Who makes the top eight in 2018?
Who makes the top eight in 2018?

Run Home: who gets squeezed out in finals fight?

THERE'S just five games left before finals.

The fight for the top eight is on and with a host of games between finals contenders the furnace is just warming up.

This weekend, four games will feature direct clashes between teams vying for top eight spots, while Port Adelaide faces a tricky trip to Ballarat against the Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn to Perth to face Fremantle.

We've analysed the remaining games in 2019 and attempted to predict the outcome and ramifications for your team's finals hopes.

RICHMOND

WE SAY: In. The Tigers are showing the AFL how to defend a premiership. Richmond's road woes won't concern them much with just a single trip to the Gold Coast and four games at the MCG. Should we pencil in seven more MCG matches ... qualifying final, preliminary final, grand final?

R19 v Collingwood (MCG) W

R20 v Geelong (MCG) W

R21 v Gold Coast (MS) W

R22 v Essendon (MCG) W

R23 v W.Bulldogs (MCG) W

WEST COAST

WE SAY: In. North Melbourne has built a fortress in Tasmania and it will take something special for the Eagles to get a win. Who are we kidding, West Coast has been doing something special all year. Hard to see them dropping a game after that.

R19 v North Melbourne (Hobart) L

R20 v Fremantle (PS) W

R21 v Port Adelaide (AO) W

R22 v Melbourne (PS) W

R23 v Brisbane (Gabba) W

Shaun Higgins gathers the ball ahead of Scott Pendlebury.
Shaun Higgins gathers the ball ahead of Scott Pendlebury.

COLLINGWOOD

WE SAY: In. Can Collingwood follow in Richmond's footsteps and go from 13th to a flag? The Magpies are starting to get some troops back, although Darcy Moore's hamstring remains a concern. A loss this week to the Tigers might be the perfect measuring stick for Nathan Buckley to motivate his troops heading into September.

R19 v Richmond (MCG) L

R20 v Sydney (SCG) W

R21 v Brisbane (Etihad) W

R22 v Port Adelaide (MCG) W

R23 v Fremantle (PS) W

SYDNEY

WE SAY: In. The loss to Gold Coast couldn't have come at a worse time for the Swans. However, for what ever reason, Sydney play better away from home and we're tipping a bounce back against Essendon. The next three games we're not as confident about.

R19 v Essendon (Etihad) W

R20 v Collingwood (SCG) L

R21 v Melbourne (MCG) L

R22 v GWS Giants (SS) L

R23 v Hawthorn (SCG) W

PORT ADELAIDE

WE SAY: Out. It's a nightmare run home for the Power with four of their games against fellow finals contenders. A big win against the Dogs will help them on the percentage front and they must jag at least one of the next three games to stand a chance.

R19 v W.Bulldogs (Ballarat) W

R20 v Adelaide (AO) L

R21 v West Coast (AO) L

R22 v Collingwood (MCG) L

R23 v Essendon (AO) W

Tom Rockliff and Phil Davis battle for the ball.
Tom Rockliff and Phil Davis battle for the ball.

GWS GIANTS

WE SAY: In. The Giants are catching fire at the right time of the year. Unlike the past two years where they've fallen at the preliminary final, it's all coming together for Leon Cameron's men at the business end of the season. Unbelievably, a top-four spot beckons.

R19 v St Kilda (SS) W

R20 v Carlton (Etihad) W

R21 v Adelaide (Canberra) W

R22 v Sydney (SS) W

R23 v Melbourne (MCG) L

MELBOURNE

WE SAY: In. Surely, it can't happen again? After coughing up four points to Geelong last week, the Demons can't afford another stumble and it doesn't come much harder than Adelaide in Adelaide. The Round 23 clash with GWS will decide the Demons fate. Win and you're in, lose and its heartbreak again.

R19 v Adelaide (AO) L

R20 v Gold Coast (MCG) W

R21 v Sydney (MCG) W

R22 v West Coast (PS) L

R23 v GWS Giants (MCG) W

HAWTHORN

WE SAY: Out. The Hawks are up against it to reach September with a tough run home. Essendon at the MCG is a 50-50 game but win that and you'd back them to squeeze in. Lose and all of a sudden Geelong is a must-win game and Sydney in the final round could decide both clubs' fates.

R19 v Fremantle (PS) W

R20 v Essendon (MCG) L

R21 v Geelong (MCG) L

R22 v St Kilda (Etihad) W

R23 v Sydney (SCG) L

Gary Ablett and Rhys Stanley attempt to stop Tom Mitchell.
Gary Ablett and Rhys Stanley attempt to stop Tom Mitchell.

GEELONG

WE SAY: In. The Cats have looked shaky in the past few weeks and were more than a little lucky to beat Melbourne last week. However, the Kardinia Park fortress will see them safely into September with games against non-final contenders Brisbane, Fremantle and Gold Coast.

R19 v Brisbane (GMHBA) W

R20 v Richmond (MCG) L

R21 v Hawthorn (MCG) W

R22 v Fremantle (GMHBA) W

R23 v Gold Coast (GMHBA) W

NORTH MELBOURNE

WE SAY: In. A dream run home to say the least. Beat West Coast in Hobart and then three of the final four games are against non-finals contenders. The Kangaroos can't afford to slip but a stunning, critic-defying finals appearance is there for the taking.

R19 v West Coast (Hobart) W

R20 v Brisbane (Gabba) W

R21 v W.Bulldogs (Etihad) W

R22 v Adelaide (AO) L

R23 v St Kilda (Etihad) W

ESSENDON

WE SAY: Out. The Bombers are in form but Sydney on the rebound - and more importantly away from its Achilles heel, the SCG - might be too much. Then comes winnable games against Hawthorn and St Kilda but a horror final fortnight will put a nail in the Bombers' season.

R19 v Sydney (Etihad) L

R20 v Hawthorn (MCG) W

R21 v St Kilda (Etihad) W

R22 v Richmond (MCG) L

R23 v Port Adelaide (AO) L

ADELAIDE

WE SAY: Out. The next fortnight will decide the Crows' season, win both and they're right in the hunt. The Showdown could be one of the games of the season with both clubs desperately needing the win. Percentage is sure to play a part so Round 23's clash with Carlton looms as a critical must-win-big game.

R19 v Melbourne (AO) W

R20 v Port Adelaide (AO) W

R21 v GWS Giants (Canberra) L

R22 v North Melbourne (AO) W

R23 v Carlton (Etihad) W

 

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