AFLW Post-Round 3 Power Ranking

As with last week, these power rankings are influenced by, but not determined, by our team strength ratings.

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1. Melbourne (no change)

Melbourne seems to be following down a similar path to their 2017 season, when they constantly beat the best opposition (bar Brisbane), but struggled against poor opposition in challenging conditions. The Demons had the worst type of loss last week; a paper victory, where they won nearly all of the key statistical indicators bar the actual scoreboard itself.

On an injury/personnel front, it seems that Melbourne has the healthiest, most well-rounded team in the competition. However, after this loss they cannot afford to loses another game in the run-up to finals. The Dees should be in a position to demonstrate their strength against a weak Collingwood side.

2. Brisbane (+1)

The Lions have probably been the most consistent side across the last two years, and a quick rebound from their first loss warrants promotion here. Their midfield prowess remains impressive this year in guaranteeing a mismatch of forward oppotunities, and as long as that keeps up they’ll be hard to beat. Compared to last year, they’ve slipped defensively, suggesting that opponents who can get it forward may have an easier time actually scoring.

The gap at the top on the ladder is razor thin, and so too in these rankings – not much separates them from the Dees above or the Dogs (and maybe the Crows Erin Phillips) below.

3. Western Bulldogs (-1)

The loss to Adelaide created queries about the Bulldogs backline, and whether they have the midfield strength and speed to match attacking machines like the Crows and Demonss. There are obvious concerns about the imapct of injuries to Huntington and now Kearney, but O’Connor as a stop-gap forward may yet prove not too severe a downgrade in key position forward stocks. She was one of the best players in the country a couple of years ago, playing injured last year.

4. Adelaide (no change)

Phillips is, by a wide margin, the best player in the comp. We left the winless crows ranked 4th last year on this potential with her returning. She delivered. We discussed her 2017 PAV rating earlier in the year, and it’s showing the same thing this year. She’s about three times as valuable as the average player.

The Crows’ midfield is still a worry (though we liked Perkins throwing her body around in there), but with Phillips, Perkins and Wallace all providing effective paths to goal it still may not matter too much. They can win out from here, especially given their schedule.

5. Carlton (no change)

The Blues are formidable defensively, and held the powerful Lions within their reach for much of the match, but their trouble is that defensive acumen comes at the expense of everything else. With a relatively weak midfield they obviously want to capitalise on limited scoring opportunities while remaining in the game. It’s unlikely to win them the flag, or many friends at Channel 7, but it’ll keep them in games and force other teams to play on their terms to beat them. The Pride match against the Dogs shapes as intriguing but right now they look closer to the teams below than the teams above.

6. GWS (no change)

GWS finally broke through a win, and when they broke the Pies open they won fairly easily. Indeed, some straighter kicking from Staunton early and it could have been a rout. We’re leaving them ranked below Carlton largely because they’ve only got the one win and are yet to face three of the four top sides. They’ve got some effective new mature players, McWilliams is the most valuable forward in the comp right now, but there’s a lot of work ahead of them. A win over Adelaide in Blacktown might see them vault as high as 4th in these rankings.

7. Fremantle (no change)

Without being too churlish after a very impressive win, the Dockers are about as weak a 2-1 side as you can be after beating the premiership favourites. Their percentage of 92 is probably a better indicator of where they sit.

They converted extremely efficiently and took advantage of Melbourne’s wastefulness in front of goal, winning on the counterpunch in a pretty striking way, but that was a 1-in-10 sort of a win. We’ll be surprised if their methods work against an organised Brisbane outfit at South Pine, a side who seem built to combat attempted fast transitions through the midfield.

8. Collingwood (no change)

Mainstream footy coverage seems to have belatedly cottoned onto the issues with Collingwood’s list, and we don’t think Kate Sheahan is correct to be attacking their coach as though they were supposed to be a heavyweight of the competition who he is merely mismanaging. Individual bright spots aside, there’s just not enough midfield here, and it cripples them.

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