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Saturday, January 23, 2021
Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts

Takeaways from the AFL Festival of Footy part 2

The AFL’s Festival of Footy consisted of 33 games in 20 days and saw some teams emerge as premiership contenders while other teams struggled through it.

There are now only six rounds of footy left before we get into finals, so the season is getting down to the pointy end.

After reviewing the first nine teams, let’s now have a look at how the second nine teams faired in the Festival of Footy.

HAWTHORN HAWKS 16th 4 wins 7 losses 82.5%

The Hawks started with a big win over the Carlton Blues, but then travelled over to Perth and recorded losses to the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles. The Hawks are need of a rebuild with many ageing stars now looking like the end is fast approaching. Their Festival of Footy confirmed the Hawks need to head to the draft and add some elite young talent to their squad in the coming years.

west coast eagles fans
It’s great seeing fans at the footy and West Coast Eagles fans have had plenty to cheer about lately.

MELBOURNE DEMONS 8th 6 wins 5 losses 118.2%

The Demons started with a huge loss to the Port Adelaide Power forcing their president Glen Bartlett to label his club’s performance as “disgraceful” and “insipid”. They were very strong words from Bartlett, but they seemed to kick his side into gear as they recorded three straight wins by over 50 points to force their way into the top eight. Those wins came against relatively soft opposition so their next fortnight against the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda Saints will tell us more about where they are at. Christian Petracca continues his rise as one of the best players in the competition and could be a contender come Brownlow medal night.

Christian Petracca smiling
Christian Petracca has become an elite midfielder in the AFL this season and will no doubt make his first All Australian team.

NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS 17th 3 wins 9 losses 83.1%

The Kangaroos recorded their third win of the season against the Adelaide Crows but then lost their last three matches against much stronger opposition. Their last game was their best performance as they lost to the second-placed Brisbane Lions by just one point. That game showed they have some good young talent at the club but are lacking some quality experienced players. Their high-priced recruit Jared Polec has now been dropped twice this season as the club’s recruitment has come under question.

jy simpkin with the ball
Jy Simpkin has been one of the standouts for the Kangaroos this season.

PORT ADELAIDE POWER 1st 9 wins 3 losses 127.5%

The Power started with three straight wins including beating the Tigers in the match of the season. The game was high paced with plenty of skill and goals on offer for fans. Unfortunately, they could not back up that performance as they were smashed by 60 points against the Geelong Cats. It’s been the story of the Power’s season: just when you start to believe they are premiership contenders, they dish up an awful performance like that. However, it’s been a strange season, so you can’t expect every team to be at their best every week and the Power have put themselves in a strong position to be playing in the big finals come season’s end.

players holding each other
The Power came back to earth after being thumped by the Cats, but are still in a strong position at the back end of the season.

RICHMOND TIGERS 6th 7 wins 4 losses 1 draw 119%

The Tigers had three wins and one loss during the Festival and seem to be purring along nicely towards another tilt at the premiership. The return to form of Jack Riewoldt has been a boost to the side, while their other key forward Tom Lynch seems to be playing on the angry pills at the moment. They lost no admirers in their loss to the Power and, with a couple of premiership players to come back into the side, the Tigers are every chance to win their third premiership in four years.

richmond players celebrating
Jack Riewoldt’s return to form has been a major boost to the Tigers premiership chances.

St KILDA SAINTS 5th 8 wins 4 losses 115.8%

The Saints went 3-1 during this period but their loss was a big one, going down by 59 points to the Cats. The Saints were beginning to look like the real deal before that defeat, which has raised questions whether their attacking game style can stack up with the best teams come finals time. The good news for the Saints is that after that loss they rebounded to defeat the Essendon Bombers. In fact, the Saints are yet to lose two games in a row this season which is a sign of a good team.

jack steele with the football
Jack Steele has been a standout for the Saints this year and is certainly in All Australian contention.

SYDNEY SWANS 15th 4 wins 7 losses 84.8%

The Swans started with two losses to the Saints and Collingwood Magpies, but then headed to Perth for a matchup with their cross-town rivals, the GWS Giants. The Swans put together their best performance of the season to down the more fancied Giants side by 41 points and the win highlighted the young talent at the club. James Rowbottom, Nick Blakey, Jordan Dawson and Callum Mills all starred, alongside their experienced players in Jake Lloyd, Luke Parker and Dane Rampe. The win showed the Swans may have a bright future, but they are still a year or two away from delivering that performance consistently.

dane rampe kicking the football
Dane Rampe has been a standout for Sydney this season, even playing a few games with a broken hand that will now see him miss the rest of the season.

WEST COAST EAGLES 4h 8 wins 3 losses 121.1%

After a tough start to the season, the Eagles continue to amass wins and if they finish in the top two, you can almost lock them in for a Grand Final spot. They are now 6-0 playing at home this season and with the Grand Final location still unknown, the Eagles would be doing everything they can to make sure it’s played at Optus Stadium. Their highlight was a come-from-behind win against the flying Cats side in one of the games of the year. The Eagles trailed by 22 points at one stage but showed their class to run down the Cats. They have stars all over the park and are well and truly deserving of their status as premiership favourites after winning their past seven matches.

josh kennedy celebrating
Josh Kennedy has been outstanding for the Eagles after struggling early in the season.

WESTERN BULLDOGS 10th 6 wins 6 losses 97.9%

Many experts were picking the Bulldogs as potential premiers at the start of the season, but their recent performances have shown they are still a fair way off the top teams. They recorded three consecutive losses to the Tigers, Power and Lions to put their finals aspirations in doubt. The Bulldogs still have games against the Cats and Eagles to come, so they will need to win at least one of those to sneak into the top eight.

players contesting for the ball
The Bulldogs have been unable to match it against the best teams in the competition this season.

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