Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin in the rooms after a Richmond win.
Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin in the rooms after a Richmond win.

If Dusty doesn’t get you, Cotchin must

RICHMOND retains its place on top of the ladder - just - after withstanding a brave North Melbourne thanks to its lethal one-two punch.

Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin have become the AFL's version of feared Australian fast bowling tandem Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson.

While Martin was held superbly by tagger Ben Jacobs, it was Cotchin who broke out.

Meanwhile, premiership fancies GWS have now dropped out of the top eight after dropping what looked a certain four points to an under-strength West Coast at home.

After eight weeks, there's a log-jam on the ladder with 11 teams separated by just a game.

However, at the bottom of the ladder, the season looks to be over for St Kilda, Essendon, Carlton and the winless Brisbane.

Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin celebrate a goal.
Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin celebrate a goal.

1. RICHMOND (7-0-1) 149.5% 28pts

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, if Dusty doesn't get you, Cotchin must. And the Tigers skipper was as complete as you can be in terms of commitment. To think he was ever questioned. Injuries: Nil. SuperCoach: Trent Cotchin (155) now equals Dustin Martin (64) on average. Nick Vlastuin (127) also huge.

2. WEST COAST (7-0-1) 133.9% 28pts

Barrass with the "I" hits targets but ultimately it was the Darling of the Eagles who was the difference for a side that had three of their top six out in terms of influence. Injuries: Nil. SuperCoach: Elliot Yeo (118) and Tom Barrass (116) led the way.

3. GEELONG (5-0-3) 123.1% 20pts

The midfield worked OK but should improve when the undersold Brandan Parfitt returns. And speaking of returns, Lincoln McCarthy got through the VFL with flying colours. The legend of Tom Stewart grows. Injuries: Nil. SuperCoach: Sam Menegola (143), Tom Stewart (138) and Patrick Dangerfield (130) scored big. Joel Selwood just 59.

4. ADELAIDE (5-0-3) 120.7% 20pts

Felt as if the Crows had control of the game before that horrific third quarter (47 to 14). Did they identify the avalanche early enough? It might have only saved one goal but that was enough. Injuries: Taylor Walker (glute), Sam Jacobs (back). SuperCoach: Rory Laird just 89 but plenty down on season averages.

James Sicily gets a handball away. Picture: Michael Klein
James Sicily gets a handball away. Picture: Michael Klein

5. HAWTHORN (5-0-3) 117.6% 20pts

How do you plan for a third-gamer to kick seven, although sticking tackles would have saved three of them. The umpiring was more September-like with obvious infringements ignored. Injuries: Nil. SuperCoach: James Sicily (110) is proving a must as a defender or forward. Averages 112.

6. MELBOURNE (5-0-3) 113.2% 20pts

In terms of an even performance, one of the Dees' best under Simon Goodwin. James Harmes was just goal-conversion from having a blinder. As for Max Gawn, could a man with a beard win a Brownlow? Could be a first. Injuries: Nil. SuperCoach: Max Gawn (148) averages 132. Clayton Oliver (143) not far behind him.

7. SYDNEY (5-0-3) 106.6% 20pts

Probably every chance Ben Ronke will never kick seven again but he will keep laying forward 50m tackles due to his speed and reflexes. As for his team, the Swans just find ways to keep hanging in. Injuries: Nil. SuperCoach: Ben Ronke (120) proved a very shrewd buy. Josh Kennedy (73) and Callum Mills (63) poor again.

8. PORT ADELAIDE (5-0-3) 102.7% 20pts

Fourteen players had more of it than Robbie the Gray, yet none got near his influence. And in today's game, never have match-winners been more vital. Paddy Ryder in a similar category. Injuries: Nil. SuperCoach: Robbie Gray (122) is a must but also consider Tom Rockliff (98).

Robbie Gray was the match-winner in the Showdown.
Robbie Gray was the match-winner in the Showdown.

