Round Nine of the 2022 AFL season is in the books, consisting of blowouts, upsets, come-from-behind victories, and results that saw the make-up of the top eight and top four change.
We look at how each team fared in this week’s edition of the Edge of the Crowd‘s Power Rankings.
(The club’s previous week’s position is in brackets.)
1. MELBOURNE (1)
Melbourne continued its unbeaten start to the season with a 74-point win over West Coast at Optus Stadium on Sunday afternoon, holding its opponents to one goal for the first half. The Demons started well with seven unanswered goals after the Eagles kicked the first of the game while continuing to ride a wave of momentum with a seven-goal fourth quarter to gain some extra percentage.
Clayton Oliver (29 disposals, 10 score involvements, seven clearances), Christian Petracca (28 disposals, 14 score involvements, eight tackles) and Jack Viney (27 disposals, 12 tackles, seven clearances) were instrumental in helping the Demons towards a big victory.
Tom McDonald led the way in front of the goals, kicking a season-high four-goal haul. Meanwhile, Kysaiah Pickett and Bayley Fritsch kicked two goals apiece. Petracca and Ben Brown found the goals twice as Charli Spargo and Alex Neal-Bullen rounded out the Demons' goalkickers.
2. PORT ADELAIDE (15)
A six-goal-to-one first quarter set up a big win for Port Adelaide at Blundstone Arena in Hobart against North Melbourne, with the away side powering home in the last quarter with seven goals to one in what became a 69-point victory. The Power was more effective inside 50, with a greater amount of forward entries and converting them into scores, assisted by a differential of plus-16 for marks taken inside 50.
Reigning Brownlow Medallist Ollie Wines dominated with 32 disposals and two goals, while Connor Rozee (27 disposals), Zak Butters (25 disposals), and Karl Amon (24 disposals) gave him good support in the middle.
Todd Marshall and Mitch Georgiades kicked three goals each for the Power, with Wines, Xavier Duursma, Jeremy Finlayson, and Steven Motlop all chipping in with two goals. Georgiades, Marshall and Finlayson combined for 12 of the side's 22 marks inside 50, the tall timber contributing to the increase in scoring shots for the Power to gain a greater advantage on the scoreboard.
3. GOLD COAST (12)
Gold Coast conceded its fourth-lowest halftime score and its lowest score in its history to defeat Fremantle by 36 points at Metricon Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Suns restricted the Dockers' scoring potential, despite giving up 29 more inside 50s, with the defenders, led by Sam Collins and Wil Powell, handling their opposition's repeated entries with ease.
Co-captain Touk Miller led from the front as he collected 34 disposals, including 20 in the second half, with Noah Anderson (26 disposals) and Brandon Ellis (21 disposals) moving around and utilising the outside spaces of the ground.
Mabior Chol continued his hot goalscoring form for 2022, continuing his unbeaten streak of kicking a goal this year as he added another four to his season tally. Levi Casboult was the Suns' other multiple goalscorers, kicking two majors.
4. CARLTON (7)
Carlton has consolidated its top-four position at the end of Round Nine, beating Greater Western Sydney by 30 points at GIANTS Stadium on Sunday. The Blues got out to an early lead but were always pressed by their opponents. However, they found a way to overcome the Giants in the last quarter, kicking five goals to one to celebrate their seventh win of the season when the final siren sounded.
Sam Walsh was massive, especially in the second half, where he racked up 18 of his 31 disposals for the game, while off-season recruit George Hewitt (30 disposals) continued to find plenty of the ball. Sam Docherty played further up the ground to collect 28 disposals, while Matthew Kennedy (27 disposals), Patrick Cripps (26 disposals) and Adam Cerra (24 disposals) were the main men in the midfield.
Carlton had five players who kicked two goals each, Walsh, Corey Durdin, Jack Silvagni, Charlie Curnow, and Zac Fisher, sharing the load around with five individual goalkickers, including debutant Jesse Motlop.
