Round Seven had it all, with the second loss over 100 points and two matches that were decided by under five points.
We take a 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 didn’t let the COVID-19 outbreak stop the side from continuing its unbeaten streak - although it wasn’t easy with the ladder-leaders claiming a ten-point win over Hawthorn.
The Demons were missing five of their premiership players with Luke Jackson, Harrison Petty, Kysaiah Pickett and Tom Sparrow watching on from home. It was a close contest for most of the match with the Demons trailing at the first break by just two points. The Demons got out of the blocks in the third quarter kicking six goals in the third quarter to go into the final change with a handy 28-point lead.
Although the Demons only scored four points in the final quarter to leave the door ajar for the Hawks but luckily the side were able to hold on by just 10 points.
Ben Brown was strong in his second game back from suspension kicking four goals. Toby Bedford who was the medical sub for the first six rounds got a starting role this week and kicked two goals.
Christian Petracca and Clayton Oliver were once again strong having 33 and 31 disposals respectively. Although it was captain Max Gawn who was truly dominant having 35 hit outs, 29 disposals, eight clearances and two goals.
2. Brisbane (2)
The Lions move into second on the AFL ladder after a strong win, defeating the Swans by 24 points. The win is the first time the Lions have won at the SCG since 2009.
The Lions had a strong second quarter, booting six goals with two early goals from captain Dayne Zorko really setting the tone for the remainder of the quarter. The Lions went into the main break with a 33-point lead, although an injury to Joe Daniher saw the forward subbed out at half time.
The Lions lead quickly went away with the Swans getting on a run to get back in striking distance of the Lions but a dominant Lions midfield saw the away team push back out to run away with the win.
Lachie Neale was at his Brownlow Medal-winning form with 37 disposals with 26 of those being contested along with nine clearances and a goal, while Zorko was key in his first full game in the midfield for 2022 having 22 disposals. Daniel McStay, Charlie Cameron and Cam Rayner were all dangerous up forward booting three goals each.
3. Fremantle (6)
The Dockers have once again proved that they are a genuine threat in 2022, defeating the Cats down at GMHBA Stadium by three points. Fremantle was able to keep Geelong scoreless for the whole second quarter, with the home side not scoring another goal until the 20-minute mark in the third quarter.
It was a great sign for the club, considering they were without Sean Darcy and Matt Taberner due to injury. Andrew Brayshaw continued his stellar start to the season having 28 disposals while Blake Acres was great on the wing having 27 disposals.
In defence, it was Griffin Logue who proved key for the Dockers, shutting down Cats star Jeremy Cameron who was kept scoreless. Despite a hot start from Tom Hawkins, Alex Pearce was able to nullify Hawkins' impact after the first quarter.
4. Sydney Swans (3)
The Swans 24-point loss over the Lions lacked that four-quarter consistency that fans are used to. It was an even first quarter with the scores nine-apiece at quarter time. Despite this, the Swans were left stunned in the second quarter with the Lions getting the jump on them with the Swans only scoring one goal in the second quarter.
It was Lance Franklin that stood up in that third quarter to evaporate a 33-point deficit with Franklin kicking four of his six goals in the opening half of the third term, to bring the margin back to three points.
Although, once again the Swans couldn’t back it up, allowing the Lions to dominate for the rest of the match to be dealt their second loss of the 2022 season.
Luke Parker and Callum Mills were strong for the Swans having 33 and 30 disposals respectively, while Issac Heeney kicked three goals along with 18 disposals.
5. Geelong (5)
It was a disappointing game for the Cats, going down to the Dockers by just three points. Although Geelong was within striking distance thanks to a goal from Mark Blicavs with just 26 seconds remaining in the match, the side couldn't get over the line at the end.
Geelong got off to a blistering start kicking the first three goals of the match, with two of those coming from star forward Tom Hawkins. However, a goalless second quarter and a one-goal third quarter allowed the win to slip through the fingers of the Cats.
Tom Stewart was best on ground for the Cats having 40 disposals and 13 marks while off-season recruit Tyson Stengle was dangerous in front of goal with three majors. Cam Guthrie was strong in the midfield with 35 disposals and eight clearances.
6. St Kilda (4)
It was a tough night in Cairns for St Kilda who lead by 19 points at one stage in the match, ultimately lost by one point to Port Adelaide in a scrappy affair.
