With only one round left to play in the 2018 AFLW season, the path to the Grand Final for the remaining contenders is much clearer than when we have done this kind of article in the past two weeks.
Five teams still have a chance of making the Grand Final, which is rather remarkable. It’s essentially like five teams being in the Preliminary Finals, and although the AFLW does not have a finals series per se, this is as good as we could’ve hoped for.
There is only one dead rubber in round seven, with the other three games having serious Grand Final implications.
This is what the five remaining contenders need to happen in order to book their place.
1. Western Bulldogs (4 wins, 2 loss | 279 F, 188 A, 148.4%) – 16pts
Results so far: 49-23 W vs Fre (R1), 33-24 W vs Bris (R2), 34-41 L vs Ade (R3), 86-13 W vs Carl (R4), 49-41 W vs Coll (R5), 28-46 L vs GWS (R6)
Run home: Melbourne (R7 Home)
The Western Bulldogs missed a chance to confirm a Grand Final spot against GWS, and are now thrown into an Elimination/Preliminary Final type situation against Melbourne. While it’s exciting for us to have a ‘win and you’re in’ match in the final round, losing the opportunity to book a spot could be demoralising for the Dogs who have to pick themselves up off the canvas and overcome a rampaging Melbourne outfit.
If the Bulldogs win: They are in the Grand Final and win the minor premiership
If the Bulldogs lose: The Dogs’ great percentage gives them a chance of still making the Grand Final assuming they don’t get absolutely thumped by Melbourne, but it would require Brisbane beating GWS by a small margin and Collingwood beating Adelaide.
2. Melbourne Demons (4 wins, 2 losses | 247 F, 2017 A, 119.3%) – 16pts
Results so far: 45-39 W vs GWS (R1), 56-24 W vs Ade (R2), 31-36 L vs Fre (R3), 24-58 L vs Coll (R4), 34-28 W vs Bris (R5), 57-22 W vs Carl
Run home: Western Bulldogs (R7 Away)
Having seemingly blown their best opportunity to make the Grand Final with two disappointing losses earlier in the season, the Demons have strung together two solid wins to again hold their own fate in the hands. It also helps that they ran into Carlton when they did, able to put a nice percentage cushion between them and Brisbane. But this weekend against the Western Bulldogs will be a much more difficult task.
If the Demons win: They are in the Grand Final and win the minor premiership.
If the Demons lose: Just like the Bulldogs, the Demons’ decent percentage gives them a hope of making the Grand Final if they lose, so long as it’s only by a very slim margin. However, they will need Brisbane to beat GWS without blowing them out, and need Collingwood to beat Adelaide.
3. GWS Giants (3 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw | 200 F, 178 A, 112.4%) – 14pts
Results so far: 39-45 L vs Melb (R1), 9-30 L vs Carl (R2), 48-35 W vs Coll (R3), 19-19 D vs Ade (R4), 39-21 W vs Fre (R5), 46-28 W vs WB (R6)
Run home: Brisbane (R7 Home)
The Giants’ run to potentially making the Grand Final is nothing short of extraordinary. The team wasn’t woeful last year, but they did finish on the bottom of the ladder. Though we expected the Giants to be in the mix this year, we maybe didn’t predict that they would be in with as good of a chance as they are.
If the Giants win: They are almost guaranteed a Grand Final spot, but it would require Adelaide not making up the percentage difference if they win. The Giants and Crows are on 112.4% and 101% respectively, which is about a difference of 20 points. For example, if the Giants win by five points, they need the Crows win by less than 25 points in order to maintain their percentage gap. It’d be a whole lot easier if the Magpies just beat Adelaide.
4. Adelaide Crows (3 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw | 198 F, 196 A, 101%) – 14pts
Results so far: 19-31 L vs Bris (R1), 24-56 L vs Melb (R2), 41-34 W vs WB (R3), 19-19 D vs GWS (R4), 55-20 vs Carl (R5), 40-36 W vs Fre (R6)
Run home: Collingwood (R7 Away)
It seems an eternity ago that Adelaide was 0-2 with only 49.4%, languishing on the bottom of the ladder. They have done a phenomenal job of making up that percentage difference and putting themselves in a spot where they can defend their 2017 premiership, but they still need a bit to go their way.
If the Crows win: They still need to make up the percentage difference with GWS, assuming the Giants win. As mentioned in the GWS entry, the Crows and Giants are on 101% and 112.4% respectively, which translates to about 20 points. If the Giants win by five points, Adelaide needs to win by 25 points or more in order to be in second place. If the Giants lose to Brisbane, however, Adelaide is in the Grand Final.
5. Brisbane Lions (3 wins, 3 losses | 184 F, 182 A, 107%) – 12pts
Results so far: 31-19 W vs Ade (R1), 24-33 L vs WB (R2), 40-18 W vs Carl (R3), 22-15 W vs Fre (R4), 28-34 L vs Melb (R5), 39-53 L vs Coll (R6)
Run home: GWS (7 Away)
Brisbane has really messed up what was a fantastic position two weeks ago. After two straight losses, the Lions have fallen out of realistic premiership contention, and even dropped from second to fifth in just one week due to all the other results going against them. Their one saving grace was the three late goals kicked against Collingwood which did a repair job on their percentage. Without that final burst, Brisbane’s season would be over.
If the Lions win: A lot still needs to go their way. They will need the Western Bulldogs to beat Melbourne and also make up the percentage difference between them and the Demons, which is about 32 points. They also need Collingwood to beat Adelaide.
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