combination of Darcy Cameron (26 hit outs) and Mason Cox (20 hit outs) allowed the Magpies to gain some advantage in the stoppages, entering inside 50 more than their opponents. However, Collingwood was beaten in almost every category, as, by the end of the game, the side was forced to hold onto possession, compared to Port Adelaide's desire to go quickly towards goal.
Josh Daicos had 26 touches for Collingwood, while Jordan De Goey (23 disposals, two goals) provided a spark at times with a combination of time in the middle and forward. Brayden Maynard, Nick Daicos, and Patrick Lipinksi finished with 21 disposals, while Scott Pendlebury had eight inside 50s and six clearances throughout his 16 disposals.
After going goalless last week, Jack Ginnivan bounced back in a big way with three goals, with Jamie Elliot, Will Hoskin-Elliot, and De Goey chipping in two goals each.
7. Carlton (7)
Carlton never looked likely to threaten Adelaide on Saturday night, going down by 29 points at Adelaide Oval. Leading at the first change, the Blues surrendered the lead as they failed to truly get out of first gear, with the Crows running away with the match.
The Blues could not generate use of the ball through the midfield into enough forward 50 entries as much of their possession was in the defensive end. Turnovers and a lack of intercepts brought the Crows into the game more as the minutes went by, with the Blues having to find other ways to generate momentum.
Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh lit up the night with 41 and 40 disposals, respectively, with the former having a game-high 13 clearances. Defenders Sam Docherty and Adam Saad held their own down back for the Blues and collected 32 and 26 disposals, respectively.
Charlie Curnow and Matthew Cottrell were Carlton's multiple goalscorers, kicking two majors each, while several small forwards worked around them.
8. Richmond (10)
Richmond was able to grind out a much-needed win at the MCG on Sunday afternoon, overcoming a 42-point deficit to prevail by seven points over Brisbane. A slow start saw the Tigers behind at every change before storming home in the final quarter with a four-goal-to-one term, gaining a lead for the first time at the 16-minute mark, courtesy of a Daniel Rioli goal, the match turning into a back-and-forth affair until Tom Lynch kicked the sealer.
The Tigers were more efficient inside 50, a problem that's plagued them in recent weeks, as they were tenacious in applying pressure to the Lions. Richmond had more tackles, one-percenters, and utilised space more with running chains around the ground to get the edge over Brisbane.
Dion Prestia continued his season form with a 26 disposal outing with five clearances. In contrast, Trent Cotchin (24 disposals, eight tackles) and Shai Bolton (24 disposals, 12 score involvements, nine inside 50s, and two goals) played crucial roles that helped the Tigers get over the line.
Noah Cumberland continued his goalkicking form in 2022 since coming into the side in Round 17, kicking a career-high five goals in his fifth game at the top level. Lynch kicked four goals in his return from a hamstring injury. Jack Riewoldt, and Bolton, chipped in with two goals each.
9. Western Bulldogs (8)
Despite losing to Geelong by 28 points, the Western Bulldogs put in a good showing early on at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday night, only unravelled by an eight-goal-to-none third quarter that saw the game get away. The Bulldogs kicked the first four goals of the game - and five of the first six - and held an 11-point lead at the main break; however, they let nine unanswered goals through from the beginning of the third quarter and never looked to regain that earlier form.
When the Bulldogs did see the ball enter their attacking end, the forwards did well to trap it in and not let any Cats defenders find an easy avenue out, while the side's run and carry was still on display when they could find space. However, a lack of inside 50 entries and efficiency cost the Bulldogs when and where it mattered.
Ed Richards and Tom Liberatore lead the way with both amassing 28 disposals, the former taking a game-high 11 marks and the latter leading the game with ten clearances. Caleb Daniel returned to the lineup, continuing his form with 25 touches across half-back.
Cody Weightman contributed three goals for the Bulldogs on the night, well-assisted by Josh Dunkley and Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who kicked two goals each. Aaron Naughton went goalless for the second time this season, only able to manage two behinds.
10. St Kilda (9)
St Kilda hosted Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon, prevailing by 12 points. The Saints took advantage of the Hawks' slow start, allowing their opponents to get back into the match late, though they held on to record a significant victory that sees them sitting eighth on the ladder at the end of the round.
St Kilda had enough of the ball to help launch forward and were efficient when they entered inside 50. The Saints' work across the ground through stoppages and winning the contested ball propelled them to get first use and use it cleanly.
Jack Steele was the equal-most leading ball-winner on the ground, collecting 31 disposals, while Rowan Marshall and Brad Crouch had 30 touches, the former having 35 hit outs, while the latter had a game-high 11 tackles and nine clearances.
Max King kicked two goals but had chances to score more, finishing with five behinds, while there were eight single goalkickers for the Saints, including Dan Hannebery in his first game since Round 23 last year.
11. Essendon (11)
Essendon got the win over North Melbourne by 48 points at Marvel Stadium to complete the round. The Bombers were consistent in their play and ability with a well-rounded performance.
The Bombers went at 83 per cent efficiency with their disposal use, as they were allowed to take plenty of uncontested marks around the ground. While the Bombers also saw the combination of Sam Draper and Peter Wright in the ruck, beating the Kangaroos' Todd Goldstein, the Bombers were consistently beaten in the clearances.
Zach Merrett starred for Essendon with 38 disposals, including 26 in the second half in a performance that included a game-high ten tackles and eight clearances. Mason Redman had 32 touches, along with ten marks, while Dyson Heppell (28 disposals, ten marks) helped out.
Jake Stringer leads the way in the forward line with five goals to his name, well-assisted by James Stewart's three majors. Wright had two goals, as did Kyle Langford and Harrison Jones.