5. ST KILDA (5)
St Kilda was never out of the contest against Geelong a Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon, and, as the team has shown on many occasions throughout the year, they stuck with their opponents to claw out a 10-point win. The Saints were down by 22 points midway through the third quarter, but six unanswered goals had the side in front as they were able to hold on to the end for their first win over Geelong since 2016.
Brad Crouch (36 disposals), Jack Sinclair (31 disposals), and Jade Gresham (30 disposals) lead the second-half fightback, with Crouch and Gresham collecting 17 second-half touches, and Sinclair, along with Seb Ross (23 disposals), each having 16 possessions across the final two quarters.
Paddy Ryder spent most of his time in the forward line, where he was able to kick three goals while key forwards Tim Membrey and Max King kicked two goals each.
6. BRISBANE (2)
Brisbane was clinical in its performance against Adelaide, storming home with a nine-goal-to-two second half, while also maintaining a performance where the side was dead-eye in front of the sticks kicking 16.6 for the game. Although they found themselves down at halftime, the Lions won more of the contested ball, allowing for more opportunities to launch forward, especially from the middle, unlike the Crows.
Lachie Neale had his sixth 30+ disposal game of the season, racking up 36 touches to be the leading disposal-getter on the ground. Daniel Rich and Dayne Zorko, playing half-back roles, each collected 26 disposals.
For the third time in four weeks, Charlie Cameron added four majors to his season tally, while Zac Bailey (three goals) and Zorko (two goals) were multiple goalscorers. In his first game back since a knee injury sustained in Round 17 last year, Eric Hipwood failed to capitalise on the scoreboard, kicking just one behind from 11 disposals in his return game.
7. GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY (13)
Greater Western Sydney couldn't give departing coach Leon Cameron a win in his final game at the helm of the league's newest expansion club. The side went down to Carlton by 30 points on a Sunday afternoon at GIANTS Stadium. The Giants largely matched the Blues throughout the match, levelling the scores at halftime, and were a goal down at the final change, however, ran out of legs at the end.
Josh Kelly had a game-high 36 disposals and eight score involvements, and seven tackles for the Giants, with Tom Green (27 disposals) and Tim Taranto (24 disposals) playing supporting roles. Sam Taylor had a season-high for the competition this year with 19 spoils and 11 intercept possessions as he tried hard to man the backline throughout the game.
Harry Himmelberg, Jake Riccardi, and Toby Greene each got on the scoresheet with two goals, with the other goals shared around between players from different areas of the ground, including Harry Perryman and Adam Kennedy who kicked one goal each.
8. GEELONG (4)
In the second half of the third quarter, a late fade-out saw a 22-point Geelong lead surrendered by a St Kilda outfit who ran away 10-point victors at Marvel Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Cats were steady throughout the game, maintaining a healthy lead up until the third term, where inaccuracy in front of goal started costing the team a chance at a sixth win of the year.
Defenders had most of the ball for Geelong, trying to get it out of defence when St Kilda pressed, with Tom Stewart (27 disposals) and Zach Tuohy (26 disposals) the side's top possession-getters. Cam Guthrie, Isaac Smith, and Joel Selwood stood up in the middle, each recording 23 touches.
On the goal front, Tom Hawkins' streak of games where he kicks at least one goal is still intact for this season, getting on the end of four goals against the Saints. Meanwhile, Tuohy kicked two goals for the Cats, playing further up the ground.
9. WESTERN BULLDOGS (10)
The Western Bulldogs shot out to a 32-point lead at the first change against Collingwood, thanks to a six-goal-to-one quarter at Marvel Stadium on Friday night. Despite a one-goal second term, the Dogs managed to run out the game 48-point winners as they took their chances going forward, winning more of the contested ball and getting clear at the stoppages.
The return of Marcus Bontempelli was a welcome addition to the Western Bulldogs, the club's captain accumulating 26 disposals, along with a goal. However, it was Bailey Smith (41 disposals), Jackson Macrae (37 disposals), and Bob Rose-Charlie Sutton Medal recipient Adam Treloar (35 disposals, three goals) that powered the midfield unit that ran riot against their Magpies opponents.
