So after the past few weeks of strangeness which team has emerged as the best in the AFL? Adelaide is back on top of the rankings, but with a much diminished lead compared with three weeks ago. The Crows were awful in two of their past three matches, against the Kangaroos and Melbourne, but take away those two matches and they have been the best side so far this season. If the horrible version of the Crows has been put away, never to re-emerge again in 2017, then Adelaide should be hard to stop.
A few weeks ago Greater Western Sydney looked to be the Crows’ biggest challenger. The Giants though have been mediocre the past four weeks. Even though they eventually won three of those matches, those were all narrow wins at home, and none of them were against the top sides this season (though the Bulldogs are the reigning premiers). If GWS cannot recapture its earlier form it will quickly fall into the second tier of sides, no matter what its current, somewhat flattering ladder position may suggest.
The best side in 2017 so far though has been Port Adelaide. Port’s only ‘bad’ performance of the year has been its loss at home to West Coast, otherwise it was decent in its losses to Adelaide and GWS, and downright scary in its five other matches to date. If I had to talk up any team’s chances in this up-and-down year it would be the Power.
Note though that last year’s runners-up (and top ranked side) Sydney has re-emerged as a good team over the past couple of weeks after a horrid start to 2017. It remains to be seen whether the Swans are too far back now to make a meaningful tilt at the flag. If they sneak into the finals though then they could take out a couple of 'second tier' sides along the way.