12. Port Adelaide (12)
Port Adelaide almost came back to beat Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday afternoon, however, fell by six points. A hot start saw the Power lead at the first break before a goalless second term had the Magpies in front at the main change before the visitors came within a goal via a Jase Burgoyne goal with a minute left on the clock.
While beaten in the ruck, the Power saw an opportunity with the clearances, especially around the ground, winning the contested ball at every possibility and hunting the Magpies players to prevent any clean possession while being efficient with ball in hand.
Port Adelaide had six of the top seven possession-getters for the game, with Connor Rozee leading the way with 35 touches, while Darcy Byrne-Jones and 200-gamer Ollie Wines had 30 disposals each. Wines also had an equal game-high six tackles and six clearances.
Zak Butters, Travis Boak, and Sam Powell-Pepper kicked two goals each, while the side had six individual goalkickers, including Burgoyne, who kicked his first goal at senior level.
13. Gold Coast (13)
Gold Coast overcame a fast-finishing West Coast for a three-point victory in front of home fans at Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Suns led by as much as 37 points just before halftime, and it was still a 25-point lead at the final break, with the Eagles getting to within a kick at multiple stages throughout the last term.
While the Suns had more inside the 50s, they were unable to be as efficient, whether inside 50 or around the ground, as much as their opponents. Gold Coast's clearance work was its greatest asset, with Touk Miller leading the way with a game-high 15 clearances.
Miller also led the way with the ball, amassing 31 touches and ten tackles. He was supported by Noah Anderson (29 disposals, six clearances) and David Swallow (22 disposals, nine tackles, seven clearances).
Mabior Chol kicked a career-best five goals in his 50th game, while Izak Rankine had three, and Malcolm Rosas and Jeremy Sharp chipped in with two goals each.
14. Hawthorn (14)
Hawthorn took it up to St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon, though came out of the contest with a 12-point loss. A goalless second quarter - after a one-goal first quarter - saw the Hawks on the backfoot before storming home in the final quarter but running out of time.
The Hawks' efficiency inside 50 cost Sam Mitchell's side the most in this fixture, going at 35 per cent, compared to their opponent's 64 per cent.
Tom Mitchell picked up 31 disposals in a supreme effort for Hawthorn, as Josh Ward had 26 touches, with Finn Maginness (22 disposals) and Dylan Moore (21 disposals) each placing a team-high seven tackles.
Jack Scrimshaw became a defender-turned-forward, kicking two goals as Jai Newcombe kicked two goals also.
15. Adelaide (16)
Adelaide claimed the scalp of Carlton in front of home fans on Saturday night, celebrating a 29-point victory at Adelaide Oval. The Crows beat the Blues in contested possession all night, and they could intercept easily as they went inside 50 and had an efficient night.
Brodie Smith turned it on for the home team, collecting 37 disposals with eight marks and four tackles, while Rory Laird had 32 touches, eight clearances and 12 tackles.
Ben Keays and Taylor Walker each kicked three goals for the Crows, with Darcy Fogarty popping up to kick two goals. Wayne Milera, Lachlan Murphy, Elliot Himmelberg, and Ned McHenry kicked one goal apiece.
16. GWS (15)
Greater Western Sydney were comfortably beaten by Sydney in the Battle of the Bridge on Saturday afternoon, defeated by 73 points at the SCG. The Giants were held goalless in both the second and fourth quarter. Meanwhile, it allowed the Swans to continue to add to the margin.
The Giants were beaten in every category except hitouts. They couldn't generate enough push forward or win the ball in crucial contests, limiting their run and ability, therefore seeing the Swans cruise by easily.
Josh Kelly had 25 disposals for the game, with Lachie Whitfield and Harry Perryman collecting 22 disposals each. Callan Ward had an equal game-high six clearances as part of his 21 disposals.
Toby Greene was the side's only multiple goalscorers, kicking two goals, while Jesse Hogan, Braydon Preuss and Harry Himmelberg kicked one goal each.
17. West Coast (17)
West Coast almost pulled off a victory against Gold Coast, however, fell by three points at Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles were down by 37 points just before the main break, and a seven-goal-to-three final quarter saw them fall short.
The Eagles had more of the ball across the entire 120 minutes, used it well, and were able to move the ball at their own pace a lot of the time and use the width of the ground to generate run and momentum. The Eagles didn't go inside 50 as much as their opponents, but when they did, they were efficient by finding targets and scoring.
In game 100, Tim Kelly finished the day with 28 disposals, six tackles and seven clearances, while Shannon Hurn, Luke Shuey, Jack Redden, and Andrew Gaff - in game 250 - had plenty of the ball also.
Jack Darling kicked an equal-high career-best six goals, four of which came in the second half, while Jack Petruccelle (three goals), Luke Ryan, and Redden (two goals) were West Coast's other multiple goalscorers.
18. North Melbourne (18)
North Melbourne went down to Essendon by 48 points at Marvel Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Although consistent across four quarters, the Bombers were a couple of steps above, leading to the final margin and the game getting away from the Kangaroos.
While not always winning in the ruck contests, North Melbourne could get a clearance away at the most opportune times, whether in the centre or around the ground. However, there were too many turnovers by the Kangaroos, which the Bombers quickly pounced on.
Jy Simpkin came back in a big way from a sub-par performance last week to record 41 disposals along with five tackles and six clearances. Jaidyn Stephenson had a season-high 34 disposals while Luke Davies-Uniacke, Jason Horne-Francis, and Luke McDonald contributed well.
Cam Zurhaar kicked four goals in a dominant display up forward for the Kangaroos, while Jed Anderson, Bailey Scott, Kayne Turner, Todd Goldstein, and Callum Coleman-Jones each kicked one goal.
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