Just one week remains of the home and away season, and jeeze, what a final round it should be. 

We’ve spent this season riding the high’s and the low’s, season ending injuries and miraculous come-backs, not to mention the next generation of star debutants and a few legends entering the final weeks of their career, and we haven’t event mentioned Covid-19 yet.

But for the AFL faithful (and yes, even all you tragic Blues supporters), 2021 will always go down a season full of change. Heading into the final week, we wanted to give you a run down of just what needs to happen, for your team to make finals (based on where the ladder sits right now).

  1. Melbourne

If you’re a demon’s fan, you’re laughing (at least Kevin in IT has been, for weeks now). The only question is, will the dee’s take top spot and the minor premiership? After dominating the Crows this past weekend, the round 23 showdown with Geelong will shape as a huge clash in locking in top spot, with the Cat’s looking to ruin the party. 

The Run Home: Geelong @ GMHBA Stadium

  1. Geelong

Jumping a spot after the Dogs surprise defeat at the hands of the Dogs, despite a close loss to the Giants, the Cats have also locked in their top four chance, and will look to take top spot from the Demons when they go up against them in round 23. But a huge finish for the Cats has many wondering if 2021 could be the year for Chris Scott’s men.

The Run Home: Melbourne @ GMHBA Stadium

  1. Port Adelaide

The surprise packet of the top four, the plan was simple for Port, win one of their final two matches and top four spot will be secured. Can you guess what they did? Providing an absolute beating of nearly 100 points, Port dominated Carlton and locked in their fourth spot and second chance. With a final round looming against the Dogs, it will likely serve as a preview of things to come in September.

The Run Home: Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium

  1. Western Bulldogs

The Dogs were a surprising slip from the top two spot, looking to potentially take the minor premiership, a few surprise losses, including Essendon two weeks ago and more recently, to the Hawks has seen them slip down the list, but still able to secure a second chance. They’ll come up against Port Adelaide in the last round, in a very important preview that could build the confidence of the winner going into finals. But as every Dogs fan will tell you, September is a pretty magical time of year for the boys from Footscray.

The Run Home: Port Adelaide @ Marvel Stadium

  1. Brisbane Lions

An unpredictable Lions has been hard to pick all year, 13 wins and seven losses see them claim fifth place on the ladder. As the top four will all play each other, Brisbane are unable to claim a spot, they’ll be looking to follow up their significant victory of Collingwood with West Coast who they’ll see in round 23. Plagued by consistent injuries throughout the season, they seem to have hit their stride late this year, and with a likely home final, they’ll be looking to make some waves in this finals series.

The Run Home: West Coast @ Gabba

  1. Sydney Swans

How many people would’ve put Sydney in the top eight this year? Not us. But a surprise package and formula has seen it work for the bloods, with the same win loss record as Brisbane, they could’ve gone even higher if it wasn’t for percentage. With a win over North Melbourne, they’ve all but wrapped up their position, with just the Suns remaining. Expect the unexpected with this lot come September.

The Run Home: Gold Coast @ TBC

  1. GWS Giants

To lock in their finals hopes, GWS needed to win over Richmond, and that they did, taking it to the reigning premiers and giving them a fighting chance to last another week. With the return of the likes of Jacob Hopper, Shane Mumford, Phil Davis, Josh Kelly and Jesse Hogan, the men in orange are sitting in a good spot to remain in that top eight. They’ll need a win against Carlton to cement 7th, with West Coast will be breathing down their neck.

The Run Home: Carlton @ Marvel Stadium

8. Essendon

Can you believe it? The Bombers are in the eight. A huge win over the Dogs and Geelong earlier in the season set the scene for what the Bombers were trying to achieve, and a huge win over the Suns on the weekend put them in a great spot going into the final round. After waiting on the result of the Eagles and the Dockers hoping for a Fremantle win, the Bombers snuck inside on percentage and is it just us, or can you already hear the black and red faithful? A huge must-win match against Collingwood awaits, and they’ll be hoping that West Coast drop their last game too. Bombers fans, hold your breath, it could happen.

The Run Home: Collingwood @ MCG

  1. West Coast Eagles

With a 10 win and 10 loss record, the Eagles have some work to do if they’re planning on locking in a top eight finish. After a loss to the Demon’s a few weeks ago, West Coast put themselves in a precarious position, but a loss in a must-win battle with the Dockers will see the Eagles in 9th spot with just one round remaining. A tough last round will see the Eagles face Brisbane on the Lions home deck, they’ll need to win this tough match AND hope that Essendon drop their game too if they have any chance in pulling off the unthinkable.

The Run Home: Brisbane @ Gabba