The sides inaccuracy in front of goal really let them down with the Saints kicking 18 behinds for the match and just two goals after half time. An inaccurate third quarter allowed the Power to get right back into the contest with the Saints only kicking seven behinds in the third term.
Max King was strong up forward kicking two goals for the Saints, and Sebastian Ross and Jack Steele were the Saints' leading ball-getters with 31 and 27 disposals respectively. Jack Sinclair was strong in defence having 10 intercept possessions while Josh Battle and Ben Paton had nine.
7. Carlton (7)
Carlton were dominant in its 50-point win over North Melbourne on Saturday night at Marvel Stadium. Debutant Jack Carroll opened the match in spectacular fashion kicking the first goal of the game with his first kick in AFL football.
It was five back-to-back goals in the third quarter that really cemented the win for the Blues. It was the two-prong attack of Harry McKay (four goals) and Charlie Curnow (three goals) who were dominant up forward with a combined seven goals.
Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty were among the best for the Blues having 35 and 33 disposals respectively while Cripps was able to get on the scoreboard too, kicking one goal.
8. Collingwood (10)
Collingwood backed up their ANZAC Day performance with a strong 25-point win over Gold Coast.
The Magpies were slow out of the gates allowing the Suns to kick the first two goals of the match, but the Magpies were quickly able to draw the score with back-to-back goals of their own. From there, the Magpies were able to run away with the game and although the Suns would get momentum, the Magpies did a good job in shutting down their opponents.
The Magpies kicked their highest score for the season, finishing with a score of 115 points. Collingwood’s goalkickers were led by Brody Mihocek who had four while Anzac Day medallist Jack Ginnivan had an eye for the goals kicking three including a Goal of the Year contender.
Magpies recruit Patrick Lipinski continued his great start in the black and white with 30 disposals while Jack Crisp had 28 possessions and a goal. Josh Daicos was prominent on the wing having 20 disposals and two goals.
9. Western Bulldogs (9)
The Bulldogs have bounced back after a disappointing loss last week, to defeat the Bombers by 32 points at Marvel Stadium.
The Bulldogs were a bit slow out of the middle but did a good job in being able to rebound through the defensive 50 with the likes of Bailey Dale (28 Disposals), Caleb Daniel (32 disposals) and Ed Richards (20 disposals) playing a huge role in bringing the ball out of the Bombers forward 50.
Josh Dunkley had a strong outing in his 100-game milestone match kicking two goals and having 29 disposals while Jack Macrae and Bailey Smith were also dominant with 28 and 26 disposals respectively, with Smith also having a goal to his name.
Up forward it was Lachie McNeil who led the goal kicking with three goals while second-gamer Robbie McComb, Mitch Wallis and Cody Weightman joined Dunkley in kicking two goals.
10. Hawthorn (8)
Hawthorn couldn't get the job done, going down to reigning premiers Melbourne by 10 points at the MCG. The Hawks had a fast start, kicking two goals within the first four minutes of the match.
The Hawks were able to stay in touch with the undefeated Demons for most of the match and despite a three-goal-to-six third quarter, the Hawks were able to launch a strong comeback in the final term, winning the final quarter by three goals.
Finn Maginness was able to nullify the impact of star winger Ed Langdon while Blake Hardwick was able to stop Bayley Fritsch from hitting the scoreboard too much, held to just the one goal for the game.
Dylan Moore was great for the Hawks with 33 disposals and one goal while James Sicily, who captained the Hawks in the absence of Ben McEvoy, was strong in defence with 26 disposals. James Worpel and Jaeger O’Meara were strong with 26 disposals and one goal each.
11. Richmond (11)
Richmond turned back the clock and put on a performance that was very reminiscent of its dynasty days, defeating West Coast by 109 points at Optus Stadium.
Many of the Richmond forwards were able to get on the board and make a huge impact. Tom Lynch kicked seven goals for the night while Maurice Rioli Jr kicked three goals.
Those two weren’t the only multiple goalkickers for the Tigers however, having six players kick multiple goals. Jayden Short and Shai Bolton lead the disposal count for the Tigers having 31 and 30 disposals respectively while Bolton also hit the scoreboard with three goals.
12. GWS (13)
The Giants bounced back after a disappointing loss to the Saints last week with a 59-point win over the Crows with an eleven-goal opening half really setting the scene for a big, big win for the side from the west of the town in Sydney.
