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How the AFL's final six teams match up against each other

Sporting News logo Sporting News 12/09/2018

Video provided by WWOS

Once AFL finals begin the rest of the season is quickly forgotten and every team is only as good as its last game.

Hawthorn finished top four and were considered by many to be the main threat to Richmond’s flag defence, but as soon as the siren sounded on the Hawks’ qualifying final loss they were relegated to being the ‘worst team still in it’.

Melbourne had done well to make it to September, but the fairytale would end at the hands of the match-hardened Gellong. However, 120 minutes of football later and the Demons are second-favourites for the flag while the Cats’ great era is over.

The future changes by the minute, but what can’t be messed around with is the past, so let’s take a look at the remaining AFL contenders against the other five teams still in the race for the premiership.

a person holding a football ball in front of a crowd © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited Richmond, as we are constantly reminded, is still in the midst of a record-breaking unbeaten streak at the MCG, currently standing at 22.

The Tigers have had five games against fellow top-sixers at the ‘G this year and won them all, averaging a 32-point margin. They included two wins each over Collingwood and Hawthorn, and one over Melbourne - all three clubs fellow MCG tenants which makes the dominance even more impressive.

Away from home they’re 0-2, with losses on the road by just two points to GWS and a 47-point belting by West Coast.

Richmond don’t travel again so that would suggest they’re near unbeatable, but on the flip side they haven’t defeated either the Eagles or Giants yet this year, so maybe there’s still plenty to worry about.

West Coast has the best win-loss record of the remaining clubs against each other (6-1), having lost just the once, but that was to Melbourne and it was in Perth – a match-up that could well be on the cards for the preliminary final.

However, should they get to the Grand Final the Eagles can’t be written off, having won three out of three games on the road against top-six teams, including downing Collingwood at the home of football as recently as round 17.

Collingwood has the worst record of all the remaining teams facing off against each other, with just one win and six losses, and last week’s trip to Perth was the only time they left home.

This week’s opponent, Greater Western Sydney, downed the Pies at the MCG in round two – the Giants first win at the home of football since 2014.

Hawthorn hasn’t fared much better than Collingwood, saluting just twice against the other five, although the most recent of those was a 67-point drubbing of this week’s semi-final opponent, Melbourne.

The Demons have managed to play all the remaining finalists just once each for a 2-3 record, but those two wins have come in the past three games, with the third being last week’s convincing win over Geelong, so there’s plenty of reason to consider Melbourne the form team of those still in it.

They’ve also got that round 22 away-win over West Coast to give them confidence should they find themselves at Optus Stadium on Saturday week.

And then there’s GWS. The Giants split their top-six results 3-3, but the losses have been against the Eagles (twice) and Melbourne – both on the ‘other side’ of the draw.

GWS has beaten this week’s opponent Collingwood in their only encounter in 2018 - at the ‘G - and should they get past the Pies again they’ll face Richmond who they also downed this year, so there’s reason for those devoted few fans in orange to believe this might be the year their side goes one better than 2016 and ‘17’s preliminary finals.

TeamWinsLossesHomeAway
Richmond525-00-2
West Coast613-13-0
Collingwood161-50-1
Hawthorn242-30-1
Melbourne231-30-1
GWS Giants332-11-2

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