ROUND 13 signalled the end of the bye rounds. So from here on out we resume our regular nine games per weekend of footy! We have a general idea of who are the contenders and the pretenders for 2017, but nothing is set in stone yet.

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In A Nutshell

– PLAYING West Coast in Perth has been a daunting task for visiting teams since the dawn of time. Thursday night proved to be no different for the Cats as the Eagles put their claim on a top four spot with a 13 point win. Led by their influential midfield, West Coast led virtually for the whole match to stay in touch with the top of the ladder.

– ST Kilda snapped their three game losing streak, taking care of North Melbourne by 17 points. A flat Roos outfit should have gone down by more, with the Saints attacking style on display from start to finish. Veterans Leigh Montagna and Nick Riewoldt starred while Seb Ross was also important.

AFL KANGAROOS SAINTSImage from thewest.com.au

– ANOTHER week another Richmond fadeout. The Tigers ability to close out games was on display again, with the Swans snatching a nine point win and handing Richmond a heartbreaking loss. Sydney kicked eight of the last nine goals continuing to build building momentum, as they surge towards the top eight. The loss was Richmond’s fourth of the year where they took a lead into the final term and failed to finish the job.

– AS expected Port Adelaide ground out a relatively straightforward win over Brisbane at home. The Lions showed plenty of fight early though, trailing by just 15 points at half-time. The Ollie Wines and Robbie Gray combo produced 50 touches and four goals between them, while Dayne Zorko (32 touches, 12 tackles, two goals) was the best for the visitors.

– IN one of the best single man performances of the season Bryce Gibbs helped Carlton record back-to-back wins by beating Gold Coast on Saturday night. Gibbs turned in 43 touches, 10 tackles, seven clearances and two crucial last quarter goals, in what was probably the best game from his 220 matches to date. He was supported by the usual Carlton entourage in Murphy, Cripps, Kreuzer, Docherty and Simpson in dampening the Suns finals aspirations. The loss was made worse for Gold Coast with Michael Barlow suffering a broken leg that will end his season.

AFL Round 13 Wrap Up 2Image from twitter.com

– DARE I say it Melbourne looks legit. The Dees had their best game of the year, throttling last years premiers, the Western Bulldogs, to the tune of 57 points. It could have been worse for the Dogs had the Dees not taken their foot off the gas after building a 50 point three quarter time buffer.

The Four Points

Bryce Gibbs Is A Beast
IN the off-season Bryce Gibbs supposedly asked Carlton for a trade back to his home state of Adelaide. The Blues said no to the trade offer, keeping their star in navy blue. Arguably having the best year of his career, Gibbs had arguably the best game of his career against the Suns on Saturday, single handedly dragging the Blues over the line. Not trading him seems like a smart move.

Dog Of A Day
DEFENDING your premiership is one of the hardest tasks in sport. Regardless of the game, you enter the next year as a target and so far the Bulldogs haven’t thrown any punches back. It would have been unrealistic to expect them to be favourites for the flag, with a lot of things meshing for them at the right time last year, but to be in the position they are in now, this deep in 2017 is alarming.

The Bye + Geelong = L
MOST teams relish the chance to have a rest during bye-week at the midway point of the season, but not Geelong. For the sixth straight year, the Cats lost after their week off, following Thursday’s L against the Eagles. Geelong is still poised to make another deep run into September, yet they can’t afford to make these post rest failures a regular occurrence.

AFL Round 13 Wrap Up 3Image from geelongadvertiser.com.au

Insta Banter Is Good For The Game
THOMAS Bugg has come under fire after a Instagram post he put up before Sunday’s game caught the attention of the public. He and teammate Jack Watts called out Bulldog Jason Johannisen asking him “you ready”? Bugg has since said that all three are mates and it was just a bit of a laugh and banter between the trio. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just overanalysing the situation. This really shouldn’t be a topic of discussion, get over it.

Power Rankings

1. Adelaide Crows (BYE)
2. Greater Western Sydney Giants (BYE
3. Geelong Cats (level) – West Coast at home is a tough task, especially with only two rotations in the 2nd half.
4. Port Adelaide Power (+1) – Took care of business at home against Brisbane.
5. West Coast Eagles (+1) – Staying in touch with the top 4. Play at home for three of their next four too.
6. Richmond Tigers (-2) 
– These fadeouts are going to come back to haunt the Tigs.
7. Melbourne Demons (+3) – Stamped their credentials as finals contenders.
8. Essendon Bombers (BYE)
9. St Kilda Saints (level) – Should have been a bigger win, but four points is four points.
10. Sydney Swans (+1) – The Swans are back. Enticing matchup this week with the Dons.
11. Western Bulldogs (-4) 
– Worst output of the year for the reigning premiers.
12. Collingwood Magpies (BYE)
13. Fremantle Dockers (BYE)

14. Carlton Blues (+2) 
– Back to back W’s for Bolton’s Blues, things are looking up.
15. Gold Coast Suns (level) 
– Tough night at Metricon, compounded by Barlow’s broken leg.
16. North Melbourne Kangaroos (-2) – Margin flattered the flat, messy Roos against St Kilda.
17. Brisbane Lions – Showed plenty of guts against a fringe top four side.
18. Hawthorn Hawks (BYE)

IT’S tough to gauge some teams place in the power rankings, with so many clubs having the bye over the weekend. The Power and the Eagles are keeping their top four aspirations alive while the Tigers and Bulldogs plummet. Demons fans are starting to think about that fabled ‘F’ word, and for good reason too.

AFL Round 13 Wrap Up 4Image from heraldsun.com.au

Fantasy +3

1450 – LAST week resulted in the worst score of my career. A woeful Rocky (C), a Barlow broken leg and a hamstring for the recently traded in Scott Selwood has me scrambling for the delete team button.

  • THE most talked about fantasy player this week is clearly Bryce Gibbs (194). A colossal effort against the Suns saw Gibbs post the highest score from any player this year and he is a legitimate trade in option for coaches. Staples Sam Docherty (143) and Dayne Zorko (157) did their fair share to stand out while Robbie Gray (117) continues to tease us with his yo-yo scores.
  • THOSE coaches out there that aren’t Tom Rockliff (74) owners would be laughing right now. After two subpar performances Rocky’s price continues to plummet and with a BE of 172 it should continue to slide. Aaron Hall (74), Stef Martin (69), Jack Steven (65) and Joel Selwood (48) join Rockliff in the under performers club after shithouse efforts on the weekend.
  • THANK god that’s over. Back to regularity fielding your best 22 this week and hopefully you emerged from the byes not to defeated. The last of the Thursday night games gives us loophole options from the Crows and the Hawks next week. Tom Mitchell and Rory Sloane (in that order) are the most popular picks, but you could risk it and chase a score from Laird, Jacobs or one of the Crouch brothers too.