In his second game back from suspension Toby Greene was back to the player that fans have come to know, kicking four goals. Stephen Coniglio, Jesse Hogan and Lachie Whitfield all had three goals to their names.
The Giants midfield were back to firing on all cylinders with Josh Kelly having 41 disposals along with seven inside 50s. Tom Green had 33 disposals and Tim Taranto had 23 disposals and a goal.
13. Adelaide (12)
It was a disappointing display from the Crows this week, going down to the Giants by 59 points at Adelaide Oval. The Crows scored three goals across the first three quarters of the match, going into three-quarter time with just 22 points to their name.
Ben Keays and Rory Laird did their best to keep the Crows afloat having 27 and 35 disposals respectively. Taylor Walker continued his form from last week kicking two goals. A final quarter haul was a shining light on what was a disappointing day kicking five goals to the Giants' three.
The struggling Crows were dealt with two injuries throughout the match with acting captain Brodie Smith being knocked out after his head hit the ground on landing of what was a spectacular mark. Ned McHenry also went off with a head knock in the third quarter and didn’t return.
14. Gold Coast (14)
It was another disappointing match from Gold Coast after the side went down to Collingwood by 25 points at the MCG.
The Suns got out of the blocks kicking the first two goals of the game but let the lead slip just as quickly with the Magpies kicking two goals to even the score. The Suns let the Pies get out to a 34-point margin at one point in the first quarter but were able to get some momentum and was able to narrow the score.
The two pronged attack of Mabior Chol (three goals) and Levi Casboult (four goals) once again proved to be dominant with a combined seven goals for the match. Co-captain Touk Miller once again led from the front having 36 disposals while young gun Noah Anderson had 32 touches.
15. Essendon (15)
The Bombers have had another loss, this time at the hands of the Bulldogs. While there were a few glimpses throughout the match, they went down by 32 points at Marvel Stadium.
The Bombers were strong when they were able to switch the ball and get that run going through the middle but couldn’t capitalise on the scoreboard having 11 behinds for the match. Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish were strong in the middle having 36 and 32 disposals respectively.
Mason Redman and Dyson Heppell played key roles down back having 29 disposals each, with Heppell having seven intercept possessions while Redman had four. Up forward it was Peter Wright who stood up for the Bombers kicking four goals while Tom Cutler kicked two.
16. Port Adelaide (16)
Port Adelaide got its second win of the season with a one-point victory against St Kilda up in Cairns in what was a low-scoring game of footy.
It was a slow start for the Power who remained goalless for the first quarter. The first goal for Port Adelaide came at the four-minute mark of the second quarter thanks to reigning Brownlow Medallist Ollie Wines.
A three-goal haul in the third quarter put the Power right back into the match with the side trailing by just one point going into the final quarter. Behinds to Zak Butters and Robbie Gray in the final minutes of the game ensured the Power would get over the line.
Allir Allir had his best game back since injury with 14 intercept possessions and 15 disposals, as Gray was strong on the scoreboard kicking two goals. Wines and Ryan Burton were also strong for Port Adelaide with 27 and 25 disposals respectively.
17. North Melbourne (18)
It was a disappointing loss for North Melbourne who went down to Carlton by 50 points on Saturday night.
The Kangaroos got a bit of a run in the second quarter kicking three quick goals to open the second quarter with star forward Cam Zurhaar kicking two of those goals. North Melbourne went into the half time break with just an eight-point deficit.
Unfortunately for North Melbourne, the side fell away in the second half of the match, only kicking three goals during the second half of the game. Nick Larkey was able to dominate the scoreboard for the Kangaroos kicking three goals, while Bailey Scott and Jy Simpkin led the disposals with 23 and 22 disposals respectively.
18. West Coast (18)
It was yet another disappointing match for West Coast, with the side going down by 109 points to Richmond. The Eagles scored just two goals in the first half, going into the main break with only 16 points to their name.
The casualties were once again a factor in the match with the Eagles losing Tom Barrass just before the match, and Willie Rioli was subbed out during the match as well as several players coming off due to potential injuries during the night.
The Eagles struggled without Barrass down in defence, letting many of the opposition forwards off the leash, with the Tigers having six multiple goal scorers. The real shining light for the Eagles was Josh Kennedy who kicked four goals for the match to reach 700 goals across his career.