After Round 6, about a quarter of the way through the AFL season, we have a pretty good idea about the likely finalists in 2017. Adelaide and GWS are almost certain to make it. Geelong and Port Adelaide look the most likely teams to round out the top four, at least according to the rankings (and here as well), though the betting odds slightly favour West Coast and the Western Bulldogs over the Power. (Does this mean I will put some cash on Port for the top four this week? Maybe I will …)
As for fifth to eighth, West Coast and the Bulldogs look the most like filling two of those positions again, with both clubs currently in that range in both the rankings and on the ladder. Sydney, the fifth ranked side (and that seems too high), has very little chance of making the finals after starting the season with six straight losses. Conversely Richmond is still ranked down in twelfth, but has a good chance of making the finals after having won their first five games. So lock in (without actually locking in, as each of these teams can still miss): Adelaide, GWS, Geelong, Port Adelaide, West Coast, Western Bulldogs, and Richmond.
The final spot looks to be a fight between St. Kilda, Melbourne, and Collingwood, with the Magpies being a win back from the other two. North Melbourne, like Sydney, is probably too far away after starting the season 1-5. The betting markets also seem to like Fremantle and Essendon to give the finals a shake, but I don’t. Anyone else – unless something really strange happens … forget it. The Gold Coast Suns though, if they hold form, may at least get some significant improvement out of the season.