Aaron Naughton, Buku Khamis, and Josh Dunkley also kicked three goals each for the Bulldogs as a mix of height and speed contributed to the scoreboard pressure the side was able to amount to on the way to their fourth win of the season, sitting just outside of the top eight.
10. HAWTHORN (11)
Hawthorn wasn't able to hold onto a 22-point lead early on in the second term, instead seeing Richmond run out the match at the MCG on Saturday afternoon, going down by 23 points. The Hawks showed some fightback towards the end of the contest, trailing by 10 points with under three minutes remaining, but it was too late, with the side unable to keep up with a Tigers side intent on not surrendering easily.
Defenders Jarman Impey (25 disposals), James Sicily (24 disposals) and Lachlan Bramble (20 disposals) were the leading ball-winners for the Hawks, a sign that the ball was usually contested in the defensive half, although each player also run through the centre, trying to help launch the Hawks forward too.
Mitch Lewis and Luke Breust kicked three goals each down the other end of the ground, while Jacob Koscitzke and 200-gamer Chad Wingard kicked two goals apiece.
11. RICHMOND (8)
Richmond came away with a 23-point victory against Hawthorn on a Saturday afternoon at the MCG, although it could've been a much larger margin. The Hawks remained persistent right to the end, forcing the Tigers to play hard for the full four quarters.
The ruck pairing of Toby Nankervis (35 hit-outs) and Ivan Soldo (25 hit-outs) helped the Tigers get the edge over the Hawks in the centre clearances, especially with Trent Cotchin (five centre clearances) leading the way in the middle. Dion Prestia (28 disposals, 11 score involvements) was instrumental for the side, while Liam Baker and Daniel Rioli each had 24 possessions playing across half-back.
Tom Lynch continued his fine form of late, booting another four goals as he leads the Coleman Medal race with 31 goals, four ahead of the next-placed goalkickers. Jack Riewoldt provided nice support, kicking three goals of his own, as Dustin Martin, in his second game back from leave, also contributed three goals.
12. ADELAIDE (16)
Adelaide suffered a second-half slump in its 36-point loss to Brisbane at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. Despite hitting the front in the second quarter and holding onto a three-point lead going into the main break, the Crows couldn't find any chances to link up and send the ball forward.
Rory Laird (33 disposals) had his sixth 30+ disposal game (from seven matches this season) as he saw all corners of the ground, while it was a career-best game for Jackson Hately, who picked up 27 possessions, as did Ben Keays.
Shane McAdam chipped in with three goals for the Crows, all coming in the first half, while Ned McHenry got in on the second-quarter action with two goals of his own. Taylor Walker was ineffective in front of goal, kicking 1.4, while fellow tall forward Elliot Himmelberg managed just two behinds.
13. SYDNEY (6)
On Saturday night, Sydney enjoyed getting back on the winner's list after overcoming an Essendon team by 58 points on its home deck, the SCG. The Swans had 35 scoring shots on the night, compared to the Bombers' 17, though they were wasteful in front of the goal, kicking 14.21.
The Swans were good on both offence and defence. They utilised the entire ground to their advantage, looking in control with their possession and finding targets anywhere on the ground, but especially forward. Tom Papley had a game-high 10 marks, with four inside 50, whereas Lance Franklin had five marks inside 50 from his six overall.
Chad Warner blitzed his previous-best disposal tally when he racked up 32 touches against the Bombers and 11 score involvements. Callum Mills gathered 29 disposals with a game-high seven clearances and a game-high 13 tackles, while Nick Blakey and Errol Gulden each had 26 disposals.
Franklin, Papley, Will Hayward, and Sam Wicks kicked two goals for the Swans, with the former two kicking seven behinds between them, however, they were involved in 11 and a game-high 13 score involvements, respectively.