9. GWS GIANTS (4-1-3) 110.5% 18pts

The Giants' depth is being tested and right now it doesn't look flash, even given injuries. Did they get it right at the draft often enough or have they let too many good ones go? Injuries: Matt de Boer (hamstring), Lachie Whitfield (shin). SuperCoach: Stephen Coniglio (107) only Giant averaging above the ton. Time to sell Jeremy Finlayson (42).

10. NORTH MELBOURNE (4-0-4) 112.6% 16pts

Matched the best team in the competition in every area bar that final kick, whether it be for goal (Jack Ziebell's two straight-forward misses) or the Roos' entry inside 50m. But it can be fixed. Injuries: Nil. SuperCoach: Ben Cunnington's record contested possessions led to 143 and he now averages 101.

11. COLLINGWOOD (4-0-4) 102.1% 16pts

Fair old effort to stay in the game as long as they did given the Pies' recent schedule, but that is a constant with this team. Adam Treloar in time can move from very good to champ, but champs kick big goals. Injuries: Darcy Moore (hamstring), Tom Phillips (concussion). SuperCoach: Brodie Grundy (150) was one of eight Pies to score more than 90 in defeat.

12. FREMANTLE (4-0-4) 94.3% 16pts

The natural extension of a coach under fire for allegedly unsavoury behaviour is to see if his players maintain respect. A win at home over St Kilda is inconclusive, although there were positives. Injuries: Hayden Ballantyne (thigh). SuperCoach: Aaron Sandilands (150) hot. Nat Fyfe (126) keeps producing.

13. W.BULLDOGS (4-0-4) 82.9% 16pts

It's rightfully all about Jack the lad, but The Bont has quietly rediscovered something like his best and didn't mind the game of Patrick Lipinski. So where are the Dogs? Maybe poised for a run. Injuries: Aaron Naughton (ankle). SuperCoach: Jack Macrae (156) cements his No.1 spot. Marcus Bontempelli (132) and Toby McLean (115) not far behind him.

 

Jack Macrae has got leather poisoning in the past fortnight. Picture: Michael Klein
Jack Macrae has got leather poisoning in the past fortnight. Picture: Michael Klein

 

14. GOLD COAST (3-0-5) 76.1% 12pts

Let's deal in positives. Touk Miller has gone from good to very good, Jack Martin would be a ripper finisher in a top side and Ben Ainsworth loves contested football. But the Suns require more from Jack Bowes and plenty of others. Injuries: David Swallow (knee). SuperCoach: Jarrod Witts (65) beaten by Max Gawn. Time to move on Nick Holman (50).

15. ESSENDON (2-0-6) 83.9% 8pts

In the words of Sandy Roberts, 'what more can you say?' The Bombers don't have obvious natural leaders and too often self-preservation emerges when times get tough. Injuries: Nil. SuperCoach: David Zaharakis (108) and Dyson Heppell (103) keep producing, but what's gone wrong with Zach Merrett (79).

16. ST KILDA (1-1-6) 69.4% 6pts

A wretched season but at least the Saints displayed some third-quarter guts. And if Tim Membrey could do what he's paid to do (kick goals) then who knows? They will upset someone soon. Injuries: Jake Carlisle (concussion). SuperCoach: Jimmy Webster (132) only Saint to crack the ton.

17. CARLTON (1-0-7) 69.6% 4pts

Matthew Kreuzer isn't their best player - Patrick Cripps is - but when he plays well around the ground, the Blues are in most games. Kade Simpson continues to ignore his appointment with a bloke called Father Time. Injuries: Matthew Wright (ankle). SuperCoach: Matthew Kreuzer (127) one of six Blues to crack the ton.

18. BRISBANE (0-0-8) 73.7% 0pts

One of the better winless teams in recent times, but winning remains the key ingredient. Got to get active come draft time by luring a massive name to the Gabba. Injuries: Nil. SuperCoach: Dayne Zorko (121) is definitely back. If you still have Cam Rayner (36), sell now.

 

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