Three takeaways from round fourteen

Essendon leave the field following their loss to West Coast at Optus Stadium. (Photo by: Will Russell/AFL Photos)

Essendon’s finals hopes are on the line

Following their 35-point loss to West Coast in Perth last Thursday, the Bombers must upset the Giants this Thursday night or stare down the barrel of another season of mediocrity.

Coach John Worsfold has preached that his side is continually improving, but following a disappointing 2018 season and with 2019 at a crossroads, the general prognosis on the Bombers is that their list is underachieving, especially with the signings of Dylan Shiel, Devon Smith, Adam Saad and Jake Stringer in recent years.

The Bombers had a slow start to the season before seemingly getting things back on track from rounds three to six, since then they’ve struggled to string two wins together, sitting at 10thon the ladder at 6-7.

A win over the Giants on Thursday night will have them firmly back in the finals fight whilst a loss will see them slip further away from the top eight and with a mountain to climb for the rest of the season.

Port show they can match it with the best

The Power are a team that at their best could make the top four, but are also equally capable of missing the finals altogether – they are one of the competitions great frustrations.

On Saturday night we saw the aforementioned, as they dismantled ladder-leaders Geelong on Adelaide Oval in front of their home crowd; showcasing their ability to beat the competition’s best teams.

Following that win it’s hard to imagine that the Power will miss the finals, but they are still a team we can’t trust when it comes to winning the games that they need to in order take the next step as a contender.

Their next test is another match at home on Saturday night against a Western Bulldogs outfit languishing in 15thon the ladder, it’s a game the Power should win as they look to lock themselves into the top eight before they take on cross-town rivals the Crows the week after, in a match that could decide top four aspirations.

Port’s best is strong enough to beat any side in the competition and do some damage in September – providing they play to their potential.

It’s crunch time for St Kilda

The Saints have reached round fifteen at 6-7, and it’s a win-loss ratio that places them in the realms of obscurity.

They’ve been dealt their share of blows throughout the first half of the season with key players missing through injury and illness.

High-profile recruit Dan Hannebery only played his first game in Saints colours on Saturday, Jack Steven still remains out of the side following mental health leave and captain Jarryn Geary is still out with a fractured fibula.

Their 56-point smashing at the hands of Brisbane on Saturday however, has the alarm bells ringing.

The equation for the Saints heading into the 2019 season was simple, to improve to a point where they are challenging for finals football.

Whilst they only sit one game outside of the top eight, the loss against the Lions shows that they are currently well off the pace and it’s the next few weeks that will define their season and determine the fate of under pressure coach Alan Richardson.

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