Which AFL teams will finish in the top four in 2022 to earn a double final shot?

Since the Australian Football League (AFL) started the last eight system in 1994, very few teams have won the premiership if they finished outside the top four.

The only exceptions are Adelaide (1998) and the Western Bulldogs (2016), who won from fifth and seventh place respectively after the home and away seasons.

With just two wins between first and ninth (50 percent of teams) after 13 games for each team, the 2022 season looks set to be one of the tightest ever in the history of the AFL and its predecessor, the Victorian Football League.

We have to go back to 1965 to find a comparable season after each team had played 13 games when 50 percent of the teams (six out of 12) battled within one win of each other for a top four place in the final.

Just four weeks ago, four wins were separated from first to eighth, with Melbourne unbeaten in the lead with 10 wins before losing three games in a row.

But given the nature of the competitions thus far between the top 10 teams, it’s a gamble who will finish in the top four to earn a double final shot in this tough year where at least 10 teams can beat each other, such as up to proven so far by 2022 results.

Brisbane have won three (Collingwood, Sydney and St Kilda) and lost two (Geelong and Fremantle).

Fremantle has won three (Carlton, Geelong, Melbourne and Brisbane) and lost two (St Kilda and Collingwood).

Melbourne has won three (Western Bulldogs, Richmond and St Kilda) and lost three (Fremantle, Sydney and Collingwood).

Geelong won three (Collingwood, Brisbane and Western Bulldogs) and lost three (Sydney, Fremantle and St Kilda).

St Kilda has won three (Fremantle, Richmond and Geelong) and lost three (Collingwood, Melbourne and Brisbane).

Sydney has won three (Geelong, Richmond and Melbourne) and lost three (Western Bulldogs, Brisbane and Carlton).

Carlton has won three (Richmond, Western Bulldogs and Sydney) and lost three (Fremantle, Collingwood and Richmond).

Richmond has won three (Western Bulldogs, Collingwood and Carlton last Thursday) and lost four (Carlton (Round 1), St Kilda, Melbourne and Sydney).

Collingwood won four (St Kilda, Fremantle, Carlton and Melbourne) and lost four (Geelong, Brisbane, Richmond and Western Bulldogs).

Western Bulldogs have won two (Sydney and Collingwood) and lost four (Melbourne, Carlton, Richmond and Geelong).

Who knows, given the very mixed results in 2022 so far, which four teams will do best in the remaining nine rounds?

It is quite possible that injuries will determine the fate of many teams.

Take Melbourne. Even taking into account the return of star defender Steven May, the Demons will have to overcome the loss of their star player Max Gawn for several weeks at a time when Melbourne has no strong strikers who can score goals with Tom McDonald, also for a long time. out of battle. period of time.

Steven May

(Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)

Carlton will also miss key players for upcoming games, including Adam Cerra, Mitch McGovern, Marc Pittonet, Jacob Weitering and Zac Williams.

Richmond will have to face a long spell without key player Noah Balta after sustaining another hamstring injury against the Blues last Thursday.

St Kilda will be without Jack Steele for a few more weeks.

Sydney knocked out Josh Kennedy for about six weeks.

Still, other top-10 teams could be bolstered in the coming weeks.

Collingwood was able to get Jack Madgen back in 1-2 weeks and Brodie Grundy in about four weeks.

Fremantle, despite losing striker Sam Switkowski for a long period of time after breaking his back, will regain protagonists Matt Taberner, Blake Acres and Heath Chapman.

Geelong will get Patrick Dangerfield and key defender Jack Henry back, although Brandan Parfitt will miss a few weeks.

Western Bulldogs, while missing the talented Bailey Smith for two suspensions over the next three weeks, will welcome key player Josh Bruce.

Of the current top four teams, separated by just one win, Geelong appears to have the easiest remaining draw with just five games against the current top ten teams: Richmond at the MCG next Saturday, Melbourne (H), Carlton (A), Western Bulldogs (H) and St Kilda (H).

With three of the games at Geelong’s home ground Kardinia Park, the Cats could well win most of these games.

Brisbane has six games against the top ten teams: Melbourne (A) this Thursday, Western Bulldogs (H), Richmond (A), Carlton (H), St Kilda (A) and Melbourne (H).

Fremantle has six games: Carlton (A) this weekend, St Kilda (A), Sydney (H), Richmond (A), Melbourne (H) and Western Bulldogs (A).

While Fremantle will play four of these games outside of Perth, they have yet to lose a game in Victoria this season, having beaten Geelong and Melbourne from home.

Melbourne has one of the toughest remaining draws with seven games against the top ten teams: Brisbane (H), Geelong (A), Western Bulldogs (A), Fremantle (A), Collingwood (H), Carlton (H) and Brisbane ( A).

Carlton has six matches: Fremantle (H), St Kilda (H), Geelong (H), Brisbane (A), Melbourne (A) and Collingwood (H).

Patrick Cripps of the Blues celebrates his teams' victory over the final siren during the round two AFL game between the Western Bulldogs and the Carlton Blues at Marvel Stadium on March 24, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

(Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Sydney plays just five games against the current top 10 teams: St Kilda (H), Western Bulldogs (H), Fremantle (A), Collingwood (H) and St Kilda (A).

St Kilda has a very tough draw with seven games against top-10 teams: Sydney (A), Carlton (A), Fremantle (H), Western Bulldogs (A), Geelong (A), Brisbane (H) and Sydney (H) ).

Clearly Richmond, Collingwood and Western Bulldogs will finish their bids for a top four 2-3 games behind the top three teams, a huge disadvantage to overcome with only nine games remaining.

However, looking at the last nine games, both Richmond and Collingwood meet the top ten teams each just three times compared to 5-7 such matches for the higher-ranked teams.

Richmond plays Geelong at the MCG, Fremantle (H) and Brisbane (H).

Collingwood will face Melbourne (A), Sydney (A) and Carlton (A), but only in the last three rounds, although Collingwood must also overcome their relatively low percentage against the other top 10 teams.

Starting three games behind the top three and two games behind fourth, the Western Bulldogs have six games against higher-ranked teams: Brisbane (A), Sydney (A), St Kilda (H), Melbourne (H), Geelong (A) and Fremantle (H).

Despite the luck needed with regard to injuries and the remaining draw, the top-10 teams must win their matches against lower-ranked teams that have beaten a number of top-10 teams during the 2022 season.

This weekend defeated Port Sydney and Essendon took on St Kilda.

We have an exciting rest of the season ahead of us.

While I would prefer Fremantle to win the flag if they finish in the top four, I wouldn’t be surprised which teams finish in the top four as nine teams are currently only two games apart.

For what it’s worth, I believe the top four will include Geelong, Brisbane and Fremantle, while fourth will be between Melbourne, Sydney, Carlton, St Kilda, Richmond and Collingwood.

So, Roarers, who do you think will finish in the top four to earn a double chance in what looks like a highly competitive AFL finals series given 2022’s form so far?