The first eight-team AFLW finals series is just over a week away, with the last round set to determine the make-up.
And with every position in the top eight still up for grabs, there’s plenty that can happen.
Foxfooty.com.au predicts the first week of finals and more in The Run Home!
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PREDICTED WEEK 1 FINALS
First Qualifying Final (1st hosts 4th): Brisbane Lions host North Melbourne
First Elimination Final (5th hosts 8th): Geelong hosts Western Bulldogs
Second Elimination Final (6th hosts 7th): Richmond hosts Collingwood
Second Qualifying Final (2nd hosts 3rd): Melbourne hosts Adelaide Crows
Note: The ‘where they can finish’ section under each team below excludes mathematically possible but extremely unlikely scenarios, such as Adelaide making up 65 points of percentage to break into the top two. We’re also excluding draws as possibilities because they make things too complicated.
1. BRISBANE LIONS (8-1, 267.8%)
Round 10 game: Collingwood at Metricon Stadium, Friday 8:10pm EDT
Where they can finish: 1st-2nd with a win, 1st-2nd with a loss
2. MELBOURNE (8-1, 240.4%)
Round 10 game: West Coast at Casey Fields, Saturday 1:10pm EDT
Where they can finish: 1st-2nd with a win, 2nd with a loss
Analysis: 50 points – that’s the exact gap in percentage between these two sides, who are effectively locked into the top two. Brisbane can put one hand on the minor premiership with a win over the Magpies on Friday night – which won’t be easy, given they’re playing for a top-four spot – but they could still be caught by Melbourne 17 hours later. If the Demons absolutely pump the Eagles, which is entirely realistic, they could still catch and pass a victorious Lions side on percentage. We’re going to tip Brisbane to just hold on but it’s entirely reasonable to say the Demons are favourites for the minor premiership, because they’ll know exactly what they need to do when they play. (If Collingwood wins that’ll basically hand the Dees top spot.)
Prediction: Both win, Brisbane finishes 1st, Melbourne finishes 2nd
Crows clinch thriller against Cats | 00:57
3. ADELAIDE CROWS (7-2, 174.9%)
Round 10 game: St Kilda at RSEA Park, Saturday 3:10pm EDT
Where they can finish: 3rd with a win, 4th-5th with a loss
Analysis: After pipping Geelong in a thriller last Friday night the Crows are close to locked into third. As long as they beat St Kilda, and you’d say they certainly should, they’ll earn the double chance and it’s unlikely either Richmond or Collingwood can pass them on percentage to knock them out of third. A shock loss would only see them miss the top four if Collingwood beats Brisbane.
Prediction: Win and finish 3rd
4. RICHMOND (7-2, 154.7%)
Round 10 game: North Melbourne at Arden Street Oval, Sunday 3:10pm EDT
Where they can finish: 3rd-5th with a win, 5th-7th with a loss
Analysis: Seven consecutive wins have the Tigers in control of their top-four destiny. Beat North Melbourne and, as long as Collingwood doesn’t beat Brisbane by too much (which seems unlikely), Richmond will earn a double-chance in its first AFLW finals appearance. But lose and they could still finish as low as 7th, and at the very least a very tricky elimination final would be on the cards. Sunday is absolutely massive and will shape the first week of finals.
Prediction: Lose and finish 6th
5. COLLINGWOOD (7-2, 147.6%)
Round 10 game: Brisbane at Metricon Stadium, Friday 8:10pm EDT
Where they can finish: 3rd-5th with a win, 5th-7th with a loss
Analysis: A thumping at the hands of North Melbourne has the Magpies’ top-four hopes in serious jeopardy. They have to beat Brisbane on the road to earn the double chance, because otherwise whoever wins Sunday’s Roos-Tigers game will finish above them guaranteed, locking them out of fourth spot. The Pies’ best chance of a top-four berth would be them winning on Friday night and then watching North win on Sunday. If they lose they could still drop as low as seventh, meaning an away elimination final.
Prediction: Lose and finish 7th
Roos keep top 4 hopes alive! | 01:15
6. NORTH MELBOURNE (6-3, 175.7%)
Round 10 game: Richmond at Arden Street Oval, Sunday 3:10pm EDT
Where they can finish: 3rd-5th with a win, 6th-8th with a loss
Analysis: From in jeopardy of missing the top eight, to a big chance of sneaking into the top four, the Kangaroos might’ve saved their premiership hopes with last weekend’s big win over Collingwood. Now if Brisbane beats the Magpies, the Kangaroos just need to beat the Tigers to climb up into fourth, earning a qualifying final berth. (There is a very small chance Geelong catches them on percentage by smashing Sydney.) However if the Kangaroos lose to Richmond they’ll almost certainly face an away elimination final, and could finish as low as eighth. Huge game.
Prediction: Win and finish 4th
7. GEELONG CATS (6-3, 144.6%)
Round 10 game: Sydney Swans at GMHBA Stadium, Saturday 5:10pm EDT
Where they can finish: 4th-7th with a win, 7th-8th with a loss
Analysis: A win over Adelaide would’ve been incredible but the Cats still look set to host a final, and there’s even the very (very) slight possibility of finishing fourth. They’d need to absolutely embarrass the Swans to do that. Realistically they‘re most likely to simply condemn Sydney to a winless season and, in the process, finish above the North Melbourne-Richmond loser on the ladder. The Cats can also catch Collingwood if they lose to Brisbane, meaning fifth place is on the cards. That’s critical because they’re then likely to face the Bulldogs or Suns in an elimination final, over the Kangaroos, Magpies or Tigers.
Prediction: Win and finish 5th
8. WESTERN BULLDOGS (6-3, 109.8%)
Round 10 game: Carlton at Ikon Park, Friday 6:10pm EDT
Where they can finish: 6th-8th with a win, 8th-9th with a loss
Analysis: Win and you’re in, it’s as simple as that for the Bulldogs on Friday night. They got past West Coast as expected and now can guarantee themselves a finals berth by beating Carlton. If they lose, they’ll be waiting until the very last game of the season to learn their fate. It’ll be very hard for the Suns to catch them, but it’s not impossible – the gap in percentage is roughly 11 goals.
Prediction: Win and finish 8th
Suns keep finals hopes alive | 01:00
9. GOLD COAST SUNS (5-4, 90.2%)
Round 10 game: GWS Giants at Henson Park, Sunday 5:10pm EDT
Where they can finish: 8th with a win, 9th with a loss
Analysis: As explained above, for the Suns to play finals, they need to win while the Bulldogs lose, and make up an 11-goal gap of percentage. Stranger things have happened.
Prediction: Win but finish 9th
Essendon, St Kilda, Carlton, GWS, Hawthorn, Fremantle, Fremantle, West Coast, Port Adelaide and Sydney cannot make the finals.