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AFL ranking round 12

1. Western Bulldogs (last week: 3)
To the person in comments who asked us if we knew what happened to the team with the best defensive record last season – yes, we do, They won the flag. Their gritty come from behind victory against a Port Adelaide team that seems to have hit their straps was yet more proof that this is a team with the grot and determination to finish top four.

2. Geelong (7)
Patrick Dangerfield didn't just deliver his best game in a Geelong guernsey on Saturday night, it was probably the best game of his career. The fact that he was able to put in that kind of performance on the big stage against the team on top of the ladder, bodes extremely well for what he will produce in the finals.

3. GWS (8)
The Giants are undoubtedly the most exciting team to watch this season, and their win over big brother on Sunday was just further evidence that they have the belief to push deep into September. Great to see a near sell-out crowd for one of their home games, the next feat is managing that task against a team other than Sydney.

4. Hawthorn (4)
Without Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge and their No.1 ruckman in Jonathon Ceglar, the Hawks still managed to smash Essendon by the biggest margin of any team this season. They added 10 percentage points in the process and come up against an injury-depleted North Melbourne this week.

5. Adelaide (5)
No matter how bad the Eagles are travelling, beating them on their home deck is still a mighty effort. Better still the timing of their bye could not be better, ensuring all their players are rested from the trip before they come back to face a North Melbourne outfit, sure to have expended plenty of energy against Hawthorn.

6. Sydney (1)
A match against the Giants at Spotless Stadium is no easy task, but the injuries the Swans suffered in the defeat could cost them plenty in the medium term. While they are used to being without Gary Rohan and Isaac Heeney and Callum Mills should bounce back to play sooner rather than later, it is the injury to Kurt Tippett that will hurt them most. He is set for an extended stint on the sidelines with a hamstring injury and has been a key to their domination so far this season.

7. North Melbourne (2)
Lost Andrew Swallow (concussion), Ben Cunnington (quad) and Nick Dal Santo (adductor) in the first 15 minutes against the Cats. Robin Nahas (finger) and Shaun Atley (ankle) also picked up injuries, while Todd Goldstein didn't seem like he was anywhere near full fitness. Things would have been okay if the Roos had their bye this week, but instead they have two more games against quality opponents before they get some respite.

8. West Coast (6)
The way they are playing at the moment they are no certainty of playing finals, with plenty of teams outside the eight starting to knock on the door in recent weeks. Their midfield is the biggest problem with Andrew Gaff and Matt Priddis not dominating as they did last season, and few of their bit players stepping up to fill the shortfall.

9. Richmond (9)
Dustin Martin is now travelling so well he is starting to be talked up as a Brownlow fancy. While the thought of two Richmond players being awarded Brownlow medals in the same year (assuming Trent Cotchin is given back the one he was robbed of in 2012), might please Tiger fans, we still can't see the Tiges winning enough games to make it happen.

10. Port Adelaide (11)
Might not have got the points against the Bulldogs but displayed the intensity that was so sorely lacking earlier this season. Port are now playing the type of football everyone expected from them this season.

11. Melbourne (12)
We can't believe there were some people questioning Max Gawn's inclusion in our mid-season All Australian team last week, if anything they should have been asking why he wasn't given the position as the No.1 ruck.

12. St Kilda (14)
Go into the bye on a winning note and with a chance to get several players back from injury with the extended break, including captain Nick Riewoldt who should be right to play after having his knee complaint addressed.

13. Carlton (10)
It is good to know that Carlton are still capable of playing really poorly, we were starting to get worried there for a while.

14. Collingwood (13)
If you want to know how low Collingwood have sunk, they have now lost to Melbourne twice in a season for the first time since 1998. In that year they finished 14th with seven wins. You get the feeling a similar fate awaits them this year.

15. Fremantle (17)
Starting to get that winning feeling back and with Matt Taberner kicking five goals and Lachie Weller kicking four and earning a Rising Star nomination for his efforts, the future is suddenly looking just a little bit brighter.

16. Gold Coast (16)
The Suns are definitely improving now that they are starting to get some of their players back. We haven't moved them this week after the awful decision to drop Aaron Hall, who probably could have proved the difference in a tight loss to Richmond, as it suggests results are still coming second to making statements at the minute.

17. Brisbane (15)
Justin Leppitsch finally lost it and called the media out over their constant calling for his head after yet another poor performance. It is definitely unseemly when things start heading in this direction, but we can't see it ending before the results start turning around.

18. Essendon (18)
Before the season started we said that teams would start resting their star players when they came up against the Bombers and it is on in earnest now. Sam Mitchell missed the game last week for the Hawks and the talk is the Giants won't play Stevie J this weekend. This is great news for Bomber fans as we expect at least one side to take things too far at some stage this season and they should be able to get another win before the season is out.

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