14. FREMANTLE (3)
Fremantle was resigned to four goals for the match in a 36-point loss at the hands of Gold Coast on Sunday at Metricon Stadium. The Dockers kicked two goals in each of the first and fourth terms, but just one behind in each of the second and third quarters, and despite winning the inside 50 count (plus 29), all that mattered not as they couldn't capitalise and keep it inside their forward half as much.
Griffin Logue was forced to work hard down in his role across halfback, where he picked up 29 touches and a game-high 17 intercept possessions, whereas it was Will Brodie (27 disposals), Caleb Serong and Andrew Brayshaw (both 26 disposals) who worked hard through the middle.
Fremantle found goals through four individual goalscorers, with Neil Erasmus, Rory Lobb, Sean Darcy, and Michael Frederick kicking a major each, with Lachie Schultz unable to find the middle of the goals, kicking three behinds.
15. ESSENDON (14)
Essendon was left to rue missed opportunities as Sydney ran away with the match in the second half, going down by 58 points at the SCG on Saturday night. The Bombers kicked a solitary goal in each of the third and fourth quarters (and 2.7 for the half) as they struggled with the ball and without possession, too, as they were forced to play from behind at most points during the match.
Darcy Parish was the shining light for the Bombers, collecting 31 disposals. Meanwhile, 200-gamer captain Dyson Heppell was gallant with 23 touches.
Peter Wright kicked another two goals to add to his season tally and was assisted by his fellow forwards, although midfielder Nic Martin drifted forward also to kick the Bombers' final goal of the night in the fourth quarter.
16. COLLINGWOOD (9)
Collingwood was consigned to its lowest score of the season so far, held to just 51 points in a 48-point loss against the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on Friday night as wasteful kicking, especially in the first half, saw the game run away early on.
Jack Crisp (24 disposals) tried hard throughout the midfield and drifted forward to kick two goals to keep up with the Bulldogs' momentum, and was helped out by Patrick Lipinski (23 disposals, one goal) and Taylor Adams (23 disposals).
Collingwood shared the load in front of goal, with Crisp being the side's only multiple goalscorer, with five individual goalkickers each getting on the scoreboard. The side will rue missed opportunities, with Brody Mihocek (1.2) and Oliver Henry (0.3) each missing valuable chances for goal.
17. NORTH MELBOURNE (17)
North Melbourne struggled with its transition game against Port Adelaide down in Hobart at Blundstone Arena in a 69-point defeat. Kicking six goals for the match, including one-goal first and fourth terms, the Kangaroos trailed for the entire game as the Power pounced on any turnovers, with the Kangaroos also wasteful with the ball, and its efficiency inside 50.
Jed Anderson (26 disposals) and Luke Davies-Uniacke (25 disposals) were the shining lights for the Kangaroos, while Lachie Young (23 disposals) and Bailey Scott (20 disposals) saw plenty of the footy down back.
Cameron Zurhaar, after a shaky start where he kicked two behinds in the first quarter, he came back strong to kick half of his side's total goals, including both of the Kangaroos' third-quarter majors. Tarryn Thomas, Nick Larkey, and Tom Powell also managed to get on the Kangaroos' scoreboard, while Jaidyn Stephenson couldn't find the big sticks, kicking two behinds.
18. WEST COAST (18)
Although West Coast kicked the match's first goal through Jake Waterman, the side went into halftime with that same solitary goal as the side went down to reigning premiers Melbourne by 74 points at Optus Stadium to end Round Nine. The Eagles began the third term with their first goal in over 60 minutes of play through Jamie Cripps, but the Demons were already in front by too much to warrant any sort of a fightback.
Tim Kelly had the most possessions on the ground with 32, using the ball well out of the middle with five clearances and was supported by Connor West (29 disposals, game-high eight inside 50s) and Liam Duggan (26 disposals). Four of West Coast's defenders took 10 or more marks for the game as they tried to intercept any Melbourne threat, with Alex Witherden taking a game-high 12 marks.
With forward Josh Kennedy a late out for the Eagles, it left Jack Darling to take the mantle as the key target inside 50, however, he was one of five individual goalkickers for the side which included defender Jeremy McGovern.