AFL round 23: The road to the top eight for the remaining finals contenders

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Updated: August 22, 2017

Finals start a week earlier with victory essential for several sides chasing top two, top four and top eight positions in the last round of the 2017 AFL home and away season – here’s how the final round takes shape for the contenders; overall record: 68-4-48, +42.07 units

 

Adelaide (first, 62 points, 139.9 per cent), round 23: West Coast v Adelaide (Domain Stadium, Perth)

Despite Friday night’s narrow loss to the resurgent Swans, Adelaide will secure the minor premiership with victory over the Eagles in the final game of the round on Sunday. They’ll still finish top if they lose and Geelong defeats the Giants. If GWS were to defeat the Cats, the Crows would slip to second.

 

Greater Western Sydney (second, 60 points, 118.3 per cent), round 23: Geelong v GWS Giants (Simonds Stadium, Geelong)

Premiership favourites at the start of the year, the Giants will lock-up a top-two finish with victory over Geelong on Saturday and will tie-up the minor premiership with an Adelaide loss in Perth. But GWS, with a loss to Geelong, could fall as low as fourth if Richmond defeats the Saints and closes the narrow percentage gap between the sides.

 

Geelong (third, 58 points, 115.5 per cent, round 23: Geelong v GWS Giants (Simonds Stadium, Geelong)

Geelong will regain Tom Hawkins for this massive clash on their home deck. Should they triumph, they’ll finish second and likely face a qualifying final rematch against the Giants two weeks later. They’ll drop to fourth if the Tigers defeat St Kilda, but if Richmond doesn’t get the job done, the Cats will stay in third position.

 

Richmond (fourth, 56 points, 116.7 per cent), round 23: Richmond v St Kilda (MCG, Melbourne)

One thing’s for certain – the Tigers won’t be finishing ninth! They are assured a double-chance if they can knock over the Saints at the MCG on Sunday. They could climb to third depending on the Geelong v GWS result but could drop as low as sixth if they lose to the Saints and both Sydney and Port Adelaide win.

 

Port Adelaide (fifth, 52 points, 123.1 per cent), round 23: Port Adelaide v Gold Coast (Adelaide Oval, Adelaide)

A massive result over the Bulldogs means Port could finish as high as fourth if the Tigers lose and the Swans don’t make up the slim percentage gap. They could still drop to sixth if the Swans post a massive victory over the Blues. An unlikely loss to the Suns would assure the Power either a fifth- or sixth-place finish due their percentage gap over the Demons.

 

Sydney (sixth, 52 points, 122.7 per cent), round 23: Sydney v Carlton (SCG, Sydney)

Having knocked off Adelaide on Friday night, there is no team the Swans will fear between now and a run to the Grand Final. They could sneak into the top four if Richmond drop their final game to the Saints but won’t drop any lower than sixth even if the Blues manage a massive upset over the side that have won 13 of their past 15.

 

Melbourne (seventh, 48 points, 106.4 per cent), round 23: Collingwood v Melbourne (MCG, Melbourne)

Demon fans will still have a nervous wait this weekend before their finals status is assured. They can climb no higher than seventh regardless of the winning margin over Collingwood. With a loss to the Magpies, they’ll make the eight if Essendon or West Coast suffers defeat but could drop to ninth if both win to go with a big percentage swing.

 

Essendon (eighth, 44 points, 106.1 per cent), round 23: Essendon v Fremantle (Etihad Stadium, Melbourne)

The Bombers’ finals status will be confirmed if they defeat Freo and the Eagles don’t defeat the Crows by a big enough margin to make up the percentage gap (1.8). They could finish as high as seventh if Melbourne lose but if Freo were to do the unthinkable, Essendon would need West Coast, St Kilda and the Bulldogs to lose for them to make the finals.

 

West Coast (44 points, 104.3 per cent), round 23: West Coast v Adelaide (Domain Stadium, Perth)

Defeat at the hands of the ladder-leading Crows will essentially put the Eagles’ season to bed. Even if they can defeat Adelaide in the final game to be played at Subiaco, they’ll need Fremantle to upset Essendon. But if that scenario plays out, they could also finish above Melbourne if the Dees lose to Collingwood and the Eagles make up the 2.1 percentage gap.

 

St Kilda (44 points, 98.9 per cent), round 23: Richmond v St Kilda (MCG, Melbourne)

The Saints will already know their fate by the time of the opening bounce at the MCG on Sunday as they can only make the top eight if Essendon, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs all lose. That presents a dangerous scenario for the Tigers as, at a minimum, they’ll be desperate to send skipper Nick Riewoldt into retirement with a win.

 

Western Bulldogs (44 points, 97.4 per cent), round 23: Western Bulldogs v Hawthorn (Etihad Stadium, Melbourne)

Since the AFL went to an eight-team finals system in 2000, only once have the reigning premiers missed the finals the following season. In 2017, it will likely occur for the second time. The Bulldogs can only make finals if they defeat the Hawks on Friday night Essendon, West Coast and St Kilda all lose leaving a 10th or 11th-place finish the most likely scenario

 

Round 21 results update: 0-0-1, -1.0 units

Three-unit bets: 18-1-6, +30.45 units
Two-unit bets: 21-2-16, +9.24 units
One-unit bets: 29-1-26, +2.38 units

 

 

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to William Hill (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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