18/04/2024

Could the Roos and the Bulldogs occupy the final two spots in the eight come the end of AFLW season seven? (Photo: AFL Women's/Twitter.)

AFLW season seven is coming into the home stretch, but there’s still spots up for grabs inside the top eight.

But who will fill those final two positions? The Inner Sanctum takes a look at the past season and ahead to the run home for five sides that could potentially pop in or drop out of AFLW finals positions.

North Melbourne

Not many would’ve predicted the Kangaroos to be in this position after making their third consecutive finals series. But now with three games to play, they’re still a chance to slip out of the eight.

Despite comfortably defeating a Sydney side well below them by a club record margin, plus sides in finals contentions such as the Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast and Geelong, it’s been their three defeats at the hands of the top three sides that have put them into this position.

The run home isn’t an easy path either. They travel to face the lowly Port Adelaide this weekend, before their final two games see them facing top eight sides in Collingwood and Richmond, with the former at Victoria Park and the latter at Arden Street.

Their last game of the regular season will be a particularly big one, with the Roos taking on a Tigers side potentially in a fight for a top four position while still looking to lock in finals themselves.

It’s set to go down to the wire for Roos fans, but if they win against either the Magpies and Tigers, they’ll be able to breathe easier knowing their side will be in a fourth consecutive finals campaign.

Predicted final position: Seventh

Gold Coast Suns

There have been several sides that have made drastic improvements this season to put themselves in a position to make finals, including the Suns.

Following an improved season six which saw three wins after none in 2021 they’ve now surpassed that with four wins. All have come against sides below them, sitting in eighth position only due to a superior percentage than the ninth-placed Bulldogs.

Their last three weeks is a particularly tricky run, facing a rampant Melbourne outfit at home this weekend and bottom four side GWS at Henson Park in the final round.

In between those games will see the biggest game of them all against fellow finals contender Carlton on a Friday night at home.

They’ll most likely fall to the Demons, meaning they’ll need to win against both the Blues and the Giants if they were to complete a remarkable rise and compete in finals.

Predicted final position: Ninth

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Western Bulldogs

It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Bulldogs and their fans, who now sit only percentage outside of making their first final since their 2018 premiership.

After beginning the season unbeaten after four rounds and sitting equal top with Brisbane, they’ve come crashing back down to earth. The last three weeks have seen losses against top eight sides in North Melbourne, Geelong and arch-rivals Melbourne last weekend.

Their run home sees them on a similar path as to their opening month of the season, facing St Kilda in Ballarat and West Coast in Perth.

It’ll be their final match against the Blues at Ikon Park in the Round 10 opener that would most likely decide whether or not they make finals.

Despite it being possibly the easiest run home of the sides in the same boat as them, the Bulldogs can’t afford any slip ups and will need to be on their A-game for the final stretch.

Predicted Final Position: Eighth

Carlton

Much like the Bulldogs, the Blues have been on a rollercoaster this season. In spite of this though, they still stand a chance of making the finals.

Starting with every possible result in the opening month, two of which were draws, they hit a rough patch in Rounds 5 and 6. Losses against Melbourne and GWS were offset as they found their groove last weekend with a win over St Kilda.

That win sets them up nicely for what is set to be a tough run home, finishing off the season with matches against the Suns at Metricon Stadium and the Bulldogs at home.

It’s the first of their final three matches though that could be a decisive factor whether or not the Blues make finals. They take on a Richmond outfit currently on a five-game winning streak at home this Friday night.

If the Blues somehow make it into the eight, many will see this as a surprise given the changes they went through this offseason. They’ll need all the dominoes to fall into place if they are to do so.

Predicted final position: 11th

Hawthorn

A month ago not many would’ve predicted the Hawks to be in a position to challenge for finals. Yet here they stand on the cusp of what would be a historic moment in AFLW history.

Starting out with four losses in the first four rounds of the season by an average of six goals, since then they’ve won their last three against Sydney, West Coast and Port Adelaide to sit only a game (plus 40 per cent) out of the top eight.

Their run home could see them continue to challenge for the final few spots in the eight, taking on the Giants this weekend and the improving yet struggling Dockers in the final round, both of which are away from home.

In between those matches though they’ll face possibly the biggest test of them all in the form of current ladder leaders Brisbane at Skybus Stadium under Saturday night lights.

Much like the Blues, they’ll need everything to go right and win every game from here on out. With their run home, it seems a very unlikely proposition.

Predicted final position: 10th

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