Round 18 of the 2022 AFL season offered up a couple of upset results which has had an effect on the positions inside the top 8.
Three teams that are wallowing in the bottom six had wins during the round however Geelong and Melbourne remain a game clear on top on equal points.
Here is our weekly overview of the round and our AFL Five Lessons Learned.
(1) Two Teams Can Win The 2022 AFL Premiership
If you believe the market!
2022 has been a year like we have not witnessed for some time with an absolute log jam among the top 12 teams.
Eight points currently separate first and seventh on the AFL ladder and there is plenty of football still to be played in the regular season.
But the punters are only backing two teams.
Geelong ($3.50) and Melbourne ($3.00) sit atop the ladder separated only by percentage, but despite this, there is a huge gap back to the rest of the pack in premiership betting.
Fremantle ($9.00), Brisbane ($10), Sydney ($11), Carlton ($13) and Collingwood ($15).
(2) Beware The Bombers
Essendon’s finals winning drought will extend beyond 18 years when September rolls around but in typical Bombers style, they are starting to play some decent football now that it doesn’t matter.
They have now won four of their last five and are ruining the plans of other teams in the process.
Wins over St Kilda, Sydney, Brisbane and now the Gold Coast in this return to form has them unpopular with those sets of fans and they may not be done just yet.
They can ruin Collingwood’s top four aspirations this weekend and they play Richmond in the final round of the season.
(3) Scott Pendlebury: Most Consistent
Scott Pendlebury has finished in the top three in his club’s Best and Fairest 12 times over the course of 16 seasons.
That is an incredible stat.
The Collingwood stalwart became just the 20th player in AFL history to play 350 games and there are many suggesting he is the greatest player his famous football club has seen.
He has a premiership, a Norm Smith Medal, six All Australian selections and a handful of Copeland trophies to go along with his 350 games.
He went fifth d in the 2005 AFL draft behind Marc Murphy and Josh Kennedy and while those two have had fantastic careers, Collingwood certainly made the right decision.
(4) Peak At The Right Time
In such a close season, teams need to be playing the best football at the business end of the season.
Clubs that are playing the best football they have produced for the year right now – Geelong, Sydney, Western Bulldogs & Collingwood.
Teams that are not – Melbourne, Fremantle, Brisbane, Richmond, St Kilda.
(5) Win The Eight Point Games
Again, with the competition so close, there are plenty of eight point games coming up that will swing ladder positions dramatically.
Gold Coast have learned the hard way, dropping games to Port and Collingwood all but ending their season.
St Kilda lost games to Sydney Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs which has hurt them.
Round 19 is no different.
Richmond play Fremantle on Friday and the Western Bulldogs take on Melbourne on Saturday night in two crucial games in the context of the finals race.